The following letter, signed by gun rights leaders from around the country, has been posted into the public domain for use in support of Senators Perdue and Loeffler, in their run-off elections.
We encourage rights advocates to repost this letter widely, especially in places where Georgia voters might see it. If you have connections with anyone in the Perdue or Loeffler campaigns, please forward the letter to them. This is a critical time and these races could be the last hope for protection of the Second Amendment.
For more information about the fight in Georgia and how you can help, please visit https://www.saveussenate.org/
There have been reports of some people getting security warnings trying to reach this site, but it’s not something to be worried about. We’ve talked with the webmaster, and it should be corrected soon.
Here is the letter. Please share it far and wide.
Open Letter to Georgia
Dear Georgia Voter,
We, your undersigned friends from across the USA, endorse and encourage your support for Senators David Purdue and Kelly Loeffler in the special Georgia election scheduled for January 5, 2021.
We are beyond concerned about the vows by anti-gun extremists to gut the Second Amendment and the Right to Keep and Bear Arms if or when the Biden/Harris team is installed in the White House. To preserve the rights we have reserved to ourselves in the Constitution, we must have a solid pro-gun majority in the U.S. Senate. Reelecting Purdue and Loeffler will insure that majority.
Please support Senators Purdue and Loeffler. Please make sure you have a plan to not only vote yourself on January 5th, but to get every sympathetic voter in your orbit to vote too. This is critical. Please reach out to your friends and neighbors about these important two races.
Thank you so much for sharing our concern.
Yours in liberty,
Gary Marbut, President Montana Shooting Sports Association
Kevin Starrett, Executive Director Oregon Firearms Federation
Kevin Jamison, President Western Missouri Shooters Alliance
Kim Stolfer, President Firearms Owners Against Crime, Pennsylvania
Sam Cohen Co-founder, Pro-Gun New Hampshire, Inc.
F. Paul Valone President, Grass Roots North Carolina
CJ Grisham, President, and David Amad, Vice President Open Carry Texas
For 35 years, the GRPC has served as a critical component of the movement, bringing together activists and rights leaders from all over the U.S. and the world, for two days of presentations, reports, networking, note sharing, and camaraderie.
This year, thanks to the complicating factors of COVID-19 and the various restrictions and limitations put in place by governors and county and state health agencies, the organizers of GRPC have decided to shift to a “virtual” format. All of the presentations will be presented online, simultaneously on YouTube, Facebook, and AmmoLand News, with most of the presenters standing by to participate in live chats with attendees during, and after, their presentations.
The event starts this Saturday, September 19, at 10:00 Central Time, and runs through Sunday, September 20 at about 6:00. While the entire event will be archived for later review, I encourage you to try and watch the original broadcast and interact with the speakers.
I am scheduled to give a presentation on Saturday afternoon at 4:44 Central Daylight Time, which is 2:44 Pacific and Arizona time, 3:44 Mountain, and 5:44 Eastern.
Please join us for this unprecedented event, and invite your friends. Join with thousands of fellow Second Amendment supporters across the country who will be tuning in and participating. Also, please consider sharing this article on your social media pages.
You are the Gun Lobby, and the GRPC can provide you with a ton of useful information, connections, ideas, and ammunition to help you be more effective in your local battles.
I hope to see you there.
USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- The NRA has opened up “Preregistration” for the October 24th, 2020, Members’ Meeting in Tucson, starting at NOON on September 15th, Arizona time!
We’re just over a month away from the NRA Annual Meeting, which has been twice moved and rescheduled, and which is now scheduled to take place in Tucson, Arizona on Saturday, October 24, 2020.
The venue for the meeting is a luxury resort hotel on the far north side of the city, with a large ballroom, but limited capacity under COVID restrictions. NRA watchers have been wondering how the Association plans to handle the situation, and on Monday, September 15, 2020, we found out.
We were informed that on Tuesday, September 16, people wishing to attend the Members’ Meeting in Tucson would need to preregister online, by going to www.nraam.org/membersmeeting.
Arizona’s current COVID restrictions are somewhat confusing. Public gatherings are limited to no more than 50 people, but a members-only event should not be considered a “public” gathering, which should mean that the maximum capacity should be approximately half the normal capacity for the venue. That should be approximately 500 people for the hotel ballroom that has been selected, but there are rumors that the limit will be much lower than that. Who knows? It’s also quite possible that the Governor of Arizona will decide to loosen COVID restrictions at some point between now and October 24. Again, who knows?
What matters right now is that everyone who is at all interested in attending the NRA Members’ Meeting in Tucson on October 24, get registered TODAY.
I’ll share any additional information as it becomes available.
Liberty, AZ, USA – It was almost a year ago that I had a conversation with several other concerned NRA members about the curious case of Josh Powell.
It was shortly after the annual Fall Board Meeting in 2019, which had been hastily relocated from Anchorage Alaska to Northern Virginia, and we were speculating on why Powell hadn’t yet been fired. He had driven NRA’s Carry Guard program straight into the ground, costing millions and seriously disrupting the whole Education and Training Division in the process. He had multiple accusations of sexual harassment against him and had either created or had failed to rectify, serious problems within the NRA Competitions Division and among competitive shooters.
The consensus among our little discussion group, was that Powell probably had too much information about too many of the people and activities deep inside the NRA’s inner circle, and he was being kept on the payroll to keep him from sharing any of that information – either with investigators from New York and DC or with reporters and NRA members.
A few months later, Powell was finally fired, and several of us were looking for details on the outrageous severance package that we assumed he must have received to purchase his silence. Barring that, we expected another series of anonymously-sourced articles revealing sordid details of NRA executives behaving badly.
But Powell has surprised most all of us, with the announcement of his new book;
Powell says he rejected a handsome severance package because it included a strict non-disclosure agreement, which he wasn’t willing to sign. I interpret that to mean that LaPierre wasn’t willing to fork over enough to buy Powell’s silence, so he instead either relied on loyalty or the principle of all hanging together to avoid hanging separately. What a significant error. I suspect that Powell probably worked a deal with Letitia James’ office to allow him to publish the book without fear of legal complications, though it could be a simple bet that he thinks he can make more off of the book than he was offered in the severance package. But there’s always the possibility that someone like Bloomberg saw the potential of a resource like Powell, and offered him a quiet advance on a book deal.
