Chief Judge Says No To Illinois

Chief Judge Nancy Rosenstengel of the Southern District of Illinois just said “no” today to the attempt at judge shopping by the State of Illinois. She transferred both Langley v. Kelly and FFL-IL v. Pritzker to Judge Stephen McGlynn. Judge McGlynn is the judge of record in Harrel v. Raoul.


In addition, the magistrate to whom Barnett v. Raoul had been assigned ordered that case transferred to Judge McGlynn.

I had posted about the attempt by the State of Illinois to game the system earlier today. They had first pulled a state court case to Federal court and then tried to have it be the lead case. Their argument was that it was the first case filed anywhere. However, precedent in the district stated that consolidated cases should be assigned to the judge of the case with the lowest number. Here that would have been the joint SAF, FPC, and ISRA case of Harrel v. Raoul.

I applaud the Chief Judge for abiding by the longstanding precedent in the District for assignments in consolidated cases.

Tweet Of The Day

The New York Times is bemoaning the fact that all those gun control laws in California do nothing to stop mass casualty events.

The reply by “JustynWS” nails it – do you treat the symptom or do you treat the cause.

Legal Gamesmanship In Illinois AWB Cases

While I was in Las Vegas at the SHOT Show, I listened to Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation discuss some of their 43 pending cases. He went into particular detail about the SAF and co-plaintiffs’ challenge to the recently passed assault weapon (sic) and magazine bans in Illinois. What was particularly interesting was the decision on which district of Illinois to file the case, Harrel et al v. Raoul et al, and the goal of being the first case filed challenging the new law. Alan said the Southern District of Illinois tended to be better which is why it was filed there. He also noted that if, as he expected, the cases would end up being consolidated the lead case would be Harrel v. Raoul as it was the lowest numbered case. Finally, he said that by the luck of the draw that the judge assigned to the case, Judge Stephen McGlynn, was appointed to the court by President Trump.

Since Harrel was filed on January 17th, two other cases were filed challenging the new Illinois ban. Furthermore, another case was moved from state court to Federal court at the request of the State of Illinois.

Barnett et al v. Raoul et al was filed on January 24th. The lead counsel is Paul Clement and the plaintiffs include the National Shooting Sports Foundation. This case is also being financially supported by the NRA according a post on ILA’s website. Filed the same day was Federal Firearm Licensees of Illinois et al v. Pritzker et al. The lead attorney in this case is California gun rights attorney Chuck Michel. Plaintiffs include GOA, Guns Save Lives, and Gun Owners Foundation as well as other individual and business plaintiffs.

Langley et al v. Kelly et al was originally filed in Circuit Court of the Second Judicial Circuit, Crawford County, Illinois. Kelly, the Director of the Illinois State Police, moved to have the case transferred from state court to the US District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. This removal was granted on January 23rd. Note however, that it has a higher case number than Harrel. This case as well as Barnett and FFL-IL were all originally assigned to Senior Judge J. Phil Gilbert who subsequently recused himself. Langley and FFL-IL has now been reassigned to Chief Judge Nancy Rosenstengel. She was appointed to the bench by President Obama. The Barnett case has, for the time being, been referred to a magistrate judge.

Under Rule 42(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure the court can consolidate the cases if they involve a common question of law or fact. Given all four cases are challenging the same law, I think there would be grounds to do so.

Here is where it gets interesting and you start to see the legal gamesmanship. The State of Illinois through its filings in Langley is pushing to have the cases all consolidated under it as Chief Judge Rosenstengel, an Obama appointee, would be the judge hearing the case. The presumption is that an Obama appointee would be more favorable than a Trump appointee such as Judge McGlynn. Mind you, judge shopping is frowned upon.

