2A Patriots Hold the Line! Don’t Take the Hate Bait

Protest Uprising People Marching Hooded Man Protesting Fist Activism Equal Human Rights Gun Violence iStock-Tero Vesalainen-1124732879.jpg
iStock-Tero Vesalainen

Tombstone, Arizona – -(Ammoland.com)- If you have seen any of President Biden’s recent speeches, especially his dystopian “unity” speech the other night in Philadelphia, you’re probably a bit incensed over the way gun owners and patriots are being portrayed by the President.

That’s the objective: To tick you off, and hopefully motivate some overzealous gun owner, Trump supporter, or patriot, into saying or doing something stupid.

Trolling has always been part of the human condition. Remember the kid in junior high who would pester someone and pester them until the victim lost his temper and took a swing? The teacher or Principal wasn’t interested in anything except “Who threw the first punch.” And the victim ended up being punished. The same thing happens in business, social circles, and, yes, in politics.

Recently, here in Arizona, a guy in a BLM T-shirt showed up at a Republican club function where Senate candidate Blake Masters was scheduled to speak. The guy had on his Joe Biden, Aviator sunglasses, and various buttons. All intended to “trigger” the Republicans in attendance – and he had a video camera running. His sole objective was to get the folks there riled up, hoping they would say or do something ugly or stupid, which he could then post on social media to prove that Republicans are hateful, violent bigots.

Unfortunately, the folks there jumped at the bait, badgering the guy about “All Lives Mattering,” killing babies, and the like. They demanded that he leave, threatened him with arrest, got in his face, and tried to block or grab his camera. Eventually, an older woman, reaching for the guy’s camera, made physical contact, and things turned into a scuffle, ending with the guy being tossed out on his keister. Regardless of the details of who did what, the video of the Republicans being belligerent and getting in the guy’s face put Republicans in general in a bad light. Someone trying to diffuse the situation at one point even asked one of the belligerent guys to back off, and the guy responded, “They do it. Why shouldn’t we?”

The proper answer to that question is “Because we’re better than that,” but almost as important is that this is exactly what the guy wants you to do.

He was a Troll in the current vernacular and was very successful in that instance. He got what he was looking for, and his video made the rounds, with Republicans getting the short end of the stick.

Today, we don’t have a President, we have a Troll in Chief.

Remember that Joe Biden is several cans short of a six-pack, and his speeches are being written by far-left acolytes of Saul Alinsky and his “Rules for Radicals.” His words and actions are intentionally geared to anger his political opponents, hoping to instigate some ugly or violent response. And there are too many people on the “right” who are more than willing to take the bait and provide “proof” that his disparaging characterizations were accurate.

I guarantee people are reading this right now and are berating me as a wimp, afraid to stand up for my beliefs, who have a whole litany of excuses and rationales that they believe justify “hitting back” and “returning tit-for-tat.”

Again, I say; This is exactly what Biden and his handlers are hoping for.

I firmly believe in taking the higher road, living by the Golden Rule, and following my mother’s advice that if I don’t have something nice to say, say nothing at all, or at least don’t say it in an ugly way. But all of that high road stuff aside, I also believe in not giving my opponent ammunition to use against me.

In the Comments section of articles on social media, we often see the phrase; “Don’t feed the Trolls,” but there’s almost always someone who will expend tons of time and energy writing endless rants in response to some Troll who’s sitting in his mom’s basement giggling at the rage he’s engendered.

Right now, the stakes are incredibly high. The Democrats have made gun control one of their core legislative objectives and one of their top campaign issues.

They believe that GunVoters are too divided and disorganized to be an effective voting block in this November’s elections, thanks to the dramatic decline of the NRA and betrayals of stupid Republicans who have backed some gun control efforts. They need as much evidence of “gun nuts” and “radical Republicans” behaving badly as they can get to scare the squishy middle over to their side, and they have the full support of the legacy media available to them to splash that bad behavior all over the news and social media.

Democrats desperately need to distract Americans away from rampant inflation, high gas and food prices, the destruction of US energy companies, unfathomable levels of government spending on idiotic and corrupt “investments,” [aka wars] the total collapse of our foreign policy, and the simple fact that the current President of the United States is clearly an idiot. They need distractions that will turn voters away from those things and instead focus their attention on synthesized bogeymen, imaginary enemies, and the former President’s foibles and failings. It’s working.

Two months ago, Republicans were expected to crash through the November elections like a tidal wave, and today those predictions are ringing hollow, as American voters are having their attention and energy sucked away from the real issues to instead focus on tertiary matters that should have no bearing on the coming elections. Just as Barack Obama once cautioned that one should never underestimate Joe Biden’s ability to “F- things up,” I have warned never to underestimate Republicans’ ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Focusing on Donald Trump’s legal troubles is a huge mistake, regardless of how false or factual they may be or how unfair the double standards of the FBI and Justice Department are. It’s a distraction. So is righteous anger over Joe Biden’s characterizations of Trump voters, gun owners, and “right-wing” politicians as enemies of democracy.

All of that energy should be focused instead on turning the debate back to the real issues at hand, the absolute failure of Biden and the Democrats to do anything right.

Every Republican politician should deflect every question and comment about Trump and right-wing extremism by pointing out that this is all just an effort to distract attention away from the real issues. then follow that up with solid proposals to correct the disastrous policies of the current administration and Democrats in Congress.

The American people are hurting. Democrats like Senator Mark Kelly (Mr. Gabby Giffords) of Arizona are putting out ads bragging about how they are working for their constituents to lower inflation, strengthen the border, and reduce gas prices while they vote in lock-step with Biden and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on policies that do the exact opposite of their claims. This should be Republicans’ talking points, and voting records and videos of these politicians’ actual words should be the core of their campaign ads.

Biden and the Democrats are Trolling GunVoters and the “right.” Don’t take their bait. Don’t give them bad behavior in response to inflammatory rhetoric. Focus on the facts that really matter: The Economy, the Border, Foreign Policy, Profligate Spending, the First Amendment, and the Second Amendment.

Hold the line. Don’t Feed the Trolls.

In The U.S.A. It Is Your Right to Own Military Weapons

Ground-to-air missiles on snow winter. Air defense. defensive system iStock-Diy13 1367808965
Ground-to-air missile, air defense system. iStock-Diy13

Tombstone, Arizona – -(Ammoland.com)- You might be familiar with the question-and-answer site on the internet called Quora.com. While a lot of the discussion on the site is just garbage, a question that’s worth exploring occasionally pops up. Amidst the wrangling over “military-style” weapons and such, I recently ran across a question that I think is worth answering.

The question was:

“What is the legal precedent allowing private ownership of military weapons in the United States?”

My answer:

First, “private ownership of military weapons” is not “allowed” in the US. It’s a right.

You wouldn’t say that practicing Catholicism or Judaism is “allowed” or that reading book is “allowed.” It is a right that is recognized in the US Constitution as fundamental and preexisting that document. The government can’t “allow” rights. They either recognize and respect them or don’t, which is how civil wars start.

Contrary to what President Biden keeps babbling on about cannons, the Second Amendment “right of the people to keep and bear arms” was considered comprehensive at the time of the founding. Civilians could and did own cannons, repeating rifles, and even warships armed with cannons. In his ridiculous decision in the Dred Scott case, explaining why dark-skinned people of African heritage could not be citizens, Justice Taney infamously rolled out his “parade of horribles,” saying that if African-Americans were citizens, they would be able to freely travel between states, hold political meetings, and carry arms wherever they went.

That suggests that the Supreme Court at that time recognized that the Second Amendment is the individual right of all citizens and that it was not restricted to only federal limits.

In 1934, Congress used legal sleight-of-hand to get around the prohibitions of the Second Amendment by calling restrictions on machine guns a tax measure rather than a firearm restriction law; supporters of the law were concerned about it potentially being overturned by the courts. They were looking for a perfect test case to try and slip a new law, the National Firearms Act, past the courts. They found what they were looking for in a case known as US v. Miller, in which a couple of low-life thugs had been caught for bank robbery and were additionally charged with possessing a sawed-off shotgun and transporting said short-barreled shotgun across state lines for illegal purposes. Their lawyer challenged the additional penalties for violating the NFA, which was fast-tracked to the Supreme Court in 1939. In their decision, the Court focused on the “militia clause” of the amendment, saying that any review of the amendment must consider the militia’s purpose.