Whatever the process, I have to wonder what could possibly come out in the book that isn’t already known? After all, the accusations in the New York suit are based primarily on depositions given to the NY AG’s office by various current and former NRA employees, including Powell. If he includes things in his book that he omitted from his deposition to NY investigators, he’d be opening himself up to charges of perjury or worse. But, as mentioned above, Powell might have cut a deal in advance, and there’s no doubt that he was present for a lot of meetings and events, the details of which will make for interesting reading.
Of course, whatever Powell says in the book will be dismissed by the NRA as merely the sour grapes of a disgruntled, former employee. I recall an NRA spokesperson saying that the organization doesn’t comment on works of fiction, in response to questions raised by unflattering depictions of LaPierre in Richard Feldman’s book “Ricochet: Confessions of a Gun Lobbyist.” There’s also the possibility that we’ll see Powell sued by LaPierre’s attorney, William Brewer, to either suppress the book or at least suck down the profits a bit. That legal action will, of course, be paid for with NRA members’ money.
For those who might not be familiar with Josh Powell, that’s not surprising. Powell appeared on the NRA scene, seemingly out of the blue, just a few years ago. Few people in the industry were familiar with him and virtually no one within the rights movement knew his name. Powell appeared on the NRA Nominating Committee’s slate of candidates for the Board in 2013, for the 2014 election. He was elected as one of the establishment candidates, but not long thereafter, he was offered a job in Headquarters as LaPierre’s right-hand man. Then, a couple of years later, in 2017, LaPierre fired the Executive Director of General Operations, Kyle Weaver. Weaver had worked his way up through the ranks of the NRA, as a dedicated, hard-working, true believer, and had begun to be mentioned as a possible successor to Wayne. Then suddenly, he was gone and Powell was being touted as the heir apparent. The only explanation LaPierre offered to Board members who asked about Weaver’s sudden departure, was that he couldn’t talk about it yet, but that it “had to be done,” and he’d disclose everything soon.
Soon never came, and to my knowledge, no explanation has ever been given as to why Weaver, the number two man in the entire NRA operation, had been summarily fired. What we do know is that Weaver appears to have continued receiving his full, $720,000 annual compensation for at least two years after leaving NRA. He now serves as Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
Weaver was initially replaced by then-Deputy Director of General Operations, Joe DeBergalis, who was also recruited from the Board of Directors. He appears to have been paid $368,000 as Deputy Director, then $461,000 as Acting Director of General Operations, until he was replaced by LaPierre’s Chief of Staff, Josh Powell, who was already pulling down over $711,000. That jumped to about $920,000 after Powell took over General Operations.
Powell appears to be one of those guys with a reverse-Midas touch, as in everything he touches turns into something exactly the opposite of gold. He started in the outdoors industry in the catalog business, selling high-end “safari” and “expedition” clothing. He appears to have tried that in a couple of different iterations, all of which failed, leaving a trail of lawsuits and bankruptcies in his wake. At NRA, Powell took charge of the new NRA Carry Guard program, immediately stepping in excrement when he barred the US Concealed Carry Association and other groups that offered concealed carry insurance, from exhibiting at the NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits. That created quite a brouhaha and was widely seen as petty and vindictive.
Things went downhill from there, with New York, then Washington State and then several other states, throwing penalty flags on Carry Guard and the sales and marketing practices being employed by NRA and its contractors. This led to a variety of fines, penalties, and lawsuits, costing NRA tens of millions of dollars. New York led the charge, but overplayed their hand, threatening any business that did business with the NRA. Their heavy-handed tactics were so egregious that even the ACLU came to NRA’s defense. This led to NRA suing New York and its governor, Andrew Cuomo. That suit is ongoing and has been ridiculously expensive for the Association.
Powell was never well-liked by NRA staffers or the Board of Directors. While he was often mentioned as being groomed to take the EVP position if Wayne decided to retire, several Directors told me in no uncertain terms that they would never allow that to happen. The only people Powell actually seemed to get along with were Wayne, his new attorney, Bill Brewer, and former NRA President Pete Brownell.
The revelations in Powell’s book could be interesting, after all, he was very close to LaPierre during a pivotal and contentious time, so there’s really no telling what sort of information he might have been privy to, but it seems unlikely that there would be a large enough market for the book to make it worth walking away from, what was probably better than a million-dollar severance package.
I’m hoping to procure an advance copy of the book, and I’ll let you know what I find.
New York Attorney General Letitia James declared her intention to tear down the NRA years ago, even before her election as AG, and she’s finally making good on the threat. The AG’s office filed suit against the Association, claiming that executives and leaders in the NRA had grossly abused their positions, and misappropriated some $64 million dollars from NRA funds. Her remedy for the corruption and malfeasance is to dissolve the Association and dole out its assets among other charitable organizations within the state of New York.
While there is no doubt that the investigation into the NRA and the suit are politically motivated and intended to damage the gun rights movement as well as Donald Trump’s reelection bid, the brutal truth is that the suit has merit. The NRA leadership has been corrupt and complicit in corruption for at least 20 years.
In response to the suit, the NRA immediately filed a counter-suit against the state of New York for using the power of the state to squelch the Association’s First Amendment rights.
In a letter to NRA Board Members, NRA CEO and Executive Vice President, Wayne LaPierre declared his intention to fight the attack to the bitter end, and I have no doubt that he will absolutely do so, right down to the last penny in NRA’s treasury.