From the state’s motion filed on January 26th:

This Court typically consolidates cases into the lower-numbered case, which is typically the earlier-filed case. In this instance, however, the present case was initiated in state court on January 13, 2023—before Harrel, Federal Firearms Licensees of Illinois, and Barnett were filed on January 17, 24, and 24, respectively—and removed on January 23. In comparable circumstances involving removed cases, this Court has consolidated into the higher-numbered case. See Spurgeon v. Pac. Life Ins. Co., 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106366, *4 (S.D. Ill. Feb. 6, 2007) (consolidating into the higher-numbered case because lower-numbered case may have been removed prematurely). Because this case was the first-filed in any forum, state or federal, Defendant Brendan Kelly respectfully requests that Harrel, Federal Firearms Licensees of Illinois,
and Barnett be consolidated here.

Thomas Maag, attorney for the plaintiffs in Langley, responded on January 27th. He first said:

The Defendant Kelly, who in the experience of undersigned counsel, rarely actually removes cases to federal court, due to the perceived fear of the state that doing so may waive sovereign immunity, did, in fact, remove this case to federal court, obviously thinking this Court a more favorable forum that its own state courts. That is Defendant Kelly’s right, but it is interesting.

Maag goes on to add that the longstanding precedent in the Southern District going back to the time it was part of the Eastern District of Illinois is, with few exceptions, to consolidate in the lowest numbered case which would be Harrel. He notes that the more substantive reason for doing this is to avoid judge shopping. I think a strong argument could be made that this is indeed what the State of Illinois is seeking to do.

He concludes that the plaintiffs in Langley are not taking a position on whether or not to consolidate. However, if consolidation were to occur, it should be “into the lower case number of file in this Court, which is 23-cv-141-SPM” which is the Harrel case.

To conclude, it seems obvious that the State of Illinois is is trying to game the system to get a more favorable judge. While the attorneys in Harrel, Barnett, and FFL-IL have not filed motions objecting to the Illinois motion, it would be my considered guess that they would prefer it be lowest numbered case (Harrel) with the original judge assigned to that case (McGlynn).

UPDATE: See my later post where Chief Judge Nancy Rosenstengel transferred this case and FFL-IL to Judge McGlynn.

SHOT Show Swag Vipers

I learned a new phrase this week. It is “swag viper”.

A swag viper is someone who goes to the SHOT Show, vacuums up every bit of swag exhibitors have at their booths, and then puts it up for sale on EBay shortly thereafter. The swag ranges from giveaway caps and T-shirts to limited edition patches to 2023 SHOT Show LaRue Tactical “dillos”.

Below is some of the swag I got at the SHOT Show this year. I didn’t go out of my way to collect patches…much. I did make sure to get a complete set of the hexagonal Tuff Products patches. I know I gave out many more patches than I collected.

I saw the Geissele badge holders going for $20 on Ebay. The LaRue Tactical commemorative dillo is still selling for close to $50. The most expensive patch soon after the show was the Liberal Gun Club unicorn patch which was selling for $189. It has fallen in price to “only” $89. Currently, the most expensive thing is 50 Glock giveaway pens going for almost $200.

I collect the patches and other swag as a remembrance of the good times I had at the SHOT Show, the people I met, and the companies I visited. Eventually, all the patches will go on a display board and hung somewhere in the house.

I know when I give out patches it is to remind people of my blog. Likewise, the exhibitors give out patches to attract people to their booth and to thank them for stopping by. Companies like Original S.W.A.T footwear have patch boards and a new patch for each day of SHOT. In that case, it is leave a patch, get a patch. I don’t think any company gives out patches only to see them being resold within hours on Ebay.

I have no problem with someone selling off a patch collection accumulated over the years nor do I have a problem with someone trading a patch or selling a couple here and there. What I do find objectionable are businesses vacuuming up swag only to sell it on Ebay. They go by cutesy names like “nevadatreasures” and “kristiescountlesscollectibles“.

How re-sellers like this get the swag is unknown. I just wish the swag vipers would go away.

SHOT Show 2023 – It’s The People

Seeing all the new products being released at SHOT Show is cool. Since I caught the SHOT Show crud during the show and not after it, I didn’t get to see as much as I usually did. Nonetheless, what I really enjoy most about going to the SHOT Show is reconnecting with old friends and making new ones.