That’s the part of the flawed decision that all of the lower courts latched onto for the next 70 years, but that was really just part of the dicta of the decision.

The actual meat of the ruling was that, since the Court had no evidence that a short-barreled shotgun served any purpose in the proper function of a militia, they found that such a weapon was not covered by the protections of the Second Amendment.

Often overlooked about Miller is that there was no one arguing on behalf of Miller and his accomplice. One of them was dead, and the other was serving long sentences for other crimes. No lawyer representing them or their side appeared to present any briefs or arguments. A second overlooked or intentionally missed point is that short-barreled shotguns have always had a place in military units. But here was no one to tell the Court that.

The government argued that the Second Amendment protected the “collective right” of being armed during active militia service, but the Court directly rejected that argument.

A true reading of the Miller decision suggests that the objective of having access to a properly functioning (in other words, “well regulated”) militia must be taken into account when looking at Second Amendment cases and that the amendment covers only such arms as are useful to a properly functioning militia. That would mean that ONLY military-type weapons would be covered, which, if Miller were properly read, would include machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades, and crew-served infantry weapons.

Instead of giving the Miller decision a fair reading, a lower court judge misrepresented the Court’s militia comments to mean exactly the argument that the Court had rejected about the Second Amendment referring to a “collective right.” All of the other courts jumped on that court’s misconstrued interpretation. For almost seventy years, care was taken to avoid ever sending any questionable case back up to the Supreme Court.

For most of the last century, that flawed interpretation was the standard the courts used as “settled law” and what was taught in law schools.

In the early 1970s, a University of Arizona law student named David Hardy, stumbled on the Miller decision and recognized the incompatibility with what he was being told in his studies.

He approached his professor and was encouraged to pursue the subject to better understand what he was reading wrong in the precedents. Hardy dove deep into the case law and the history and couldn’t get around the fact that there was simply no true precedent for the prevailing attitude holding the Second Amendment to be dealing with a “collective,” not “individual,” right. He wrote an article for the Arizona Law Review explaining his findings, and that article was widely ignored as the Arizona Law Review was not a very prominent journal. Fortunately, California attorney, criminologist, and constitutional law professor Don Kates happened to read the article and thought it worth pursuing. In 1983, he wrote his own article in the Michigan Law Review, supporting Hardy’s conclusions. More people read the Michigan Law Review than the one from Arizona, and Kates’ article was noticed by a prominent law professor in Texas named Sanford Levinson. Levinson thought the article was absurd, so he and his graduate students began a research project to correct the errors of Kates and Hardy. The result was an article in the Yale Law Review titled “The Embarrassing Second Amendment,” in which Levinson lamented the fact that after thorough research, he had concluded that Kates and Hardy were indeed right.

The Second Amendment did protect a virtually unrestricted individual right to arms.

Over the next 20 years, the Supreme Court steadfastly avoided taking Second Amendment cases, and activists on both sides of the issue helped steer potential SCOTUS cases away from the Court, as neither side was confident in how the Court might rule.

Finally, in 2008, even though the NRA had tried to derail the case, fearing the Court would rule against their interests, the Court heard the case of District of Columbia v. Heller, resulting in a landmark decision. Though the case was very narrowly focused on the question of whether Dick Heller had a constitutional right to have a functional handgun in his home in DC for personal defense, the Court couldn’t help voiding the mistaken notion of a “collective right” being implied in “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” All nine Justices agreed that the right protected was “individual” in nature, but four of the Justices argued that “shall not be infringed” somehow meant “shouldn’t be unreasonably infringed” and that the individual right to arms had to be directly connected to active service in the militia. Those four were outnumbered by the five justices who concluded that NO direct connection to active participation in the militia was necessary and that “shall not be infringed” does not imply the inclusion of the word “unreasonably.”

The Court majority opinion, written by Justice Antonin Scalia, included some dicta suggesting that the protection only applied to such arms as are in “common use” at the time and which would be normal for a person to bring with them to militia service if called upon. (In the US, all able-bodied persons above the age of 18 are automatically considered to be members of the militia, regardless of any active service.)

A few years later, in the case of McDonald v. Chicago, the Court held that the right protected by the Second Amendment is “fundamental” and applies to the states under the “Equal Protection” clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Then, just a few months ago, the Court ruled in NYSRPA v. Bruen, in a six to three decision, that the “right to keep and bear arms” includes bearing arms for personal protection outside the home. The decision also set the standard for evaluating the application of the amendment to the actual text and its perceived meaning and application at the time it was adopted, without consideration for the “public safety” or other concerns of states or municipalities.

Under these rulings, Heller, McDonald, and NYSRPA v. Bruen, and to a lesser extent Miller, the Court has established that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to arms, inside and outside the home and that the right applies to arms that are commonly held by the populace, and that the protections apply to the federal government and all subsidiary governments, as a fundamental right.

As “military-style” arms are specifically identified as protected in the Miller decision, and as virtually all firearms have evolved from military designs, and “military-style” arms such as the AR15 and AK variants are among the most popular and common rifles in civilian hands, the matter should be considered pretty well settled.

Rights advocates are now pushing for rolling back or repealing laws like the Hughes Amendment, which cut off the sales of new, full-auto firearms back in 1986, and the National Firearms Act, which added restrictions on a wide variety of arms back in 1934.

Meanwhile, gun control advocates keep pushing new laws which are clearly unconstitutional, such as bans on so-called “assault weapons” and limits on ammunition capacity.

As Sanford Levinson wrote in his Yale Law Review article, “The Embarrassing Second Amendment,” the correct approach for those wanting to restrict firearms must begin with amending or repealing the Second Amendment.

Good luck with that.

Pray for Supreme Court Justice Thomas & Our Nation

U S Supreme Court Clarence Thomas
U. S. Supreme Court Clarence Thomas

Tombstone, Arizona – -(Ammoland.com)- The Supreme Court has only one job. That job can be multi-faceted, but it’s still just one job. The job is to look at laws and lower court decisions and determine whether the law or conclusion of the lower court is following the Constitution.

It should not matter whether a Justice is personally “pro-abortion” or “anti-abortion,” “pro-gun” or “anti-gun,” “pro-religion” or “anti-religion,” or any other personal philosophy or beliefs that they may hold. The only thing that matters is that they fairly, rationally, reasonably, and faithfully interpret the original intent and meaning of the words in the Constitution and apply those words, intent, and meaning to the application of laws today.

For decades (actually almost from the very beginning), some members of the Supreme Court have allowed politics and personal beliefs to encroach on the way they apply the Constitution.

They’ve played games with the law and manipulated language, history, and logic to find creative justification for doing what they have wanted to be done, rather than doing the difficult but more straightforward work of applying the Constitution as it was written and intended, even when it doesn’t comport with their desires or philosophy.

Justice Clarence Thomas is an exception.

His decision in NYSRPA v. Bruen, the recent ruling striking down New York’s requirement that a person has a demonstrable need, above and beyond a general desire for self-protection, to be “granted” a permit to carry a concealed handgun in public, is a demonstration of applying the Constitution correctly. Not only did he and the majority of the Court reject New York’s arbitrary “need” requirement, he, with their concurrence, also made clear the constitutional standard the lower courts are supposed to be using to evaluate any fundamental right claim.

That standard is whether the law or lower court ruling comports with the Constitution.

He gives no leeway for states or municipalities’ “pressing need” or “compelling public interest,” but instead focuses solely on the meaning and intent of the words at the time they were adopted.

If Thomas’s decision in NYSRPA v. Bruen made people angry, his concurrence in Dobbs, the case which overturned Roe v. Wade, made them apoplectic, especially when he called for a reversal of other SCOTUS decisions which employed the same questionable legal theory known as “substantive due process.” Cases depending on that theory include a decision regarding same-sex marriage and another regarding choices in contraception. The rulings and Thomas’s objections to the theory of “substantive due process” triggered a flood of vitriol driven by a justifiable fear that the legal foundation for those rulings had been undermined.

The core of the insults, threats, and abuse is the idea that Thomas has a political agenda. In reality, Thomas is blocking and exposing the political agendas of others, not promoting one of his own.