I have a problem with that, and so should you, if you’re an NRA member. The lawsuit against the NRA stems from improper use of funds on the part of LaPierre and his executive staff. Most of the allegations against LaPierre and company have never been adequately addressed, or even denied. Instead, excuses and counter-charges have been offered up, most of them blaming the messenger. The bulk of LaPierre’s dirty laundry was exposed in an article by reporter Mike Spies, who was working for Bloomberg’s anti-rights “newsroom” entity “The Trace.” Spies was given an assignment to flesh-out some rumors and see what kind of dirt he could dig up on the NRA and its leaders. It turned out that there was a lot of dirt available not far below the surface, and there were a number of NRA employees and former employees ready to share what they knew about the shady dealings of NRA’s top executives.
Spies is a good investigative reporter. His story has details of bloated contracts, cronyism, nepotism, self-dealing, and other chicanery, with documentation and corroboration from multiple sources. Like the lawsuit from New York, the motivation for digging into NRA’s financial affairs was unquestionably political, but the results aren’t based on the motivations of the person doing the digging. As always, I wear my own bias on my sleeve, encouraging readers to recognize that, in spite of my efforts to be fair and accurate, my family’s long and tumultuous history with the NRA could be tainting my reporting, so I encourage people to always explore multiple sources. The NRA brass led with their chins. AG James has obliged them with what could be a knockout blow.
Despite the merit of Letitia James’ lawsuit, her remedy – dissolution of the Association – is nothing short of ludicrous. Her obligation and responsibility is to protect the owners of the organization’s assets. In this case, that means protecting the NRA members who fund the organization. Removing top executives, LaPierre in particular, would be reasonable and justifiable, as would removing the entire Board of Directors and possibly restructuring the leadership. Anything beyond that would be punishing the victims – NRA members.
But that’s exactly what James and Cuomo want to do.
That is because at its heart, this is all about their disagreement with the political positions of the NRA, and not at all about protecting the Association or its members.
The NRA could make a very sound argument to that effect, and probably resolve this whole mess in a matter of days, rather than the long years that I expect this to actually last. If the NRA actually had leaders who cared about the members, leaders who were looking out for their best interests, everyone with even a hint of scandal would have already been removed from their positions, and a series of reforms and protections would have been put into place to ensure that the Association could move forward without repeating the mistakes of the past. The guilty parties who were getting rich off of the largess of NRA members, might even be brought up on criminal charges, and sued to recover some of what they improperly took.
Over a year ago, I said the NRA Board of Directors had two choices in the face of the revelations of malfeasance at the top of the organization:
They could remove the miscreants and fix the problems, admitting any wrongdoing, and facing whatever uncomfortable music might come along with that admission, or
They could circle the wagons around Wayne LaPierre and keep circling right down the toilet.
That same choice is presenting itself once again, but this time the stakes are even higher and the crowd is watching. The Board of Directors will soon have a convenient opportunity to replace Wayne LaPierre with a simple majority vote. If they take that opportunity, and follow-up with other reforms and course corrections, they could be in a reasonable position to walk into court and convince a judge to dismiss the suit against the Association with minimal damage.
Not taking that opportunity will mean years of continuing legal wrangling with the authorities in New York, costing the Association millions of dollars every month in direct expenses, and costing them millions more in lost revenue because so many people see LaPierre as a problem and refuse to support the organizations as long as he remains in office. It also means foregoing any chance of recovering any of the tens of millions of dollars that were improperly sucked out of NRA’s coffers over the years by LaPierre and his cronies.
The NRA has canceled, rescheduled, and canceled again their Annual Meeting of Members. They are now saying that they will hold the meeting on October 24th in Tucson, Arizona, the same day that the Second Amendment Rally is scheduled in Washington DC. If this date holds, I hope thousands of NRA members from around the country will make it a point to attend and demand that the Board of Directors take meaningful action to stop the lunacy and put the NRA back on track again.
If Letitia James and Andrew Cuomo get their way, the NRA will spend the next several years spending every dime they can raise on various lawsuits and complaints, rather than fighting for the rights of their members, and in the end, whatever remains will be confiscated and distributed to other causes that James and Cuomo consider “worthy.” While they might not be able to legally dissolve the Association, they most certainly are able to capture its focus and spending to keep it from effectively accomplishing its core missions, and wasting its money on worthless causes.
The NRA is more important than any one person or small group of people. It is stupid and corrupt for the Board of Directors to allow Wayne LaPierre and John Frazer, who are both cited for their roles in the misdeeds the NY lawsuit is based on, to select and supervise the attorneys responsible for defending the NRA in court. At a minimum, the Board of Directors should hire independent counsel with explicit instructions to defend the Association, not any officers, or employees. LaPierre, Frazer, and any other NRA officers, employees, or contractors, should not even have a hint of control or management of those attorneys or their conduct of the case.
As things stand, the NRA attorneys were hired and are controlled by Wayne LaPierre, and it is clear that they are treating LaPierre as their primary client, protecting him over the NRA membership, and sucking millions of dollars a month from member assets, in the process.
Liberty, AZ USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- Hello AmmoLand have you missed me? Regular readers of my columns might have noticed that I haven’t posted anything in a while. Subscribers to our newsletter have also started contacting me wondering why they haven’t received a Hard Corps Report since March 2020. It’s not that I’ve given up on The Firearms Coalition and my writing career, it’s that I’ve been busy trying to save the Republic, and now I’m calling on you to do your part.
It’s Primary Election season here in Arizona, and when election season rolls around, I get turned upside-down trying to get the best possible candidates qualified for election to local, state, and federal offices. I work with one of the top, conservative campaign consultants in the state, finding quality candidates, vetting them, helping them organize, generating ad copy, finding and wrangling volunteers (there are never enough), and generating endless streams of mailing, walking, and calling lists to help with voter contact.
No doubt you and your friends and family are sick and tired of all of the postcards, letters, phone calls, and unsolicited text messages you’ve been receiving from candidates and third-party advocacy groups. Then there are the incessant ads on the radio, TV, newspapers, and all over the internet, not to mention strangers knocking on your door and leaving “literature” on your doorstep.
It can be a nuisance, but it’s the only way to get the electorate’s (your) attention and sway their (your) vote.