I’m not the best at taking selfies but others are. I ran into Charlie Chambers who I first met at a Gun Rights Policy Conference at Range Day. He was there with Amanda Suffecool and Rob Campbell of Eye on the Target Radio. This was taken early in the day before the rain arrived and the wind picked up.

Then there are the people you run into in the Media Room. In this case it was Charlie Cook of Riding Shotgun with Charlie and John Petrolino of As Charlie noted, all three of us were recipients of the Second Amendment Foundation’s Ray Carter Blogger of the Year Award.

Thursday was interesting as lunch and then dinner ran the political spectrum from Right to Left. Lunch was with Paul Valone and his wife Lori of Grass Roots North Carolina along longtime GRNC volunteer Josette Chmiel. Paul is the author of the book Rules for Anti-Radicals which deals with defeating leftism.

L-R: Me, Paul, Josette, Lori

Thursday evening I swung to the opposite end of the political spectrum when I had dinner with people from the Liberal Gun Club. Beyond the wonderful food at Bouchon, I had a great time reconnecting with Lara and Ed Smith and trainer/revolver guru Grant Cunningham. Grant was at the SHOT Show representing Lubriplate which makes non-toxic firearm lubricants (among many other things). It had been years since I had seen Grant face-to-face so it was really fun to catch up with him.

Finally, there is my old friend Michael Bane. I ran into him at Range Day where he introduced me to James Tarr. Later that evening, I had dinner with Michael and his “sweetie” along with Paul Erhardt and one person whose name I still don’t remember. The Complementary Spouse insisted I get a picture. Unfortunately, I forgot. Fast forward to Thursday when Michael was doing the giveaway for a customized Tisas 10mm 1911 at the SDS Imports/Tisas booth. His “sweetie” was kind enough to take this picture of us and the Complementary Spouse was pleased.

There were a lot more people I ran into at SHOT than I can name without leaving someone out. Despite coming down with the crud and missing a day of the show because I stayed in bed, it was a good trip and it was the people that made the trip.

Henry Repeating Arms Steps Up

Henry Repeating Arms, makers of some of the nicest lever action carbines, rifles, and shotguns on the market today, has stepped up its support for Second Amendment groups. As part of their “Guns for Great Causes” charitable campaign they presented checks totaling $75,000 to the Second Amendment Foundation, Firearms Policy Coalition, and Gun Owners of America at the recent SHOT Show.

Henry VP Dan Clayton-Luce presents check to SAF
Henry VP Dan Clayton-Luce presents check to GOA
Henry VP Dan Clayton-Luce presents check to FPC

The founder and CEO of Henry Repeating Arms had this to say regarding the donations:

“Henry Repeating Arms will never back down when it comes to supporting the individuals and organizations that work tirelessly to fight back against the political degradation of law-abiding Americans’ right to keep and bear arms,” said Anthony Imperato, CEO and Founder of Henry Repeating Arms. “Just like our Constitution, these organizations belong to and for the people. They have our backs, and we will always have theirs.”

I never had shot a Henry before Range Day. I got to shoot one of their side-gate loading lever actions in .360 Buckhammer. I was impressed with how smooth it was to throw the lever-action on that carbine. It was like cutting through butter. It was much smoother than a Rossi I shot later that morning.

I think it is instructive where Henry Repeating Arms put their money in the fight for the Second Amendment. While all three are national groups, they aren’t that other national group. I think the industry as a whole is wising up and putting their contributions where it will do the most good for gun rights.

No Endorsements For NRA Board

I received my ballot for the 2023 NRA Board of Directors election in today’s mail. Unlike in past years, I will not be making any endorsements. Let me explain my reasoning.

First, there are no petition candidates running for the Board in this election. Every candidate – good, bad, or indifferent – is on the ballot thanks to the efforts of the Nominating Committee. Everyone has been vetted to some extent and is considered “safe”. The committee is chaired by the ultimate insider and “Friend of Wayne” Kayne Robinson. The vice-chair is Janet Nyce who, if you attended the 2022 Meeting of Members will remember, declared those of us who want reform as “the enemy within”.