It’s a pretty safe bet that Justice Thomas doesn’t have personal objections to people choosing their preferred form of contraception or consenting adults sleeping with or marrying whomever they choose. He objects to the use of a legal theory that he considers bogus to create a constitutional right where none exists, or if it does exist, it can be proven under a better argument than “substantive due process.” To Justice Thomas, it’s not about blocking abortions, making it easier for people to carry guns, or interfering in the bedroom choices of average Americans; it’s about faithfully following the Constitution. If the American people don’t like the limits or restrictions of the Constitution, they have the means available to make changes to it. But the Supreme Court is not supposed to be a shortcut to amending the Constitution, and Clarence Thomas is on a mission to not only prevent that sort of end-run in the future but to correct the abuses of past iterations of the Court.

While Justice Thomas is the most prominent example of this “originalist” approach to the job of a Supreme Court Justice, other past and current members of the Court have shared his beliefs to some extent. Some, like Chief Justice John Roberts, object to disturbing established precedents because correcting them would create a ripple effect through the judicial system. They demand adherence to precedent, even when it’s clear that precedent stems from bad decisions that have become the foundation of additional bad laws. Others are committed to the political or philosophical objectives of the bad precedents and don’t want them reversed because that would go against their political views.

While Thomas generally looks to the Constitution as it was written and at the cases that were decided shortly after it was ratified, he is also willing to accept duly ratified amendments, notably the Fourteenth Amendment.

In McDonald v. Chicago, which confirmed that the individual right to arms is a fundamental, individual right that the states cannot ignore, Justice Thomas agreed with the majority that the right must be enforced against the states. But he argued against the use of “incorporation” under the “Due Process” clause of the 14th Amendment. Instead, Thomas argued in favor of restoration of the “Privileges and Immunities” clause of the 14th Amendment, as it was intended when it was ratified.

The 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868, in the wake of the Civil War, to establish freed slaves as full citizens of the United States, with all of the constitutionally protected rights, privileges, and immunities, enjoyed by all other U.S. citizens. But back in 1873, in a case that didn’t involve race, the Supreme Court entered a ruling that gutted the core of the Amendment. Here’s the pertinent section of the amendment:

Section 1. “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

The Court has parsed that section into three distinct clauses: The “Privileges and Immunities” clause, The “Due Process” clause, and The “Equal Protection” clause. In 1873, less than 5 years after the 14th Amendment was ratified, in a ruling widely known as the “Slaughterhouse Cases,” the Court delivered their controversial decision claiming that the “Privileges and Immunities clause” only applies to federal laws on federal properties, and did not protect all of the rights of citizenship for all citizens of the United States, even though that was the clear and very public intent of the amendment authors, and was advertised as such in the campaign to ratify it. In subsequent cases, the Court has stood by this seriously flawed decision, but through the years, the Court has effectively restored many of the intended protections of the “Privileges and Immunities” clause by selectively and creatively applying the “Due Process” and “Equal Protection” clauses.

The decision in the Slaughterhouse cases is widely considered one of the worst decisions to come out of the Supreme Court.

Justice Samuel Freeman Miller, the author of the majority opinion in the Slaughter-House Cases
Justice Samuel Freeman Miller, the author of the majority opinion in the Slaughter-House Cases.

It is unlikely that you could find a single legal scholar in the past 100 years, who would defend the decision as right and correct, yet the Court has steadfastly refused to correct this glaring error, instead choosing to use creative workarounds.

When the McDonald case came to the Court in 2010, arguing that individuals’ Second Amendment rights could not be usurped by the states, many legal scholars saw the case as a prime opportunity for the Court to correct their long-held Slaughterhouse error. Indeed, attorney Alan Gura, representing Otis McDonald and the Second Amendment Foundation, argued during the first half of his allotted argument time, that the Court should take this position. The second half of his argument time was planned to be focused on the Court’s more favored “incorporation” theory for applying the “Due Process” clause. In the end, the Court allowed the NRA to intervene in the case, and the “Due Process” arguments were offered by their attorney, Paul Clement – who happened to have been the Solicitor General who argued for the government in the Heller case.

The Court ruled in favor of McDonald, but chose to use “Incorporation” under the “Due Process” clause, instead of reversing the Slaughterhouse decision.

Justice Thomas argued at the time in favor of reversing Slaughterhouse and has consistently argued for Supreme Court Justices to correct past mistakes and reduce their reliance on past precedents in ruling on cases. He doesn’t argue this to advance his own political agenda or make his job easier, but to bring the Court back into alignment with the Constitution and hopefully keep it there.

At the moment, Justice Thomas is the leading advocate for this approach, though there are a couple of other justices currently on the Court who tend to agree with his position, at least to a substantial degree.

But there are powerful forces that are adamantly opposed to Thomas’s originalist approach. Those forces include most of the legacy media and the entire Democratic Party. They paint Justice Thomas as a crazed right-winger, trying to undo all of the good things the Court has accomplished over the past 50+ years, and they have riled up mobs of people who are now convinced that Thomas is the greatest threat to our democracy that anyone has ever seen.

This is wrong, abusive, and dangerous – to Thomas and our nation.

So I ask you to join me in praying for Justice Thomas’s continued good health and safety, and for his efforts to rein in the Courts to be successful.

Friends Like These… Only Get America New Gun Control Laws

John Cornyn
John Cornyn … IMG Sen. John Cornyn of Texas facebook

Tombstone, Arizona – -(Ammoland.com)- With the Senate’s passage of the “Bipartisan Safer Communities Act” on Thursday, and the House’s passage on Friday, the bill is headed to the President’s desk in time for signing before everyone flees Washington to celebrate Independence Day. That seems a bit ironic, doesn’t it.

Others have already written about the numerous problems with the legislation, so I won’t dive deeply into those, but will instead focus on the political ramifications of the whole mess. As a lifelong politics watcher with over 30 years of active participation in the political process, including lobbying, campaigning, working directly for candidates, and as a campaign consultant, I’m at a loss to understand the Republican strategy of working so hard to come up with a “bipartisan, compromise” to give Joe Biden a “win” on gun control.

Sure, it would be tempting for them to want to be able to go home and say “We did something in response to the horror in Uvalde,” but “doing something” that is guaranteed to fail, with components that are patently unconstitutional, and which is guaranteed to alienate a large and very politically active segment of their base, just makes no sense.

You would think that chief Republican negotiator, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, would have gotten a clue when he was booed from the stage at a Republican event in his home state.

Instead, he referred to the frustrated Republicans as a “mob,” and vowed to stay the course in his efforts to “reach a compromise.” It was just after this that Cornyn announced language had been agreed upon. When that language was finally presented to the Senate and the public, senators were given less than an hour to review the details before they were asked to vote to approve the measure to move forward, setting it up for passage the next day.

A group of 15 Republican senators joined with the entire block of Democrats in the Senate to push the bill through. Of those Republicans, four are retiring at the end of this term, so voters can’t hold them directly responsible for their actions. [Toomey (PA), Burr (NC), Portman (OH), Blunt (MO)]

Eight were just reelected in 2020, so they’re not up for reelection until 2026 [Cornyn (TX), Graham (SC), McConnell (KY), Cassidy (LA), Capito (WV), Ernst (IA), Tillis (R-NC), Collins (ME)], and Mitt Romney of Utah, is not up for reelection until 2024. That gives GunVoters ample time to find and promote primary challengers for all of these compromisers.

The final two Republican compromisers are Todd Young of Indiana, who has already won his primary and is expected to win an easy victory in the general, even though his Democratic opponent looks pretty strong, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who has a primary in August, and actually has a solid-looking, Republican primary opponent. Alaska uses an unusual “Top 4” primary system, in which they hold an open primary, and the top 4 vote-getters move on to the general election, regardless of party affiliation, so Murkowski’s Republican Challenger, Kelly Tshibaka, is likely to make it into the general, but things get complicated from there. Taking on an incumbent is never easy, but with strong support from GunVoters, Tshibaka has a chance. Whether she can convince those GunVoters that she’s a better choice, remains to be seen. Murkowski’s done her part to drive GunVoters away from her camp, but Tshibaka will need to work to win them over to her side. We don’t know enough about her yet to make a recommendation, but invite anyone with knowledge about her, to share it with us.

The biggest problem, politically speaking, with these Republican compromise deals, is that they feed the “hopelessness” faction of pro-gun voters.