Perhaps you’re that rare exception, a voter who seeks out information about the candidates, studies their voting records, attends Town Hall meetings, and goes into the voting booth with a clear understanding of who you intend to vote for and why. If that’s you, I sincerely apologize for my role in filling your mailbox and interrupting your dinner. But the sad fact is, the vast majority of Americans pay almost no attention at all to politics and elections. I would venture to bet that most of them can’t even name the Vice President.
Let’s take a little test. Run down in your head the various offices that will be on your ballot in November, and see how many incumbents and candidates you can name off the top of your head. President and Vice President, your Representative, your two Senators. Okay, how about your State Representatives and State Senator (or whatever they’re called where you live)? Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer? County Commissioner, Mayor, City Council Member? What about Judges, your Justice of the Peace, Constable, County Assessor, School Board members?
I’m a political junkie, a Precinct Committeeman, and activist, but when I take this test, even I find gaps in my knowledge, especially when it comes to new candidates seeking to fill those positions. It’s a lot to try and keep track of, and party affiliation isn’t always reliable or even available. In many places, City Council and some other positions are “non-partisan.” Well, they’re officially “non-partisan,” but the reality is that there is almost always party involvement behind the scenes. And don’t forget Mike Bloomberg, who, when he couldn’t secure the Democratic nomination for Mayor of New York, changed from Democrat to Republican to buy that office, then switched to Independent, and finally switched back to Democrat when he tried to purchase the Presidency. He’s an extreme example, but it just shows that the D or R labels aren’t always reliable.
All of that said, this year, voters have a simpler choice than they’ve had in decades. Either you blindly believe that “orange-man-bad” and he must be stopped at any cost even the destruction of our republic, so you vote D. Or you believe that Marxists have taken over the Democratic Party and they must lose in a landslide to save our history and our children’s future, so you vote R.
Personally, I’m in the second camp. As a life-long Republican, I have been sorely disappointed with my party over the years, and I am completely disgusted with their lack of fiscal responsibility. I have never been a fan of Donald Trump. I don’t like a lot that he says or how he says it, and I don’t always agree with what he does. But I’m going to vote for him, and every other candidate on the ballot with an “R” after their name, because that’s the only way to block the absolutely insane Democrats and the destruction their being in charge would bring.
Besides, while there is a lot I don’t like about Donald Trump, there is a lot that Trump and Republicans in Congress have gotten right. Before the new corona virus drove everyone crazy, the country was on a positive roll, with the economy booming, unemployment dropping, and the future looking bright.
Meanwhile, since the election of President Trump, Democrats have completely lost their minds, and they’ve kept going downhill from there.
They started with the empty “Russian collusion” investigation, the atrocious assault on Judge Kavanaugh (based on one muddy, totally unsubstantiated accusation from his teens), the impeachment, which uncovered far more dirt on Joe and Hunter Biden than on Donald Trump, and the ongoing casting of blame regarding the corona virus. This year we’ve also seen the ridiculous pandering by Democratic leaders to Marxist revolutionaries, endless “lock-downs,” and absolutely insane policy proposals – from defunding the police, to raising taxes by thousands of dollars per person, to supporting and empowering rioting, looting, and assaults on federal property and officers – all while pushing draconian gun control laws at every opportunity.
As I see it, the Democratic party has driven off a cliff like Thelma and Louise. If Donald Trump and Republicans prevail in November, I believe we will have four more years in which to try and save the country. If not, the nation will look more and more like Portland and Seattle, with endless demands for the dismantling of our civilization and the end of our Republic.
So to me, the choice is clear, but maybe you see things differently. After all, Trump did ban bump-stocks (with encouragement from the NRA), and he did express support for “red flag” laws (before he backtracked and opposed them). As a consequence, you may refuse to give him or his party your vote.
Okay, but understand that the result will be Joe Biden (or whoever the Democrats come up with to replace him) and the lunacy of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.
Or maybe you believe capitalism is bad and it’s time for the U.S. to give Marxism a shot. Hey, it’s never worked anywhere else that it’s been tried, but the U.S. is exceptional… Wait… I believe it’s racist (or something negative-ist) to say that now, according to you Marxists, so, since the U.S. is not exceptional, where do you get the idea that Americans could do Marxism better than everyone else who has tried it and ended up with poverty and bodies stacked like cordwood?
Or maybe you’re one of these people who is sure that things have gone too far and there’s no way out besides a real live revolution. Maybe you’re right, but are you willing to bet your children’s future on it and going to refuse to even try to avoid such a calamity by at least turning out to vote?
Regardless of what you believe about Republicans, Democrats, Marxists, or the boogaloo, this is the most important election of our lives. It’s going to happen with or without you, and you’re going to have to live with the results. Therefore I believe it is incumbent on all of us to do everything we can to make the results in November what we hope for them to be.
If you aren’t registered to vote, you still have time to fix that. There is no down-side to being registered to vote, except you might get a little more junk mail. If you think avoiding junk mail is worth surrendering your liberty, I have nothing more to say to you.
If you are registered, get active. If you’re a Democrat, but not a Marxist, your party desperately needs you to help stop the Marxist takeover. If you’re a Libertarian, stop pissing in the wind and put your effort into actually winning elections or shifting the Republicans or the Democrats toward your views. If you’re a conservative Republican, dispense with the purity tests and work to get Republicans elected. If you’re a “moderate” Republican, stop saying and doing things that help to elect Democrats. You can all go back to arguing about RINOs and spending and social issues after the current, clear, and present danger to the Republic is blocked.
As I mentioned, I’m not just preaching, I’m practicing what I preach. I’m a Committeeman and Precinct Captain, and I’m actively working for solid, conservative candidates. As the election gets closer, I’ll be making phone calls, knocking on doors, writing letters to the editor, and doing everything in my power to get Republicans elected – even the Republicans that I don’t think are Republican enough – because it’s the only way to stop the Democrats, and I believe the Republic depends on it.
