CSGV Winding Down Operations

The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (sic) has announced it is winding down operations. It will be merging its sister organization Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence (sic) with Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Prevention. The new organization will be called the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions.

According to CBS Baltimore, the new center will be co-led by Daniel Webster who led the Bloomberg School center and Joshua Horwitz who was executive director of CSGV.

The release from JHU’s Bloomberg School of Public Health said the new center would “bring a public health lens to reduce gun violence in the U.S., focusing on research while expanding evidence-based advocacy for effective and equitable policies. They also say the new center will be financed by foundations, private donors, and other sources. I read this to mean that they will be getting significant monies from Michael Bloomberg, his own foundations, and the Joyce Foundation.

The press release goes on to say:

The Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions will focus on prevention strategies that, if implemented broadly, would significantly reduce gun-related death and injury. It will:

  • Conduct research to evaluate and strengthen public health approaches to gun violence such as community violence intervention programs and handgun purchaser licensing. 
  • Advance the use of racial equity impact analysis when considering policies to address gun violence.
  • Advance evidence-based policies such as handgun purchaser licensing and laws to remove firearms from those at risk of harm to self or others.
  • Develop new approaches to curb political violence and address the misuse of personally manufactured firearms, commonly referred to as ghost guns. 
  • Track public opinion on policy and violence-reduction programs through surveys.

“Our Center will continue to apply strong research methods to assess the effectiveness of strategies intended to prevent gun violence,” says Webster. “With our new colleagues, we will now have even more capacity to bring meaningful policy change through evidence-based advocacy.”

“Our biggest successes have come when the evidence meets the moment,” says Horwitz. “Right now is one such moment. This new Center will put the evidence-based solutions identified and developed by our new colleagues directly into the hands of the policymakers ready to make change.”

There are two major implications from this merger. First, the growth of Everytown and Giffords relegated CSGV to being a gun control bit-player with not even marginal influence. The most they could do is stomp their feet, post angry tweets, accuse gun rights activists of being “insurrectionists”, and try to get a dozen people to attend a demonstration.

They just had no future within the gun control industry. According to their Form 990, they were barely covering expenses. They had a little more than a half million dollars in revenue and about the same in expenses of which Joshua Horwitz’s salary consumed about a third. By contrast, Everytown had revenues of approximately $85 million.

The second major implication is that Michael Bloomberg is going to push the supposed public health implications of the criminal misuse of firearms in his attempt to get legislation passed. I don’t think this merger would have happened without the consent, implied or expressed, of Bloomberg. This was not a merger of equals. If anything, it was a takeover that consolidated more of the 501(c)(3) gun control world under his influence while getting rid of a bit-player that could have muddied the message.

In one sense I am sad to see CSGV go away. They provided material for many blog posts with their craziness. You could always depend upon Horwitz to be foaming at the mouth about “insurrectionism” while their former communications director Ladd Everitt could be depended upon for invective about gun rights. I was a “gun extremist” while my friend Kurt Hofmann was branded a “traitor“.

CSGV may be leaving but I still have my commemorative patch!

More Returned NRA Ballots

The issue with returned ballots is not restricted to eastern Pennsylvania. The ballot below was sent back to a Benefactor Life member residing in Nevada. Not only was it sent back to him but he received it in the damaged condition shown. I scratched out the name and he covered his address with a flyer to preserve his privacy.

In the comments section of my first post on this, another person in Tennessee has also received his ballot back in the mail due to the wrong Plus 4 ZIP and barcode. To date, the NRA has not issued any public notice of the issue with the envelope. How many more out there that have been returned or will be returned is open to speculation.

The person who had the first known returned ballot reached out the NRA’s Membership Department and got this response. I would urge anyone who had a ballot returned to do this.

No description available.

If you have not returned your ballot yet, my original suggestion that you scratch out the Plus 4 ZIP and the barcode below the address still stands. It will prevent the USPS mail sorting machines from kicking it out as undeliverable.

If you have friends who are voting NRA members, you need to warn them about this. My fear is that a number of people will wait until the last moment to send in their ballots. Then, when it is too late to resubmit the ballot, they will get it back in the mail.

Frank Tait brought this to the attention of NRA Secretary and General Counsel John Frazer. Here is the response he and the person to whom the first ballot was returned.