These are the folks who say that Democrats and Republicans are just “two sides of the same coin,” or that the “system’s rigged” so voting doesn’t really matter. Unfortunately, these are self-fulfilling prophecies. By abdicating their responsibilities and not getting involved in the election process, they bring about the defeat of their own ideals when they fail to vote, or only cast a protest vote for a third-party candidate with no chance of winning.

Don’t make this mistake.

Politics is a spectrum, like autism. Some politicians are far off to the edges of the scale, while others are somewhere toward the middle, and most swing like a pendulum, depending on which way the wind is blowing on a given day. It’s also a sad fact that many of them, from local City Council members to US Senators, and even Presidents, are not particularly bright. Having worked with, met with, and interviewed thousands of politicians, from all levels and all sides of the political spectrum, over the past 30+ years, I’ve been astounded by how many of them are total morons, with only one real skill – getting votes. Seriously, I would not hire some of these people to walk my dog or answer my office phones, yet they’ve somehow made their way into elected office, and in some cases, into the highest circles of power. The only good thing about these simpletons is also the primary bad thing: They’re easily manipulated. Since they have no real mind of their own, they depend heavily on other people to tell them what to say and do. If you or someone you trust are among that politician’s trusted advisors, then everything’s grand, but get a weasel in the hen house, or a politician who suddenly decides to make his own decisions, and things fall apart fast.

The sad fact is, to paraphrase Churchill, our political system is the worst ever devised, except for all of the others. It’s deeply flawed and imperfect, and it is susceptible to abuse, but it is the best available, and the more involved – and devoted to integrity – the people are, the better the system is.

Given all of that, the only way to get politicians that will vote the way you want them to vote is to first be sure that you fully understand your own political values.

What’s really important to you, and what doesn’t hit your radar? What issues are your “litmus test” issues, and how do you rank them on your personal priority list? For example, the Second Amendment might be your top priority, but you might also care about border security, abortion, economic issues, foreign affairs, etc., and the strongest supporter of the Second Amendment might be completely opposed to your position on all of your other top issues. They might be an avowed communist, or Nazi, or just a total moron on economics, or just a poor campaigner who has no chance of actually winning. So even though we often call ourselves “single-issue” voters, what we’re really saying is that our “single-issue” is a very high priority to us, but it can’t be the only criteria we look at.

Having a clear idea of your own political philosophy, is the first step to making solid choices in elections.

From there, we ideally want to work to elect politicians who completely agree with us on every issue, but that’s not very realistic, so those who agree with us on the preponderance of our highest priority issues, and who actually have a chance of winning. While there are valid reasons to tilt at windmills – to help push the debate in a certain direction, flush out charlatans, build name recognition for future races, promote a particular issue, etc. – generally, if you’re going to dedicate your precious vote, or time, money, and energy to a candidate, you want that candidate to have a chance of winning. If they are not electable, you’re giving the office to someone else.

Beyond basic issues and electability, there’s the issue of party and majorities. For example, right now, the US Senate is evenly divided, giving Democrats the functional majority, because they can count on Vice President Kamala Harris to break ties in their favor. That means the Senate floor is controlled by Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and that’s a bad thing for gun owners. This November, that majority could shift, but it could be very close, and much depends on what happens between now and Election Day. With that reality, it could come down to Lisa Murkowski being the one-vote difference in whether Democrats or Republicans control the Senate. Would GunVoters rather retain the backstabber and get Schumer out of his position of control, or fire the backstabber and keep Schumer in power? Personally, I’d prefer to fire Schumer and withhold my wrath for Murkowski for another day, but there are a whole lot of GunVoters whom I doubt could be convinced to push in that direction by me or anyone else.

The most important thing for GunVoters to remember though, is that, while 15 Republicans crossed over to support this bad legislation in the Senate, and 14 did the same in the House, 50 Democratic Senators and 220 Democratic Representatives also supported it, and most of them were complaining that it didn’t go far enough.

Gabby Giffords And Mark Kelly
Gabby Giffords And Mark Kelly

GunVoters are very good at punishing backstabbers and turncoats, but we need to be better at taking on our real enemies, like Mark Kelly, the co-founder of the Giffords gun control group. He’s up for reelection in Arizona, and he should be beatable, and beating him should be GunVoters’ number one objective this year.

Supreme Court is the Eye of the Storm As They Rule On 2A & Abortion

Supreme Court Washington DC USA iStock-Bill Chizek-1149364911.jpg
KniStock-Bill Chizek

Tombstone, Arizona – -(Ammoland.com)- The Supreme Court finally announced its long-awaited decision in the case of New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen yesterday, and as expected, it’s a doozy.

The decision was written by my longtime favorite Justice Clarence Thomas and was joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett. Justice Breyer was joined in a lonnnnng, emotion-laden dissent, by Justices Kagan and Sotomayor.

Probably the single most important aspect of Thomas’s ruling is a repudiation of the lower courts’ use of various “balancing schemes” and “tests” in deciding Second Amendment cases.  A declaration that these cases should be decided based on the text of the Constitution, and the historical application of that text at the time it was adopted, not by any sort of “ends-means” scrutiny. The ruling, and much of the dicta going along with it, is narrowly focused on New York’s “may issue” licensing system, which gives bureaucrats the authority to deny carry licenses on the basis of arbitrary standards and their own discretion.

Justice Kavanaugh, joined by Chief justice Roberts, penned a concurring opinion that goes to some pains to point out limits on the reach of the Court’s ruling, particularly noting that the ruling doesn’t negate state laws that require that certain conditions be met before issuing a carry license, such as criminal background checks, safety training, and education on state laws related to firearm use. He also quotes from Heller to stress the idea that the Second Amendment is not without limits, and that some regulation of firearms and firearm owners, as has been traditionally employed, is tolerable under the Constitution.

This concurring opinion from Kavanaugh and Roberts reinforces the perception of many in the rights community, that these two are the “weakest links” in the Court’s “conservative” block.

“Ends-Means Scrutiny” & “Balancing Test” Excuse Removed

What’s important though, is that by denouncing “ends-means scrutiny” and “balancing test” schemes, Justice Thomas and the Court majority have effectively removed the most commonly used tool of the appellate courts for skirting the protections of the Second Amendment.

This will make it much more difficult for those courts to come up with excuses for allowing clearly unconstitutional infringements, to remain in force. The ruling basically says that from now on, when a court is looking at a Second Amendment case, they must look at the original text and history, and if that text and history does not support the infringement, then the law must be ruled unconstitutional, regardless of what sort of government interest might be served by allowing the law to stand.

This should have far-reaching ramifications.

In response to the majority opinion, the “liberal wing” of the Court offered a long, rambling dissent, penned by retiring Justice Stephen Breyer, who once called for a repeal of the Second Amendment. In it, Breyer pours out all sorts of irrelevant statistics about “gun deaths,” mass shootings, “gun suicides,” and other such “guns are bad, m’kay” nonsense. To his credit, in his own concurring opinion, Justice Alito shredded Breyer and his emotional dissent, pointing out that none of his 100+ pages of arguments and statistics have any bearing on the case at hand, which is about the defense of fundamental human rights.

This case and decision serve as a reminder of how much elections matter, and how important it is to sometimes hold your nose and vote for someone who’s not our friend, but who is also not a friend to our enemies. [read Dr. Oz] I was never a Donald Trump fan, and the best arguments I could come up with to vote for him were:

  • 1. He wasn’t Hillary Clinton.
  • 2. He might hire some sharp people to help him get his head right on guns.
  • 3. He’d be under extreme scrutiny and have to fight for everything he tried to do, with Democrats vehemently opposing him, and a number of Republicans watching and opposing him almost as much.
  • 4. The next President would be naming at least one or two Supreme Court Justices, and those picks would be critical for decades to come.

In the end, many of my concerns about Trump proved out, as he did betray gun owners with his actions on bump-stocks and his calls for “red flag” laws, but he surprised me with much of what he was able to accomplish during his term. Most importantly, President Trump nominated three relatively solid new Justices to the Supreme Court and got them confirmed. I’m not completely thrilled with Justice Kavanaugh, and I’ve been a little disappointed with Justice Gorsuch at times, but the ruling released yesterday demonstrates just how important those three appointments were, and will be for the next decade or two. Appointments like those are worth taking a chance on a back-stabber if it gets Gun Voters the majority control, especially when you know that the alternative would be a hundred times worse.