My articles and the newsletter are my primary means of support. While I get paid for some of my political consulting work, it doesn’t begin to make up for what it costs me to be letting my writing fall behind. If I don’t write, The Firearms Coalition doesn’t make money, and if it doesn’t make money, I don’t get paid. Simple as that. I’m hoping to get a newsletter out during the brief lull between the primaries and the general, but that might not be possible, so don’t be surprised if one doesn’t arrive, and maybe consider throwing a couple of bucks my way to help keep me afloat until I can focus more on gun rights and making a living, rather than promoting politicians.
The U.S. isn’t perfect, but it’s worth preserving and protecting. I believed that when I took my oath joining the Army in 1978, and I stand by that oath today. I hope you’ll stand with me and do your part to elect quality people and save the Republic. Get involved in party politics, call a candidate’s campaign and volunteer, share information on social media, and make sure that you are knowledgeable about the candidates and the issues.
The Republic is depending on you. Don’t let it down.
USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- We’ve all heard, and probably used or argued against various analogies about regulating guns like we regulate cars, or comparing the ID requirements for buying a gun to the ID requirements for voting. Still, maybe it’s time to take these analogies out of the hypothetical realm of the debate platform, and into the real world of legislation.
What if pro-rights politicians were to craft legislation that echoed gun control laws, but was applied to such things as voting, purchasing an automobile, publishing a newspaper, and obtaining abortion services?
This line of thinking started with a recent dissent written by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas after the Court refused to hear ten different Second Amendment appeals on the same day. The cases had been pending before the Court for months. It was widely expected that they would take up at least one of them, since they haven’t addressed a Second Amendment case in a decade, and the lower courts have been openly butchering the last two Second Amendment cases they did hear, particularly the Heller decision. These current cases addressed issues such as New Jersey’s tight restrictions on the issuance of concealed carry permits, and several states’ restrictions on so-called “assault weapons” and “high-capacity” magazines.
The Supremes have kept silent, even in the face of such blatant distortion as lower court judges claiming that a minor comment in the Heller decision, comparing restrictions on military firearms like the select-fire M16 to civilian firearms like the semi-auto AR-15, means exactly the opposite of what Justice Antonin Scalia obviously intended in that landmark decision.
This court is supposed to be the most conservative Court since Reconstruction. Yet, they can’t muster four votes to agree to hear one of these cases, all of which directly impact on an enumerated, constitutional right.
Court watchers across the political spectrum agree that the main hitch in the Court’s get-along is Chief Justice John Roberts. Roberts, who was part of the majority in both the Heller and McDonald decisions, seemed reluctant to go along with those decisions unless they were written extremely narrowly and provided outs for legislators and judges in their efforts to restrict some guns in some places. Having replaced Justice Kennedy as the wavering swing vote, it could well be that the four “liberal” justices, and the four justices of the “conservative wing” have reached the same conclusion: they are all uncertain how he would vote on any of the recent cases, so they chose not to take any chances.
Saving our Second amendment from a ruling that could gut the human right for America.
A 4/4/1-wild-card Court Spilt?
Regular readers of my work will recall that I have said for years that the Court is not split cleanly with 5 “conservatives” and 4 “liberals,” especially on Second Amendment issues. While there are definitely four justices solidly in the “liberal” camp and almost always unified in their decisions, the “conservative” side has always been fractured. Initially, it was a 4/3/2 split, but now, with the addition of Kavanaugh, the split has shifted to more of a 4/4/1, with Roberts being the big wildcard.
The good news is that by refusing to hear any of the pending cases, there’s no chance of SCOTUS coming out with a bad Second Amendment decision right before the November elections. A decision that hurt gun rights would almost certainly have led to a backlash against President Trump and Republicans at the polls. As it is, some are calling for GunVoters to shift their votes to Libertarian candidates, but that would be equivalent to demanding jobs by burning down businesses. The only hope of getting a reliable Court to hear and favorably resolve Second Amendment cases, is to reelect President Trump and make sure he has a strong Republican majority in the Senate to confirm his judicial nominees. Trump’s brash statements, and especially his Twitter habit, can be off-putting, but what he does is far more important than what he tweets. His pattern is the precise opposite of the typical political animal, in other words, productive and to the benefit of the American people.
If GunVoters fail to turn out in strong support of Republicans – even the weak-kneed Republicans like Arizona’s Martha McSally, we’ll end up with Chuck Schumer running the Senate and anti-rights zealots like Mark Kelly (Mr. Gabby Giffords) backing him up. We absolutely can’t take that chance. Every GunVoter must be active and engaged leading into November, and they must bring along as many votes as possible to deny the Democrats any majority at any level. Maybe at some point in the future, we’ll be able to support pro-gun Democrats and Libertarians, but right now, the stakes are too high, and the Democrats have made their intentions clear.
When the justices refused all ten gun cases, Justice Thomas wrote the scathing dissent that raised some of the comparisons mentioned above. He asked if the Court would sit idly by if a state were requiring citizens to show a “compelling need” and get a permit before exercising their rights of free speech.
He then went on to suggest that “it seems highly unlikely that the Court would allow a State to enforce a law requiring a woman to provide a justifiable need before seeking an abortion.”
Well, then let’s put this theory to the test. Rather than just making these comparisons as rhetorical arguments, lets put them forward as legislative proposals, using gun control laws as the constitutional precedent to support them. Let’s propose and debate – and possibly even pass – actual legislation that would require that buying cars, voting, aborting a baby, publishing a newspaper, publicly protesting, etc., meet the same types of restrictions and requirements commonly applied to purchasing, possessing, and bearing arms.
Would legislators in Alabama, Oklahoma, and Texas support legislation requiring that a person seeking an abortion must demonstrate a “justifiable need,” like those seeking to carry in New Jersey and Maryland? And, of course, the determination of what constitutes “justifiable need” would be at the discretion of an un-elected bureaucrat. Lawmakers could cite the New Jersey and Maryland laws, and supporting court decisions, as evidence that the proposals are constitutional.