It does appear that a small number of envelopes containing completed ballots for the 2022 NRA board election were mailed to our independent accounting firm for processing, but have been returned to sender. We are continuing to investigate this situation in collaboration with the accounting firm. It appears that this situation is limited to a specific geographic area, which may indicate a problem at a specific postal facility – not a widespread problem impacting the majority of ballots. We are committed to the integrity of the election process, and to ensuring that process works to the benefit of all voting members.

Notably, the address on the ballot envelope is the same one used for all ballots, both this year and last. Nearly 100,000 ballots were received last year for processing. So far this year, about 60,000 ballots have been received—which again suggests that this is an isolated issue. In other words, tens of thousands of NRA members are participating in the election without experiencing this problem.

If a ballot envelope is returned, the member can still vote. We ask that the member please enclose the entire return envelope in a larger envelope, and mail it to:

Rogers & Co.

P.O. Box 686

Dunn Loring, VA 22027

We regret the inconvenience for those who were affected by this issue. The NRA is confident that our election process is fair – and we thank our members for participating in this important undertaking.

What bothers me the most is that this is being treated like a small aberration by the powers that be in the NRA. If we learned anything from the 2020 elections it is that people get really pissed off if they perceive that an election has issues with their vote not being counted. I don’t care if it is a “found” bundle of ballots in the middle of the night or a valid mailed-in NRA BOD ballot that is being returned to sender as undeliverable.

To be sure this is not a case of malfeasance. It is a case of negligence. Moreover, it is a case of repeated negligence. John Frazer acknowledges that the same erroneous address was used last year as well. If I could see the error almost immediately, then why did the highly paid consultants, the accounting firm, and other experts at the NRA not catch it? Could it be that they assume the outcome of this election is preordained and they just don’t give a shit if my vote or yours is counted or not?

Evolution Of US Army Camo Since 1981

The study of camouflage has long been of interest to me. Whether it is for military use or for hunting use, I am intrigued by the different sorts of camouflage out there. One of my favorite blogs has long been that of Professor Roy Behrens at the University of North Iowa who writes Camoupedia.

I recently came across the video below put out by Venture Surplus. It traces the evolution of US Army camouflage uniforms from ERDL up to today’s OCP aka Scorpion W2.

My own collection includes BDU Woodland, DCU or desert camouflage, the ill-fated UCP, and MultiCam aka OEF-CP.

Every Picture Tells A Story, Part XVI

Gov. Eric Holcomb (R-IN) signed House Bill 1296 into law this afternoon. Hoosiers will now be allowed to carry concealed without a permit effective July 1, 2022. The state already allowed free lifetime carry permits. Indiana becomes the third state in 2022 to adopt unrestricted or permitless carry joining Ohio and Alabama. It is now the 24th state in the United States that has constitutional carry.

As the updated graphic below shows, approximately 33% of all Americans now live in a state that allows unrestricted carry. By contrast, only 25.34% of Americans lives in may-issue or virtually no-issue states.

Gov. Holcomb had this to say as to why he signed the bill.

“The Second Amendment has been debated for years, yet time and again our U.S. Supreme Court has reaffirmed this important constitutional right that I fully support. Twenty-three other states have laws comparable to HEA 1296. Vermont has had a constitutional carry law in place since it became a state, and several other states have had a similar law for more than a decade. HEA 1296, which I’ve signed today, entrusts Hoosiers who can lawfully carry a handgun to responsibly do so within our State. It’s important to note that if a person is prohibited, under federal or state laws, from possessing a firearm before this law goes into effect, that person will still be prohibited. And if a prohibited person has a firearm, he or she can be prosecuted. Firearm permits will remain available, without fee, to anyone who wants or needs one, such as Hoosiers desiring to carry a firearm to, through or in another state that has reciprocity with Indiana.”

Many in Indiana law enforcement had campaigned against the bill including the head of the Indiana State Police. Nonetheless, ISP Superintendent Doug Carter indicated he will work to make the bill’s passage a success. He did still encourage Hoosiers to apply for their free lifetime carry permits.

Also opposing the bill were the usual suspects within the gun control industry. In the Everytown.org press release, they now refer to themselves as “public safety advocates”. I guess that will now supersede the term “gun safety” in their lexicon.

I anticipate the state of Georgia will be the next state to pass and implement constitutional carry. Florida is off the books for this year. I would say that my home state of North Carolina will not have constitutional carry until either Roy Cooper is gone or the Republicans regain a super-majority in both houses of the General Assembly.