Second, while I will probably vote for a couple of people on the list that I know fairly well, any endorsement from me would be counter-productive to their chances. My reporting on the NRA’s troubles has earned me no friends in Fairfax and my endorsement would make them suspect if elected.

Third, it just doesn’t matter. One potential reformer or even two will be ostracized by the rest of the Board. I have heard how good people like Judge Phil Journey and Frank Tait have been treated like something the dog dragged in by the rest of the Board. The shameful juvenile conduct of the majority of the Board is disgusting. Moreover, you have elderly hacks like Walt Walter re-nominated while an accomplished attorney like Graham Hill was not re-nominated thanks to hostility towards him by Kayne Robinson.

If change is going to come to the NRA – and it will – it will be from outside. It will either come from a Bankruptcy Court as Rocky Marshall postulates or it will come as a result of the New York Attorney General’s lawsuit. People who think the NRA is going to win in court in Manhattan are willfully ignorant. Anyone who has followed the trial knows that things are not going that well for the NRA. The only thing that might be considered a win is that dissolution has been taken off the table by Judge Cohen. Add in the NRA’s incomprehensible decision to ask for a jury trial in Manhattan and you know it won’t go well.

Guest Post By Rocky Marshall

Roscoe “Rocky” Marshall is a former member of the NRA Board of Directors. More importantly, he is an experienced business executive. He is now founder and CEO of Frontier Truck Gear. Prior to that, he served as president of two subsidiaries of oil field services giant Baker Hughes which is a Fortune 150 company. In other words, he can drill down into an income statement or balance sheet to get to the real health of an organization. What he has to say below is not encouraging as to the health of the NRA.

Rocky had sought to be an intervenor in the lawsuit brought by the Attorney General of New York against the NRA, Wayne LaPierre, John Frazier, Woody Phillips, and Josh Powell. He sought to do so to be an advocate for the members of the NRA as it seems no one is actively representing their interests before the court as opposed to the interests of LaPierre and company. His motion was ultimately denied. I met Rocky in person at the 2022 NRA Annual Meeting and have corresponded with him extensively. What he is saying below is not some spur of the moment comment. He has been reading the tea leaves and saying this exact thing for some time now.

The Late Great National Rifle Association R.I.P. by Former NRA Director Rocky Marshall
To NRA Members: IT IS OVER!

The NRA’s financials are spiraling rapidly towards insolvency, and the future appears bleak for
the survivability of the NRA which may be forced into bankruptcy (for real this time) in the
coming months. The next and final chapter for the NRA will be in a bankruptcy court where a
Judge will likely appoint a “Receiver” to take control of the assets of the NRA.

The NRA has been thriving for over 150 years; but will likely not survive to the end of this year.
This once great organization is now facing dissolution as the direct result of malfeasance by
Wayne LaPierre and the impotent Board of Directors (BOD). Undoubtedly, key management
personnel including Wayne Lapierre, Wilson Phillips, and others will likely face criminal charges
for embezzlement, fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and other charges.

The NRA in the coming months will not be able to pay outstanding bills or maintain staff to
fulfill the mission due to the rapid decline of donations by members. In 2016, NRA revenues
reached a peak of $367 million and currently is projected to receive $200 million for the current
fiscal year 2022. The collapse in donations is directly related to the revelations that the NRA
Management misused millions of dollars of donations for personal benefit. The misuse of NRA
monies by NRA Management and the BOD has been reported as far back as 1998 when a
complaint was filed by NRA Directors with the FEC.1

A question that is often repeated is: “Why did the NRA BOD allow Wayne Lapierre and others to
misuse the donations and defraud the members?” The most obvious answer is because a few
key Directors were being paid. From 2002 through 2020, over $10 million dollars have been
paid directly or indirectly to NRA Directors. A secondary issue is that NRA Directors were not
informed and also routinely presented false information by NRA Officers and Management in
order to hide the truth. During my tenure as an NRA Director, I was routinely denied access to
information and also received blatantly untrue information from NRA officers. The NRA BOD
has not provided proper fiduciary oversight of the NRA for decades. The NRA BOD could have
easily stopped the fraud and mismanagement by Wayne LaPierre (and others) but instead
chose to ignore the obvious illegal activities. The BOD audit committee (chaired by the current
President Charles Cotton) approved transactions retro actively without BOD approval.