Pray for Justice Thomas

Going forward, we all need to pray for the continued health and safety of all of the Justices, especially Justice Thomas, who is the longest-serving Justice on the Court, and now the oldest member of the Court, at 74, as well as the most constitutionally correct. While the other members of the Court are much younger than Justice Thomas, they face risks as well, particularly since the “leak” of the draft opinion in the Dobbs case, which exposed today’s decision by the Court to overturn the infamous decision in Roe v. Wade. Illegal protests have now been activated outside Justices’ homes, and threats of violence have significantly increased.

Earlier this month, a man was arrested near Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s home in Maryland. The man had a pistol and extra magazines, along with a “tactical” knife, tools, duck tape, and other “burglar equipment.” He had arrived at Kavanaugh’s home in a taxi a little after 1:00 in the morning but walked down the street after noticing two Federal Marshals in front of the house. The man then called 911 and reported that he was armed and suicidal, and he had traveled from California with the intention of killing Justice Kavanaugh, then killing himself, as a way to “give his life meaning.”

He was arrested without incident, while still on the line with the 911 operator. The man told FBI investigators that he had decided to kill Kavanaugh because he assumed Kavanaugh would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, and against New York in the NYSRPA v. Bruen case, “weakening” gun control laws.

For some unfathomable reason, the media has been unusually quiet about this failed political assassination plan, instead of focusing on the January 6th “insurrection” hearings, and the Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard defamation suit. Of course, we can only speculate on what news coverage might look like if one of the “liberal” justices had been the target of an assassination plan by a crazed “right-winger,” but I’m guessing it would be just a little more aggressive. In fact, it would probably trigger another round of demands for more gun control laws. After all, this criminal nut-job apparently acquired his weapons and ammunition in California, flew to DC, then took a taxi to Kavanaugh’s house in Maryland. Obviously stronger gun laws would have prevented all of that. (<– the writer typed sarcastically.)

With the ruling on Roe v. Wade in the Dobbs case now out, we can expect more violent responses. Several “groups” and individuals have been openly advocating for a day – or week or month – of civil unrest and destruction in response to the expected decision. Again, for some reason, the legacy media doesn’t seem interested in those threats, and social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook don’t seem interested in suspending or canceling these folks’ accounts. As long as they’re not saying anything extreme and controversial, like suggesting that a woman is an adult female human, I guess they get a pass.

Pray for Justice Thomas’s continued health, and for the safety of all of the Justices. The crazy’s getting pretty deep.

Wayne LaPierre Reelected Executive Vice President of NRA

Wayne LaPierre
Wayne LaPierre  IMG NRA-ILA

Tombstone, Arizona – -(Ammoland.com)- It’s hard to imagine a scenario where Letitia James, the NRA-hating Attorney General of New York, would turn out to be the NRA’s savior, but that’s how things are stacking up at this point.

The “leaders” of the NRA Board of Directors made it clear during the Members’ Meeting on Saturday that anyone criticizing Wayne LaPierre is just a hateful hater spewing hate and trying to tear down the NRA, and should be ignored and ostracized.

The full Board, or at least the 62 (out of 76) Directors who bothered to attend the Monday board meeting, reinforced that message with a resounding vote to reelect LaPierre, 54 to 1, with 7 abstentions.

This was probably the NRA board’s last chance to send a message to the New York judge who is going to rule on Letitia James’ lawsuit against the Association, to let him know that the whole organization isn’t corrupt or willfully blind to the failings of their long-time Executive Vice President and his closest allies. Instead, the Board sent the exact opposite message, inviting the judge to replace the entire Board at the same time that he removes LaPierre and NRA Secretary and General Counsel John Frazer, and installs an overseer to reorganize the 151-year old organization. I expect to see all of that ordered in early 2023 when this case finally gets to trial.

I have no doubt that the NRA will immediately appeal when the judge rules in favor of James – which is a foregone conclusion, based on the overwhelming evidence that’s readily available – and many Directors will claim to their dying day that the whole thing was a politically-motivated sham, made up by us hateful haters. They’ll just keep shoveling more and more millions of dollars into the pockets of Bill Brewer, their carpetbagging New York lawyer now based in Texas who is on record as contributing to Hillary Clinton and “Beto” O’Rourke, as long as there’s money available – which might not be much longer.

The evidence of corruption is overwhelming and easily accessed through the transcripts of the NRA’s failed bankruptcy case. I’m frankly surprised that the NY AG’s office hasn’t expanded their list of named defendants in the case to include more, if not most, members of the Board, but perhaps that will come after the case moves into the discovery phase later this year when details on payments from Wayne’s special “Consultant Fund,” to members of the Board and various other “friends of Wayne” come out into the open.

One thing I want to make clear: I don’t personally believe that Wayne was actively & intentionally engaged in straight-up embezzlement.

But it is apparent that he created an environment where corruption flourished. I think there’s a good chance that Woody Phillips, Wayne’s hand-picked Treasurer for over 26 years, might have been engaged in that sort of brazen criminal activity, just as he allegedly did at his previous employer. And I think it’s pretty clear that Woody was also using NRA money to enrich and endear himself to some of his friends and close associates.

It was Wayne’s responsibility, along with the members of the Audit Committee, to have caught that and put a stop to it, but they never did. It also appears that Wayne’s hand-picked deputy, Josh Powell, deliberately padded his expense accounts and snagged money wherever and however he could, while making a mess of virtually everything he touched, and mistreating NRA employees and contractors in the process.

Again Wayne or other NRA “leaders” failed to take timely corrective action. In other words, they failed to do their jobs – a job LaPierre was paid handsomely to fail at. It seems that Wayne was more patsy than criminal. Used by unscrupulous money-grubbers who convinced him that this, that, or some other scheme, was a great idea. That these would be a feather in his cap, a boon for the NRA, a fundraising gold mine, etc.. And that it was only fair and reasonable that the folks putting the deals together should receive some reward. Wayne should also benefit personally from the deals, as everyone knows that Wayne is the “hardest working man in Washington,” and owed way more than the $1.8 million he’s currently being paid…

In short, I think Wayne was – and is – a tool, who was good at schmoozing and making rich guys feel important and generous, and who let scoundrels prosper at the NRA’s expense, while they made sure he was always getting a hefty cut of the spoils. He was sloppy and cavalier about his fiduciary responsibilities to the Association, and unwilling to see the corruption among his “friends” and associates, especially when he and his wife were personally benefiting in the process.

I don’t hate Wayne, and I certainly don’t hate the NRA. I’ve spent some 40 years trying to help make the NRA more responsive, efficient, and effective. I don’t begrudge anyone for receiving reasonable pay for good work, and I understand that good and conscientious men can disagree on the best course of action in the face of political threats. I firmly believe in the proverb of iron sharpening iron, and while I won’t try to claim that there’s no personal animosity between myself and some of the folks at the top of the NRA, I try hard to keep things away from personal feelings and stay focused on verifiable facts.

I definitely don’t think it right or appropriate for the CEO of a nonprofit organization like the NRA, to beg for $20 or $100 donations from average Americans, many of whom live paycheck to paycheck or are on a fixed income, while that CEO is being paid over a million dollars per year – or anything close to that. LaPierre’s $1.8 million dollars per year breaks down to about $34,000 per week, or $150,000 per month – over 4 times what the President of the United States is paid. Meanwhile, the NRA routinely sends out fundraising letters over LaPierre’s signature, breathlessly warning about the rising threats to gun rights, and begging members to dig deep and send $20, $50, $100, or whatever they can afford…

I find that repugnant.

Letitia James public image jamesforny-com
Letitia James, public image jamesforny.com

I believe the events of this past weekend have sealed the NRA’s fate. I see no chance of avoiding a loss in the New York lawsuit, and I’m just thankful that the judge in the case appears to be fair and reasonable. I believe he will rule in favor of Letitia James and New York, and will remove those in control of the NRA, probably with at least some hefty fines, if not the full restitution that James is calling for. I believe the judge will place the association under the auspices of a caretaker manager tasked with reorganization for the benefit of the members.