Or how about a law requiring prospective voters to submit personal identifying information, including a state or federally issued ID and submit to a full background check every time they go to the polls? Of course, every voter would have to go through the whole process each time they wished to vote, regardless of how many times they’ve voted n the past or even if election officials recognized them from previous elections or knew them personally.
Voter eligibility status can easily change, so better to “instant check” every time, like they do with gun purchasers, we need to be safe… right?
Instead of just talking about “what if other rights were as restricted as the right to arms,” let’s put those proposals on the table with legislative proposals, and let’s support those proposals with comparisons to existing gun laws and citations of current court precedents.
If it can’t be justified for voting, getting an abortion, buying a car, or publishing a newspaper, how can it be justified for the one right of the people that specifically states that it “shall not be infringed?”
USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- After the unconscionable treatment of George Floyd in police custody, righteous outrage led to angry protests, which too often became violent riots. As the MSM told us they were all peaceful protests in many cases putative “protests” were simply cover for rampaging looting, arson, and vandalism.
Meanwhile, Democrat mayors and governors ordered police in many jurisdictions to take a “hands-off” approach, supposedly to allow the protesters to “burn off” their anger and frustration on innocent citizens’ private property, without police intervention escalating the situation. Time and again television and social media showed police standing by as violent “protesters” (often led by white, middle-class Antifa punks) broke windows, torched buildings, and ransacked stores. In one videoed incident, a large contingent of heavily armed police showed up at a store being looted, and viewers watched as the looters, with their arms full of other people’s stuff, poured out of the store, running directly through the ranks of police, who made no effort to even slow them down, much less take them into custody.
It has become clear that in places where police have taken a “hands-off” position, the violence and criminal behavior escalated, while jurisdictions that met force with force and attempted to at least contain violent protesters, vandals, and looters, there was less violence and less destruction of residents property. Those locales returned to something closer to business-as-usual fairly quickly, while the “hands-off” jurisdictions were still putting-out burned city-long block-fires and experiencing eruptions of violence and criminality two weeks later.
As the protests sputtered out in some places and dug in elsewhere, organizers and activists were faced with a serious question for which they originally had no answer: “What do you want?”
In the case of George Floyd, the officers involved in his detention and death had been fired from the Minneapolis Police Department within days of the tragedy, and the officer who had spent some 9 minutes taking a knee on the back of Floyd’s neck, was arrested on a murder charge. And this all happened before the first large gathering of protesters. Soon the charge against the former policeman was elevated from 3rd-degree murder to 2nd-degree murder, and the other 3 officers present during the incident were also arrested and charged with aiding and abetting murder.
The wisdom of those charges being escalated will almost certainly be a point of argument for legal scholars for decades to come, since “over-charging” those involved could ultimately lead to an acquittal, but the point is, the only real demands from protesters were “Justice for George Floyd” and “Stop police violence against African Americans.” With the officers involved losing their jobs and being arrested for murder and accessories to murder, the wheels of justice for Mr. Floyd seemed to be rolling in the right direction. As to stopping police violence against African Americans, that’s a pretty broad demand, that, unfortunately, overshadows a related and much larger issue: African American violence against African Americans.
Even so, the overwhelming disgust of virtually everyone, over the treatment of George Floyd, was already generating a broad public outcry, leading to reviews of police “use of force” policies and plans for additional training in departments around the country.
Americans and our elected servants were taking the deaths of George Floyd and other Americans, such as Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, seriously even before the protests started. So after more than a week of marching and sporadic rioting, the protesters seemed to be running short of objectives. Then a new chant started making the rounds: “Defund the police!”
Defund the Police!
Soon the chant morphed into signs and in Minneapolis, where this all started, blackface masks with “DEFUND POLICE” emblazoned across them in bright yellow, appeared on the scene. The Democratic mayor of Minneapolis went to one of the protests to grovel and apologize for being white and having privilege, but when he wouldn’t go so far as to support the total abolition of the Minneapolis Police Department, he was booed and shamed from the area.
Now various politicians and media elites are making excuses or expressing support for some version of defunding the police. Most are qualifying the idea as more a shift of some resources from the police to social services, but that doesn’t seem to be jibing with the demands of the protesters.
Meanwhile, several other dynamics are playing out. The same Democratic politicians who are expressing the strongest support for the idea of defunding the police, are also among the strongest supporters of draconian gun control proposals. And, of course, the case of Ahmad Aubrey, who was shot and killed by a group of white men who suspected him of criminal activity, has also brought renewed attention to “vigilante” activity, so opposition to vigilantism was added to the protesters’ demands.
At the same time, Antifa backed protesters in Seattle have “occupied” several blocks of the city and declared it the CHAZ, for Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (now renamed CHOP – the Capitol Hill Organized (or Occupied) Protest). They’ve put up walls and posted armed guards to control their borders, and have bands of armed people policing-uhm- patrolling the streets to maintain order and make sure that no one is violating any of their new laws. There isn’t any official “government,” per se, but a rapper called Raz seems to have declared himself to be an authority figure reinventing Government services including fire protections within the CHAZ or CHOP. Then having his followers protect the property of people supportive of the cause, and threatening violence if people don’t obey.
Behind the scenes, a Seattle City Councilwoman appears to have been one of the primary instigators of the creation of the CHAZ, and she seems to still be pulling a lot of the strings within the Zone. Other protesters in other cities have been attempting to create their own “autonomous zones,” but as of this writing, only the CHAZ has been “successful.”
All of this boils down to the question of how to move forward from here?
Virtually everyone in the country agreed that what happened to George Floyd was barbaric and inexcusable, but a politically motivated prosecutor upgrading the charges to a level that will be harder to gain convictions, could result in acquittals, and a new round of rioting. Protesters are making demands that can’t possibly be met, so they can never be satisfied. The core protest leaders are avowed Marxist Communists who openly call for the abolition of the United States and private property. The Democratic Party and its leaders are pandering to these Communists in the most embarrassing ways, while simultaneously calling for bans on “assault weapons,” “high-capacity” magazines, private transfers, and all sorts of other restrictions on the private possession of firearms, all while expressing support for defunding the police, and calling for open borders…
So who’s going to go collect the “assault weapons” from the deplorables in the heartland when the police are defunded?