Issue With Returning NRA Ballots

As can be seen in the picture below, there is an issue with the receipt of NRA ballots by Rogers & Co. They are the accounting firm charged with counting the votes in the 2022 NRA Board of Directors election.

This is a case where the US Postal Service is not to blame.

Years and years ago I had a small business that managed political mailing lists and processed them to append the correct ZIP Plus 4. I understand something about how the Plus 4 for a ZIP Code is generated. In the case of post office boxes, the ZIP Plus 4 is the ZIP Code plus the post office box number. If you look at where I’ve circled in red on the envelope, you will see that this is not the case with the ballot return envelope. It is clear that when the Postal Service’s automated sorting equipment read the bar code below the address it saw this as a problem.

The correct ZIP Plus 4 for the return envelope of the ballots should have been 22027-0686. I confirmed this by using the Postal Service’s ZIP Code lookup tool.

The returned ballot leads to the obvious question: how many valid ballots have been returned to the sender or even discarded by the US Postal Service? The follow-up question is it enough to affect the outcome of the board election. With the death this week of Rep. Don Young (R-AK), you now have 29 candidates seeking essentially 28 seats when you add in the 76th Director. Until the votes are counted, we won’t know how many votes separated each candidate.

Ballots must be received by May 8th. If you have not returned your ballot yet, you may want to consider my suggestion on how to correct the issue.

In the picture below is another ballot that has not been mailed yet. If you look where I’ve circled in red, here are my suggestions to make sure it arrives in Dunn Loring, Virginia and is counted. First, scratch out the Plus 4 portion of the ZIP Code. Second, scratch out the bar code below the address. Doing both of these actions will prevent the US Postal Service’s automated sorters from rejecting the ballot due to conflicts between the address and the ZIP Code Plus 4.

It is my understanding that NRA Secretary and General Counsel John Frazer has been made aware of this issue. As this issue just came to light this weekend, it is too early to see if he will have any response.

UPDATE: If you are a voting member of the NRA and have not sent in your ballot yet, please check the envelope’s return address. I would like to know if you have a different return address or different ZIP Plus 4. I happen to know that these two examples come from the eastern Pennsylvania area. That is also the home of reform candidate Frank Tait.

You can leave either a comment in the comment’s section or email me at jpr9954 AT gmail dot com. I would especially be interested getting a photo of your envelope if it is different.

UPDATE II: I have heard from readers in Ohio, Maryland, Kentucky, and North Carolina that their return envelopes all had the wrong ZIP Plus 4 on it.

I have also heard that there are more people in eastern Pennsylvania who have had their ballots returned as undeliverable.

Is Brewer Getting His Hooks Into NRA-ILA’s Budget?

When Chris Cox was forced out as the Executive Director of NRA-ILA, his Deputy Director and General Counsel David Lehman was out soon thereafter.

Jason Ouimet was appointed to take Cox’s position as head of NRA-ILA. As has been explained to me, he then started to search for a general counsel who would have his back and who would protect the NRA-ILA from Bill Brewer’s depredations. He went outside the Second Amendment world and hired Wade Callender who had served as a trial attorney, a Judge Advocate in the Navy, and for eight years as a general counsel in the software industry.

It appears Wade did his job too well. He protected the NRA-ILA from those outside forces such as Brewer whose goals and aims were inconsistent with the purpose of the organization. Unlike John Frazer at the NRA, he did his job as a good general counsel should therefore he was a threat.

Today a memo went out from Jason Ouimet saying that Wade will be leaving the position effective Labor Day. There was the typical mumbo-jumbo about Wade wanted to seek new opportunities and that he wanted to remain in Texas where he had been working during COVID. Ouimet did say that Wade “improved legal operations, saved millions and his counsel to me as Executive Director has been invaluable.” He is also being credited with shepherding the NYSRPA v. Bruen case through the Supreme Court.

This is bad news for the NRA-ILA. Bill Brewer has had his sights set on the ILA’s Second Amendment budget for a long time. It is another pot of money from which he can get legal fees. Wade stood in his way and now Ouimet has cracked open the door for Brewer.

Not only will the ILA not have a General Counsel who could and would stand up to Brewer but their long-time litigation counsel Chris Conte passed away in 2021. Conte was the one responsible for developing cases which then would work their way up to the appellate level.