While the NRA will undoubtedly appeal (unless they really go bankrupt first or negotiate some sort of settlement – which I think is highly unlikely) and they will call for the judge’s orders to be stayed during the appeal. I believe it is unlikely that the judge will allow the current “leadership” to remain in control of the Association and its assets for a minute longer than he must.

My big fear is that NRA members and donors will dry up when all of this happens. Some out of anger that they were duped, and others out of doubt that the appointed manager will guide the Association in the right direction. So I hope the Judge can find a manager that NRA members will respect, or that he’ll include a person or panel to advise the manager on ideological matters and provide reassurance to the members, that the Association is returning to its core principles. There is a chance that under the appointed manager NRA’s political activities could be held to a minimum, if not prohibited altogether, which is another concern.

No matter what happens next, the NRA has a long and difficult road ahead, and it’s anyone’s bet as to whether the organization will ever be the strong beacon of liberty that it ought to be. The lawsuit is supposed to enter the discovery phase by the end of the year and go to trial by early next year, so until then, there’s little that anyone can do to impact the Association’s future, other than to pray for the best possible outcome.

My efforts will continue to focus on building The Firearms Coalition and fighting the gun control that will inevitably grow out of the recent horrors in Buffalo and Uvalde.

Will Donald Trump Unknowingly Rescue NRA’s Wayne LaPierre?

Donald Trump speaks to NRA
IMG WH.gov

Tombstone, Arizona – -(Ammoland.com)- Donald Trump is scheduled to speak at the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum as part of the NRA’s Annual Meetings and Exhibits in Houston this Friday.

With the accusations, admissions, and compromising complications surrounding current NRA “leaders,” many politicians wisely declined invitations to appear at the event this year. But Donald Trump can’t resist a crowd, and he’d like to shore up his damaged reputation with gun owners – though it’s likely that he and his handlers don’t realize just how much damage his push to ban bump stocks, and his support for “red flag” laws during his presidency actually did.

Appearing at the NRA-ILA event is fairly low-risk for Trump and his base supporters. But his friendly photos with Wayne LaPierre, and any supportive comments he makes about the NRA’s embattled CEO, will undoubtedly be used against him, especially since the evidence against LaPierre is so easily available and compelling. As LaPierre’s failures and the corruption of his administration become more widely known and part of the record in court, the media will be highly critical of Trump for propping up LaPierre.

But Trump has weathered much more damning associations in the past, so this one will probably barely be a ripple in the larger scheme of things.

Trump should remember though, that he needs strong support from the rights community, and he’s already done serious damage to that support with his bump-stock and “red flag” positions. Adding a last-minute rescue of the man many see as once leading but now destroying the NRA, is not going to sit well with the hard-line rights advocates who are also the most politically active members of the “gun culture.” Not only will these activists not cast a ballot for Trump, more importantly, they won’t go to work for him, and instead, they’ll use their influence against him. So it ends up a loss of votes from those activists, along with many within their sphere of influence, and the loss of any votes those activists might have recruited to Trump’s support.

From LaPierre’s side, Trump’s appearance represents a huge opportunity.

LaPierre and his handlers know that the loyal opposition, the people they call “the enemy within,” are going to do their best to challenge LaPierre and his cronies during the Members’ Meeting on Saturday. They’re counting on Trump to talk about his “good friend” Wayne LaPierre’s virtues and political acumen and tell the crowd how lucky they are to have such a great American working for them and guarding their rights. They plan to do whatever they can to shut down any criticism of LaPierre in the Members’ Meeting, and that objective depends on support from the NRA members in attendance. If a majority of the members in the meeting are opposed to LaPierre or are open to hearing more about the corruption scandal, then, President Charles Cotton will have a harder time shutting down the “dissident faction.”

If, on the other hand, the majority of members in the meeting are “low-information” NRA members, buoyed by Trump’s hollow praise of LaPierre, and believing the blatant lies of the NRA establishment, then Cotton will easily block the opposition, hold a quick Rah-rah session, and adjourn the meeting with nothing being accomplished.

Full Disclosure

The last time LaPierre faced a serious challenge to his personal power, was way back in 1997, when my father was 1st Vice President of the Association, in line to become President the following year. Dad and a majority of the Board were upset with the way LaPierre was allowing vendors and outside contractors – particularly the PR firm of Ackerman McQueen – to set their own terms, work without detailed contracts, submit and get paid for open-ended invoices, and involve themselves in internal NRA business. The Board had instructed LaPierre to cancel the contract with Ack-Mac, and he reluctantly agreed, then reported back to the Board that Ack-Mac was gone, replaced by a new PR company called Mercury Group. Then it turned out that Mercury Group was a newly created, wholly-owned subsidiary of Ackerman McQueen, managed by the same Ack-Mac executive, Tony Makris, that had been handling the NRA account for some time.

In order to save himself on that occasion, LaPierre relied on actor, Charlton Heston to come to his rescue. By manipulating definitions in the Bylaws, LaPierre and Makris were able to get Heston elected to a 1-year seat on the NRA Board of Directors. Then, in the subsequent Board meeting, he was nominated to run for 1st Vice President against my father. Heston won that election by 4 votes, then left to do a radio interview, during which he repeatedly declared that AK-47s are “inappropriate” for civilians to own and they should be restricted. Makris and LaPierre eventually got Heston on the right script, and he did some good things for the Association during his 5-year tenure as President. But Heston also gave LaPierre a taste of the lifestyles of the rich and famous, and he apparently liked it.

Heston flew only on chartered jets, stayed in only the best accommodations in the best hotels, and was chauffeured about in luxury limousines, with LaPierre and Makris right by his side, enjoying the same perks (all being paid for by the NRA, of course). It’s also worth mentioning that the President and two Vice Presidents constitute the Executive Compensation Committee, which sets the pay for LaPierre and other NRA executives. In 1996, LaPierre was making between $200k and $300k, but once Neal Knox and Albert Ross were replaced by Heston and Kayne Robinson as 1st and 2nd VP, respectively, LaPierre’s compensation almost immediately doubled and kept climbing, Peaking at $2.2 million in 2018, and currently sitting at $1.6 million per year, all funded my your membership dues.

As in 1997, LaPierre is again depending on a celebrity to save him: President Donald Trump.

While LaPierre’s fallen out with Makris and Ackerman McQueen, filing lawsuits against both, he has a new Rasputin whispering in his ear, in the form of Angus McQueen’s son-in-law, attorney William Brewer. Where Ackerman McQueen was pulling down some $40 million per year from NRA, with Makris drawing several million more for his terrible TV hunting show, Bill Brewer helped replace both of them at the bargain price of just over $2 million per month, some $30 million per year, according to what information we can find.

It was questioning the outrageous billing from Brewer’s law firm that resulted in the Nominating Committee deciding not to nominate Olliver North for the traditional second year as President of the Association. Then when North suggested that LaPierre should resign, in light of the damning and well-supported accusations that had come out against him just prior to the 2019 Annual Meetings, LaPierre accused him of extortion. Since then, the NRA has filed at least two lawsuits against North, and there’s currently an ethics charge filed against him by LaPierre apologist, Tom King, calling for the unprecedented step of kicking North completely out of the Association for “conspiring” against LaPierre. Of course, Chris Cox and his top deputy, along with numerous other NRA employees and contractors, were also dumped for “conspiring” against LaPierre.

At the Members’ Meeting in Indianapolis in 2019, an effort was made to pass a resolution of No Confidence against Wayne LaPierre and his sycophants on the NRA Board, but that effort was side-tracked and eventually quashed by LaPierre loyalists from the Board. A group of Directors had agreed to nominate Allen West for the office of Executive Vice President in the Board meeting that followed, but that plan fell apart, and LaPierre ran unopposed.

This year, the members are going to again have the opportunity to express their dissatisfaction with LaPierre and company – unless the “leaders” are successful at shutting down those efforts – and West will be nominated to run for EVP in the Board meeting on Monday. The results of the Members Meeting and the subsequent Board meeting will give a good indication of whether the NRA will be able to survive as an independent entity or be virtually bankrupted and put under court control for the next several years.

Will Donald Trump save Wayne LaPierre, and assist in the destruction of the NRA?

We’ll know the answer to that question in just a few days.

If you are able to attend the NRA Members Meeting in Houston on Saturday, please do so. It would also be helpful if you would write to your NRA Board members, urging them to stop the destruction of the Association, dump LaPierre, and restore integrity to the NRA by casting their secret ballot for Allen West. Their names and contact information can be found on the back pages of every NRA magazine.

