The official statement from the board of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership is below. I covered some of the controversy on the decision to merge in my earlier post announcing the merger. As I said there, I hope it works out so that both organizations can keep up the good fight for the Second Amendment and our rights.
Dear JPFO Members and Supporters,
Even before the passing of founder, Aaron Zelman, there was serious
doubt as to whether or not JPFO could survive. For years Aaron struggled
heroically with chronic health problems.
The results were rapidly expanding problems in administrative, database
and member support and new product operations, along with no systematic
fundraising program — to name just a few. Aaron delegated painfully
little? But considering it all, what he accomplished goes well beyond
the heroic to near miracles.
The regular staff was reduced to a devoted office manager of some
15-years, LaVonne, an equally devoted webmaster, Chris and Aaron’s two
Board members, Bruce and Bob serving with him since the mid-1990s. The
effort to rebuild JPFO began in earnest, facing the ominous headwinds of
a diminished database and largely empty coffers.
After some months, Charles Heller stepped-in to provide Executive
Director services; including media contacts.
One bright spot was the wise counsel of the JPFO advisor on spiritual
matters, Rabbi Dovid Bendory, known affectionately as the “Gun Rabbi.”
The task was truly immense. It seemed to grow in difficulty as each step
forward unearthed more challenges. Tragedy struck again a year later
when our office manager, LaVonne passed away unexpectedly. She had
loyally worked with Aaron for over 15-years. Her husband, Doug resigned
his regular employment as her fulltime replacement. Without his
commitment it is a virtual certainty JPFO would have collapsed more than
a year ago.
Adding to these losses was the death of another key writer, Kirby
Ferris. More recently a board member was blindsided with two major heart
surgeries and is still in rehabilitation.
Then just weeks ago another key writer, the prolific 2A and science
fiction author, L. Neil Smith, who worked with Aaron on various books
and other major editorial projects, suffered a stroke, right in the
middle of our Fall educational and fundraising product developments.
In spite of all this seemingly endless ?damage control? we were able to
increase the membership; and thanks to the contract writers and the
webmaster, who maintain a flow of quality editorial material; while
organizing first-rate office operations; including tight inventory
controls with a quick turnaround of member requests.
From day one, due to the highly specialized Jewish orientation, the
primary target constituency was extremely small. Fortunately, non-Jews,
so taken with the powerful JPFO message, have also consistently been a
vital source of revenue; while donating impressive amounts of time and
talent to various projects, from 1989 to this very day.
However, all along was the paradox that as a skeletal crew of fiercely
devoted workers salvaged and refined after Aaron’s passing, the Stalking
Horse of poor cash flow was always there. We came to realize that JPFO
needed one or more major supporters to break through to the next level.
Many inquiries yielded nil, it became clear that the most logical and
efficient solution was to ally with another 2A organization, while
preserving our identity.
That’s not all. We realized we must have an organization with longevity,
solid management, financial depth and marketing powers to insure JPFO
The urgency of this search accelerated as the monthly revenue streams,
from all sources, began a steadily decline early this year. Recent
fundraising efforts have yielded little. The headquarters was reduced to
being run by the managing director, with part-time secretarial help.
To solve these problems, the JPFO Board of Directors sought out and
elected to merge with the Second Amendment Foundation
Founded in 1974, now with over 650,000 members, SAF is the oldest and
largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action
group focusing on the right to keep and bear arms.
JPFO will be operated independently by SAF and current JPFO private and
industry members and contributors will continue to receive all benefits
promised. It will maintain a separate board of directors.
The JPFO website will continue to run independently as a stand-alone
entity but will now include links to it from TheGunMag.com,
KeepandBearArms.com, plus SAF.org. JPFO will also become a member
organization of the International Association for the Protection of
Civilian Arms Rights (IAPCAR) to expand its reach internationally.
Certain JPFO editorial and administrative staff are likely to remain or
be available for the transition. Later, headquarters will move from
Wisconsin to SAF headquarters in Bellevue, Washington.
The decision to merge with SAF has generated powerful disagreements and
no small amount of vitriol… But before making final decisions on this
action, please visit this page
what firearms industry icon, Massad Ayoob, has to say about this
Adulation of Aaron Zelman is spot on; nevertheless, it would be
profoundly unfair to not tip the hat of deep gratitude to all members,
donors, plus those deeply devoted volunteers that have committed well
into the thousands of hours of free services since 1989, so making many
of Aaron’s landmark projects possible even with the Stalking Horse of
financial distress continually behind his back, as it was for us until
JPFO Board of Directors