It’s starting to seem like maybe these folks – from the protesters in the streets to the politicians in their gated communities – haven’t really thought all of this through.
USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- A letter sent out on NRA Whittington Center letterhead, indicates that, as I had predicted, the NRA Annual Meeting of Members will indeed be held in conjunction with the regularly scheduled, September Board of Directors meeting. What is unexpected is the location discussed in the letter – Springfield, Missouri.
The Whittington Center is a beautiful range facility NRA built in New Mexico. The letter, dated May 28, 2020, told recipients that the NRA Annual Meeting, which had been put off due to COVID-19, has been scheduled for September 5. 2020, in Springfield, MO, with a Board of Directors meeting on the following Monday, the 7th, which happens to be Labor Day.
The main purpose of the letter was to explain that a previously scheduled event for the Whittington Center, is going to be rescheduled for early October, due to its original date conflicting with the new date for the NRA Annual Meeting.
No official announcements about the new meeting plans have come out of NRA HQ so far. There is nothing about the meetings on the NRA website and there has been nothing in the Official Journal, so consider this information a very solid rumor, rather than a confirmed fact.
Under the NRA Charter and Bylaws, a Members’ Meeting must be held every year before November 30. 2020.
There are also requirements regarding proper notice. Under the Bylaws, notice of the Members’ Meeting must be published in the Official Journal (the NRA business section inside each of the NRA’s magazines) in two consecutive editions prior to the meeting date. Since the lead time for the magazines is usually about 2 months, and the magazine dated for the next month usually comes out early in the month prior, that leaves NRA with few options for making the required announcements. This being the beginning of June, the July edition of the magazine would normally be hitting members’ mail boxes any day now. But it looks like some, and maybe all of the NRA magazines are combining July and August editions, with magazines going out in the third week of June. That narrows NRA’s window even more. If an official announcement about the meeting is not included in a regular July edition, then NRA could be in breach of their obligation under the bylaws if they don’t have announcements in the August and September issues. That would be cutting things mighty thin, and might not meet the legal requirement. We’ll find out soon.
In the meantime, I sent the following note to NRA Secretary and General Counsel John Frazer on Tuesday, June 2:
I’m sending this as an open letter and plan to publish it, along with your reply, if one is forthcoming in a timely fashion.
I saw the Whittington Center letter stating that the Annual Meeting of Members will be held in Springfield, MO on September 5, with a Board meeting following on the 7th. Can you confirm that this information is correct?
If this information is correct, can you provide some more detail? For instance the venue, times, and information about any concurrent events? I’d also be interested in any information you could provide me regarding the rationale for this choice of locations, as opposed to holding the meetings in Northern Virginia, close to NRA HQ and the support staff, and whether this choice originated with the Board or with staff, but I don’t want to bog you down with too many questions, so please share whatever you are able to.
I assume that more information will be forthcoming in the July or August edition of the Official Journal, but I would think that getting accurate information out to members as early as possible, would be in the best interest of the Association and its members. I look forward to hearing from you.
In Liberty, Jeff
I did get a quick reply back from Secretary Frazer asking me when I was hoping to publish. I responded that I wanted to go to press within a day or two, but have not heard anything since then. I held back publishing this article in hopes of a reply, but can’t wait any longer. If I do hear back from the NRA, I will add a note to this piece.
A friend checked with the Springfield, MO convention and visitors bureau and was told that no deal has been signed with the NRA yet, just a proposal. I also checked with some members of the NRA Board of Directors and they had no knowledge of the meeting being even tentatively scheduled.
It should be noted that the Bylaws stipulate that the Annual Meeting of Members shall be held “at such time and place as determined by the Board of Directors.” If I’m informing Directors of plans for a meeting in Springfield, MO, it’s a pretty safe bet those Directors didn’t participate in the decision to hold the meeting there. Just one more example of the Board allowing staff to lead them, rather than the other way around.
It’s also worth noting that the NRA has taken over the Shooting Illustrated Concealed Carry Expo, which happens to be being held in Dallas over the same weekend that they’re talking about holding the Members’ Meeting in Missouri. Seems like they’d get a better turnout and be able to do more special, fundraising side-events in conjunction with the Dallas event. Didn’t I read somewhere that money is an issue at NRA these days?
The news might change in a few days, but for now, I’ve started shopping for airline tickets and accommodations in Springfield, and I hope many of you will do the same. Just don’t do the non-refundable kind. While the members at an NRA Annual Meeting wield little direct power, we do potentially have enough power to influence the Board to take needed action. If possible, plan to be there for the Members’ Meeting on Saturday and stay through the Monday Board meeting. The Board is supposed to represent the members and the staff is supposed to follow the instructions of the Board. It’s past time for that mode to be put back in place. Get some friends together and plan a road trip, whether to Springfield, Dallas, or DC. Share travel and room costs. Participate in trying to save our Association.
USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- Here we go again. Another innocent killed by police serving a “No-Knock” warrant in the middle of the night, and another person arrested for shooting at unidentified, un-uniformed, home invaders.
This time it happened in Louisville, Kentucky. Although it is only now attracting national attention, the tragedy took place back on March 12, when 26-year old Breonna Taylor was shot 8 times by 3 plain-clothes police officers who had just kicked in her front door. Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, says he believed the intruders were home-invaders and he fired one shot as the attackers came through the door.
Walker was arrested and indicted on charges of Attempted Murder of a Police Officer. At last report, those charges have been dropped pending the outcome of investigations by the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office and the FBI. If those investigations don’t come out with favorable findings for Walker, he could find himself before another grand jury facing the same or revised charges.
By twisted coincidence, the police raid on the home of Breonna Taylor occurred less than 24 hours after a similar “No-Knock” raid in suburban Maryland where 21-year-old Duncan Lemp was killed and his pregnant girlfriend wounded. As in the Kentucky raid, the stories of the police involved and the witnesses present, don’t agree. Montgomery County, Maryland Police say their officers announced themselves and that the victim/suspect refused to follow police commands before being shot.