I hope to see you in Houston.

NRA Needs New Leadership, Time for 2A RINO’s to Step Away

NRA Leadership Board of Directors
NRA Leadership Board of Directors

Tombstone, Arizona – -(Ammoland.com)-  I reported last week that a group of influential NRA reformers was attempting to draft LTC. Allen West, to run against Wayne LaPierre for the CEO position in the NRA, and today West has confirmed that he is officially a candidate for the NRA’s top job.

Readers should all be aware by now that there are some serious problems at the NRA, and those problems revolve around long-time EVP/CEO Wayne LaPierre, and a small contingent of NRA Directors, determined to shield him and keep him in power, regardless of the damage to, or total destruction of, the NRA, this is causing.

NRA members have been paying LaPierre between $1 million and $2 million dollars per year for the past decade (last year it was $1.6 million), and almost that much for the two decades before that. But while LaPierre has been scraping by on this meager pittance – which amounts to more per month than the average NRA member earns in a year – LaPierre has also been awarding himself certain perks at NRA members’ expense.

Including personal trips on private jets for himself and his family members, luxury accommodations everywhere he goes, lucrative contracts to friends and spouses of NRA executives and former executives, and acceptance of a wide array of gifts and favors from NRA vendors, including repeated use of a fully-staffed, luxury yacht in the Bahamas. not tom mention over three-quarters of a million dollars worth of clothing, and African hunting safaris for him and his wife.

LaPierre admits to these things, and to failing to report most of them to the NRA Audit Committee as potential conflicts of interest, as required by NRA policy and New York law. He also admits to unilaterally granting these same vendors multi-million dollar contracts, with no competitive bidding or consultation with the NRA Board of Directors.

During his testimony in the failed NRA bankruptcy trial – a bankruptcy which LaPierre initiated without consultation with the Board of Directors, in violation of the Association’s Bylaws, and which was thrown out for “bad faith filing” after an investment of millions of dollars of NRA members’ money – and in his official response to a lawsuit filed against him by the Attorney General of New York, LaPierre admitted to the above, and multiple other, breaches of policy, ethics, and state law, any one of which would be ample justification for his immediate removal from office. Yet he refuses to accept responsibility, and a small band of influential NRA Directors continues to shield him from administrative repercussions.

In fact, this cadre of LaPierre loyalists, has guided the Board through the reelection of LaPierre three times since reports of his transgressions first came out in early 2019.

Many of LaPierre’s actions formed the basis of the lawsuit filed against the NRA and four of its current and former officers and executives – including LaPierre – in late 2019. That suit is expected to finally get to the discovery phase this fall, and go to trial at the end of the year. Knowledgeable observers say that’s unlikely to be the end of it though, as the attorney retained by LaPierre to represent the NRA, has a reputation of delaying and delaying, before finally settling, or, if the case does go to trial, appealing the decision, as long as there’s money available to pay his fees (which have been topping $2 million per month!).

The LaPierre apologists argue that this is a fight between the evil New York AG, and the virtuous, pure as the driven snow NRA, but that’s not the case.

While the New York Attorney General is indeed pretty evil, and there’s no doubt that her investigation into the NRA, with her admitted intent to destroy the Association, was absolutely politically motivated, her original motives play no role in what her investigation discovered: deep-seated corruption and abuse of power on the part of LaPierre and others at the top of the NRA hierarchy.

Letitia James vs Wayne LaPierre
Letitia James vs Wayne LaPierre

A good bit of that corruption and abuse has now been confessed to by LaPierre, yet he and his apologists dismiss his bad behavior as “trusting the wrong people” and not realizing that accepting expensive gifts – and giving expensive gifts at NRA expense – was a problem. They argue that, when he learned of an impending investigation by the NY AG, LaPierre initiated a thorough, top-down investigation into NRA’s dealings, cleaning up problems, instituting new policies, and off-loading vendors that wouldn’t go along with retroactive updating of invoices and other questionable bookkeeping requirements.

What they neglect to consider, is how the problems, shortcomings, invoicing issues, and other matters requiring “cleaning up,” got in that condition in the first place.

  • How did it become standard practice for vendors to bill the NRA for millions of dollars, with no details on the invoices?
  • How did it become standard practice for retiring NRA executives to be given consulting contracts worth as much or more than their salaries as employees, with no requirement that they provide any value at all to the Association?
  • How did it become standard practice for former executives to receive severance payments equal to their full annual salary, for years after they quit or were fired?

As a member of the NRA Board of Directors in 2019 when these allegations first became public, Allen West questioned and challenged LaPierre and his supporters, and there was discussion of nominating West for EVP at that time, but there were arguments about “best” picks and “working on reforming the Association from the inside.”

In the end, West, and those who supported him, or otherwise demonstrated any disloyalty toward LaPierre, were purged from the Board.

Former NRA President, and leading LaPierre apologist, David Keene has written an attack piece, deriding LTC. West as a “good orator” who is otherwise totally incompetent. Keene suggests that the objective of those supporting LTC West is more about getting Wayne LaPierre out, than it is about getting the best-qualified person in, and I’ll agree with that last point.

The most important thing that needs to happen at the meetings in Houston, is the removal of Wayne LaPierre. He’s a cancer and stain on the Association, costing millions in lost contributions, and sending politicians running in the opposite direction. Personally, I would support a stuffed weasel for the position over LaPierre.

While I like West, and I believe he’ll do a good job as EVP of the NRA, I’m not sure he’s the absolute best person for the job. I don’t know if there is an absolutely best person for the job, and I’ve been seeking that unicorn for at least a decade. But I am absolutely sure that West is a better person for the job than Wayne LaPierre. And, since the position of Executive Vice President comes up for election in the Board of Directors every year, if it turns out that West is not a good fit, the Board can replace him with someone else next year, if they can find a better candidate.

The thing that every NRA member, and especially every NRA Director, needs to be looking at right now though, is not what good Wayne LaPierre has or has not done in his position as EVP of NRA in the past…

But rather how effective he is right now and is likely to be in the foreseeable future, and how much it is costing the Association – in money, trust, and influence – to keep LaPierre in power.

LaPierre had the opportunity to do the right thing back in April of 2019 when his misdeeds were suddenly splashed across the pages of the New Yorker magazine, and numerous people close to LaPierre advised a quick and as quiet as possible retirement. But instead, LaPierre chose to go with a scorched earth attack on anyone and everyone who expressed anything less than unflinching loyalty to him personally. He accused Olliver North of extortion, accused Chris Cox of mutiny, fired dozens of long-time NRA supporters and outside attorneys, and manipulated the removal of over a dozen Directors, while spending multiple millions of dollars per month of NRA members’ money, on the attorney who he described as “the only one keeping me out of jail.”

It is sad and frustrating that this lunacy has gone on for over three years now, and that it has come down to a test of loyalty, not to the NRA or the Second Amendment, but to Wayne LaPierre personally. LaPierre and his apologists have declared war on anyone who refuses to bow and kiss LaPierre’s ring. They keep paying him over a million-and-a-half dollars per year while paying his attorney over two million per month, and they say that those of us calling for reform are the ones trying to destroy the NRA. It’s pure lunacy.

Tell your NRA Directors to stop the madness and vote for Allen West for EVP. It only takes a simple majority to win.

You can write to any (or all) member(s) of the NRA Board of Directors by snail mail to: (Name of Board member), NRA Office of the Secretary, 11250 Waples Mill Road, Fairfax, VA 22030, or via email by sending to NRABoD@NRAHQ.org. You can also call 703-267-1021 to leave a message for a Director. You must include your name, contact information, and your NRA membership number (it’s printed on the mailing label on your magazine, usually preceded by 3 or 4 zeroes). The names and states of all Directors are printed in the Official Journal of the NRA magazines, usually a page or two from the back cover.

Let them hear from you, and please try to attend the Members’ Meeting in Houston on May 28th,  2022.

May 2022 Hard Corps Report Available Online

Historically, we have reserved our newsletter, The Hard Corps Report, to only our paid subscribers, but this issue covers important NRA news and plans, that are critical for every NRA member to see.
Feel free to share this among your fellow NRA members as we prepare for the NRA Annual Meeting of Members in Houston, Texas, May 28.