As should be self-evident by now, Brewer and his firm are not qualified to handle Second Amendment cases. The few minor 2A cases in which he has been involved have either been dropped or dismissed. To make matters worse, qualified Second Amendment lawyers like Charles Cooper of Cooper & Kirk were purged for “disloyalty” in 2019. I have even heard rumors that Brewer thought he should have been the one to bring the NYSRPA case to the Supreme Court and not Paul Clement. Even the thought of that makes me cringe.

I’m sure we will hear more on this in the coming days as the Annual Meeting approaches at the end of May. When we do, I’ll be reporting it.

US Weapons Being Sent To Ukraine

After the President of Ukraine spoke to Congress, President Joe Biden announced another $800 million in weapons and other security assistance to Ukraine. There was one thing in the list that kind of struck me as interesting. See if you can find it.

The new $800 million assistance package includes:

800 Stinger anti-aircraft systems;

2,000 Javelin, 1,000 light anti-armor weapons, and 6,000 AT-4 anti-armor systems;

100 Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems;

100 grenade launchers, 5,000 rifles, 1,000 pistols, 400 machine guns, and 400 shotguns;

Over 20 million rounds of small arms ammunition and grenade launcher and mortar rounds;

25,000 sets of body armor; and

25,000 helmets.

Since I don’t think the Ukrainian Army nor its Territorial Army are yet ready to engage in trench warfare, I’m wondering a bit about those 400 shotguns.

Given it is Biden, I surely hope he doesn’t expect the Ukrainians to take his advice on “self-defense” with a shotgun from his Vice-Presidential days.

Repurposing Russian Armaments

Necessity is the mother of invention and it appears the Ukrainians are doing a good job of it. They have captured a number of abandoned or semi-destroyed Russian Army tanks and armored personnel carriers. Who has not seen the videos of Ukrainian farmers towing away Russian tanks with their John Deere tractors?

Most of these vehicles are armed, in part, with the Russian PK-T machine gun. That is the tank or coaxial version of their standard PK machine gun. France 24, the French public TV network, has a story on how Ukrainian auto mechanics are re-engineering and repurposing these tank machine guns into infantry weapons. They have added a stock and bipod as well as converted the firing mechanism. You can it in the video below.

Repurposing tank machine guns for infantry use is nothing new. As Ian McCollum relates in the next video, the Finns did it extensively with captured Soviet weapons in the Winter War.

H/T Stephen Gutowski on Twitter

Every Picture Tells A Story, Part XV

My good friend Amanda Suffecool, co-host of Eye on the Target Radio, told me days ago that she thought that Gov. Mike DeWine (R-OH) would sign unrestricted or constitutional carry into law in Ohio. Her reasoning was that DeWine was being primaried by two strong 2A advocates and that given his somewhat lackluster record on gun rights he needed to prove his bonafides. Today she was proven correct. Ohio became the 23rd state with permitless or unrestricted carry.

From Cleveland.com:

As of June 12, you no longer need a permit or training to carry a concealed handgun in Ohio.

Gov. Mike DeWine on Monday signed Republican-backed legislation to allow people in the state to carry a concealed handgun without a permit or training and no longer require them to proactively tell law enforcement during traffic stops that they’re armed.

Senate Bill 215, which takes effect in 90 days, allows anyone 21 or older to carry a concealed firearm unless state or federal law prohibits them from possessing a gun. Ohio will become the 23rd state to allow conceal-carry in public without needing a license, according to the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action. Ohio currently requires conceal-carry applicants to take eight hours of training and pass a background check.

The bill also removes the duty to notify law enforcement that you are carrying unless you are specifically asked about it.

Ohio is the second largest state with unrestricted carry after Texas. As with Texas and the rest of the constitutional carry states except Vermont, you can still obtain a carry permit if needed.

The addition of Ohio and Alabama to the roles of unrestricted states brings the percentage of the US population that lives in unrestricted states to approximately 31%.

As might be expected, the wailing and gnashing of teeth by the gun prohibitionists has begun. The Bloomberg organizations in Ohio are claiming DeWine prefers the “gun lobby” to public safety and law enforcement. They are stomping their feet and saying they will hold him accountable at the ballot box. No word yet from Brady United, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (sic), Violence Policy Center, or the Demanding Mommy herself Shannon Watts.

Now we just have to wait on Gov. Eric Holcomb (R-IN) and on Georgia to finish out numbers 24 and 25. Florida, sad to say, will not be on the list this year as they have just ended their legislative session without passing it.