Lemp’s girlfriend says police began firing through a bedroom window while she and Lemp were asleep in bed!
That raid was based on an “anonymous tip” that Lemp was in illegal possession of firearms. Lemp had a juvenile record that stipulated that he was not to purchase or possess firearms in Maryland until he had attained the age of 30. Three rifles and two handguns were found in the home that Lemp shared with his parents and younger brother.
Police statements regarding the raid seem to be carefully worded to allow somewhat flexible interpretations, not unlike Bill Clinton’s statements about what “is” means. For instance, police have said that Lemp refused to obey police commands and that upon entry into the bedroom, a rifle was “recovered,” but they don’t actually say that Lemp was threatening officers with the rifle, or that he was even holding it, just that it was in the same room. These ambiguous statements, and the claims of Lemp’s family, have prompted the family’s attorneys to call for the release of the body-cam videos from the officers involved in the raid. So far, Montgomery County, MD police have refused to release any video of the incident.
That refusal to release video has come under additional fire recently, after another officer-involved shooting by the same department resulted in the release of the body-cam video within 24 hours. Skeptics suggest that the reason that video was released, was because it strongly supported the officer’s contention that he had no choice but to fire in that situation. Could it be that video from the Lemp assault is being withheld because it doesn’t support officers’ claims? Are we next going to be told that none of the officers involved were wearing body cameras, or that those that were, either forgot to turn them on or had some technical issue that caused them not to work, as happened in the Erik Scott case in Las Vegas in 2010?
Back in Kentucky
Police in Kentucky say that there was no video of the assault on Breonna Taylor’s apartment, and that’s believable, though inexcusable. In that case, there were only 3 officers involved in the raid, all in plainclothes. Of course, that raises all sorts of other questions, such as why there were only 3 officers involved, why all were out of uniform, and why there isn’t some policy requiring that cameras be used during any warrant service where there’s time and opportunity to do so?
That’s just one suggestion for policies and regulations that states could implement to reduce the problems associated with “dynamic entries” and other aggressive SWAT tactics used by police:
Require that the warrant service be recorded from beginning to end, preferably with a body-cam on every participant.
Another reform intended to reduce these problems, is a law that requires police agencies to submit biannual reports on the use and activities of their SWAT teams, including reporting when, where, why, and how these officers and tactics are deployed, along with data on suspects apprehended, evidence acquired, and any injuries or serious property damage sustained in the process.
This law was pushed through the Maryland Legislature back in 2009 by the former Mayor of Berwin Heights, a suburb of Washington, DC. The mayor’s arguments for the law were especially compelling since, a few years earlier, he and his mother-in-law had been held at gunpoint, handcuffed face-down on his kitchen floor, in a pool of blood from his two Labrador Retrievers that officers had killed when they raided his home. The raid was based on a package containing marijuana being delivered to the mayor’s address. It turned out that the package was shipped by a smuggling operation and was supposed to be stolen by one of their operatives from the carport where the UPS driver had left it. They hadn’t planned on the mayor’s mother-in-law visiting and taking the package inside before their operative could acquire the package.
This type of law has only been adopted by two states, Maryland and Utah, and obviously it didn’t prevent the March raid on the Lemp residence, so what else could be done to prevent these tragedies?
For starters, judges need to be more demanding and cautious in their issuance of warrants and perhaps face consequences for signing off on a warrant based on a flimsy affidavit.
Of course, judges don’t want to be seen as micro-managing the police or having to face any consequences, but they must take responsibility for the outcomes of warrants they sign. In cases like the death of Breonna Taylor, not only should the officers who executed the raid, and the supervisor who signed off on it, be held accountable, but so should the judge who approved the warrant. At the very least a judge’s involvement in issuing a questionable warrant should be made public knowledge, especially around election season for elected judges.
Ultimately, “No-Knock” or “Knock-Knock-Bang” warrants should only be issued in very specific and extreme circumstances to save lives. Kicking in doors, setting off flash-bang grenades, rappelling down from the roof and crashing through windows, shooting dogs, using armored vehicles to pull off window bars, and all of these other movie-style tactics, simply don’t belong in our neighborhoods. Like the BATF raid on the Branch Davidian Church in Waco, Texas, there’s almost always a better way, such as capturing the suspect while he’s checking the mail or pumping gas, calling on the phone and asking for a meeting, or simply knocking on the door and showing a warrant.
If the evidence being sought is small enough to be flushed down the toilet during the service of a warrant, then it’s probably not enough to warrant putting police officers at risk to try and procure it with a dynamic raid. If the suspect is so dangerous that a SWAT raid might be warranted then it would probably make more sense to try and catch him away from his home turf, rather than trying to take him from his “castle.”
Examples of warrant service going bad are far too common and almost completely preventable. There have been far too many victims created by the tactics themselves.
People like Cory Maye, who served 10 years on Death Row for shooting at strangers kicking down his door, and Jose Guerena, a former Marine and combat vet, who jumped from his bed when he heard pounding and explosions, and was shot dozens of times because he was holding a gun in his own home. Or Cheye Calvo, the Mayor of Berwin Heights Maryland, mentioned above, or Katheryn Johnston, a 92-year old woman who was shot to death after she fired a shot at a group of home invaders crashing through her front door. It turned out that they were corrupt narcotics officers trying to shake-down a drug dealer, but they got the wrong address.
All were innocent victims of aggressive police raids that I’ve written about in the past. Statistically, these tragedies are rare, considering that SWAT teams or tactics are employed something like 40,000 times a year in this country, but even though only a small percentage of those end up in the news as bungled operations, many more result in unnecessary death and destruction, and even more result in trashed homes, trashed lives, and deep scars among some members of the community, widening rifts that departments should be working hard to close.
It’s well past time for the public, politicians, and police unions to join together to address these tactics that unnecessarily jeopardize the police and the public.