March 2022 Hard Corps Report

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Why is Wayne LaPierre Still Controlling the NRA? LTC West as Replacement?

Tombstone, AZ- -(Ammoland.com)- On May 2, 2022, the New York Attorney General’s Office filed its Second Amended Complaint against the National Rifle Association.

Not only the Association but its Chief Executive Officer Wayne LaPierre, Secretary, and General Counsel John Frazer, Former Treasurer and CFO Wilson “Woody” Philips, and Former Deputy CEO Josh Powell.

As with the original complaint and the previous amended complaint, this one is full of very specific, largely verifiable, and utterly damning charges against NRA’s top officers and executives. Many of the previous accusations have been admitted to by some of the various parties, while Woody Phillips has refused to answer most questions, based on his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

It needs to be understood that LaPierre and the others are not named in the suit based on their positions within the NRA, as when someone sues a state and names the Attorney General or the governor as a representative of the state. The four named defendants were named for specific actions each is accused of, and the NRA itself is named for failing to stop them. With that in mind, legal experts said early on that the NRA’s best defense against the suit would be to adopt the following policies:

  • Remove the named defendants from any position of power within the Association – particularly any position that would allow any of them to have any oversight or influence over the Association’s legal strategy in battling the suit.
  • Initiate a thorough internal investigation by a Board-appointed committee with the power to get answers to its questions.
  • Adopt a policy of full cooperation and transparency working with state regulators.
    Institute strict policy and oversight rules to correct and avoid future problems, that would be backed up by consequential enforcement.
  • Plead victim status to the court, declaring that, if the named defendants (or others) abused their positions, then the NRA was the victim, not the perpetrator, and therefore should not be penalized.

A genuine response to the allegations would go a long way toward blunting the very real political motivations involved in the suit. New York Attorney General Letitia James is a highly motivated political actor, and she has not been shy about expressing her animosity toward the NRA, its mission, and its members. The Association should deal cautiously with her office, and request that the judge make sure that this personal and political bias doesn’t taint the case or cause undue injury to the Association.

This animosity on the part of AG James has actually been one of the strongest arguments from defenders and apologists of Wayne LaPierre. They point to James’s hatred of the NRA, and her political ambitions, and conclude that the whole case is just trumped-up lies and political theater.

The problem with that assertion is that LaPierre himself has admitted under oath that most of the charges against him are true.

He admits to billing the NRA for personal travel for himself and his family. He admits to improperly accepting gifts from major vendors, and awarding those same vendors multi-million-dollar contracts with no competitive bidding. He admits to giving multi-million-dollar severance packages to retiring and even fired employees, usually in exchange for them signing a strict nondisclosure agreement about NRA activities.

And he admits to giving contracts to family members and former staffers, often with little or no performance requirement attached. He also admits to doing all of this without clearing it, or even reporting it, through or to, the NRA Board, as required by state law and NRA policy.

His main defense in all of this, is to claim that either, it wasn’t improper, he didn’t know it was improper, and/or he didn’t know what other people were doing. Not a very impressive defense from a CEO who’s being paid in excess of $1.6 million per year.

One is reminded of Bart Simpson’s all-purpose defense: “Nobody saw me! I wasn’t there! You can’t prove a thing!”

So the big question is: Why is Wayne LaPierre still controlling the NRA?

Why would any organization facing existential threats – most of those threats based on accusations of misconduct and dereliction on the part of its chief executive – allow that executive to continue to hold inordinate sway over the organization? And why would any organization facing this kind of turmoil in its executive offices allow that same executive to retain control over the legal strategy of the organization in addressing the charges?

An equally perplexing question, is why the Board has so far not even attempted to rein in its rogue executives?

As noted above, NY AG Letitia James hates the NRA and all it stands for, and she wants to see it destroyed. The judge in the case has already taken dissolution of the Association off the table as a potential punishment, should the AG win her case. Her latest Amended Complaint focuses less on the NRA as a target, and more on the officers and directors – as it should – with the complaint calling for severe financial penalties and restitution payments from the Association’s wayward “leaders.” The complaint calls for the removal of LaPierre and his followers, but only as part of the penalty phase of the trial. That isn’t going to happen until sometime next year.

Meanwhile, LaPierre and company remain in control of the Associations resources, and most importantly, in control of its legal strategy – which amounts to shoveling millions of dollars into the pockets of New York lawyer William Brewer, who was originally hired by LaPierre to head off a threatened lawsuit from the NY AG back in 2018. Obviously Brewer failed in that mission, but he’s been very successful at extracting cash from the Association.

Brewer has reportedly been drawing over $2 million per month, averaging around $30 million per year, for the past 3 years. At the same time, NRA membership numbers have been in a nosedive, fundraising has collapsed, and the Association has cut practically all of its core programs to the bone.

If LaPierre and his enablers were to be removed from power now, the Association might do what they should have done from the beginning: Claim victim status and reorganize, without the crippling payments to the Brewer law firm. With that, they should be able to start recovering membership and see improvements in their fundraising, not to mention begin to recover the trust of its members. But that would not be seen as a good thing by Letitia James. Those steep legal bills, along with the potential of a court-mandated lawsuit against the NRA from the NRA Foundation, if things go as expected in a lawsuit filed by the AG of Washington DC, could totally bankrupt the NRA, and that would be a big win for Letitia James.

I’m not an attorney, but I’ve spoken with knowledgeable attorneys, and they keep coming back to the need for the NRA to distance itself from the accused “leaders,” even if only with temporary furloughs or compartmentalizing them away from certain aspects of the Association, particularly the legal strategy. They have also suggested that the NY AG could – and should – force this action by filing a request for partial summary judgment based on the admissions already submitted by LaPierre and some of his supporters. LaPierre has admitted to a variety of offenses, any one of which would fully justify his removal from office. Other NRA “leaders” have also admitted to various transgressions and failures in their fiduciary duties. With those admissions, it should not be difficult to convince the judge to remove LaPierre and the offending officers on the basis that they are using the NRA’s resources to protect LaPierre and themselves, rather than fulfilling their fiduciary responsibilities to the NRA and its members.

Wayne LaPierre, along with NRA President Charles Cotton, 1st VP Willes Lee, and 2nd VP David Coy, should be the subjects of a motion pointing out that they have all admitted to actions that should disqualify them from participating in the management of the Association, and especially anything to do with setting legal strategy.

If protecting the assets and interests of the Association’s members is of any concern at all to the attorneys in the NY AG’s Office – as the law states are their primary obligation – then they would have such a motion filed within days.

While we would hope that such a motion would be filed and addressed by the court prior to the Members’ Meeting in Houston on May 28, 2022, that seems unlikely, so NRA members must press the attack from different directions. The primary tactic must be to pressure NRA Directors to do what they should have done at least three years ago: Remove Wayne LaPierre. The best opportunity for the Board to take this action will be at the Board meeting on Monday following the Members’ Meeting. At that time, it will only take a simple majority of Directors to elect new leadership.

New NRA Leadership ~ LTC Allen West?

A group of concerned NRA members, including former and current members of the Board of Directors, want to draft former Director, LTC Allen West to run for the Executive Vice President position at the meeting in Houston. West has the support of many and could work with reformers to clean up the NRA and get it back on the right track, and he has a record of integrity and effectiveness.

Along with electing LTC West to the position of Executive Vice President, the Board needs to elect a slate of officers to back West in his reform efforts, and to lead the NRA’s legal strategy going forward. All of this makes it absolutely critical that every NRA Director attend the meetings in Houston, and be prepared to stand up for the membership. It’s equally critical that NRA members attend the Members’ Meeting on Saturday the 28th, 2022, to call out the lies and corruption, and to put some starch into the backs of the Directors. We also have a campaign underway to recruit, nominate, and elect a slate of reform candidates for the Board of Directors in the 2023 election.

Much more information about all of this is posted on our website, www.FirearmsCoalition.org, with both the first and second Amended Complaints, along with the Responses to the first one from LaPierre and the NRA. It’s a lot to digest, but it’s critical reading for anyone concerned about the future of the NRA.

I hope to see you in Houston.

NYS Second Amended Complaint against the National Rifle Association, May 2022

2020 People of the State of NY v NRA & Co May 2022 Amended

Ammunition for the grassroots gun rights movement