The current lawsuit from the New York Attorney General will likely not go to trial; but instead,
will be superseded by a forced bankruptcy. The negative press reports from these legal filings
will continue to drive donors away and revenues will decline. As a former Director for the NRA,
I have researched the complaints by the New York Attorney General and found all charges to be
true. I could not identify a single charge that was untrue or exaggerated. As has been
reported, Wayne Lapierre has admitted to several of the charges in the previous bankruptcy
trial in Dallas.

Historians and columnists will report in future years that the NRA was destroyed from within by
the greed of NRA Management Wayne LaPierre, Woody Phillips, (and others) and also by the
lack of oversight by the NRA Board of Directors. Collectively this group has destroyed the most
valuable gun rights organization on the planet.

  1. Weldon H. Clark Jr. FEC Complaint 1998 (

A New Low Even For The Trace

The Trace, a supposedly independent and non-partisan newsroom, has hit a new low in its reporting on the Monterrey Park, California murders. Rather than acknowledging the failure of California’s gun laws, the most restrictive in the United States, they seek to cast aspersions upon Dr. John Lott. They say he is a “major factor” in the failure to pass even more restrictive gun laws.

The Trace is trying to imply that the Monterrey Park mass shooting might not have happened but for Dr. Lott and his research. The thought that the Democrats supermajority in the California Assembly and Senate didn’t pass gun control laws due to the influence of John Lott is laughable. What they did do is pass more and more ineffective laws that are only obeyed by law abiding citizens. Perhaps if they had studied the work of Dr. Lott they might have passed laws to allow people in California to actually protect themselves.

That The Trace is attacking Dr. Lott and his research should come as no surprise given that it was founded and funded by Michael Bloomberg. His goal in founding it was to promote his gun control agenda (as if the mainstream media doesn’t already do it). While The Trace aka Trace Media Inc. is officially a separate organization from Everytown for Gun Safety (sic), it should surprise no one that the president of Trace Media and Everytown are one in the same. That’s correct, John Feinblatt, Bloomberg’s right hand man on gun control, is officially the head of both organizations.

The Trace owes Dr. Lott an apology but I certainly doubt that will ever happen.

Update On Rep. Harriett Hageman

I had suggested that Rep. Harriett Hageman (R-WY) would make a great addition to House Judiciary Committee. This was in my post entitled An Interesting Factoid On Cargill Win. Rep. Hageman was one of the attorneys representing Michael Cargill in his appeal in the 5th Circuit on the bumpstock ban.

Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) must have been listening as she is one of the new members of the committee.

From his release last week:

“We’re excited to welcome all new and returning members of the House Judiciary Committee to the 118th Congress. House Judiciary Republicans are ready to get to work on the important issues facing the American people by passing legislation that will secure the southern border, investigating the weaponization of the federal government against the American people, and reining in Big Tech’s censorship of free speech.”

New Republican Members of the House Judiciary Committee:

Rep. Ben Cline (VA-06)
Rep. Lance Gooden (TX-05)
Rep. Jeff Van Drew (NJ-02)
Rep. Barry Moore (AL-02)
Rep. Troy Nehls (TX-22)
Rep. Russell Fry (SC-07)
Rep. Harriett Hageman (WY-At Large)
Rep. Wesley Hunt (TX-38)
Rep. Kevin Kiley (CA-03)
Rep. Laurel Lee (FL-15)
Rep. Nathaniel Moran (TX-01)

Returning Republican Members of the House Judiciary Committee:
Rep. Darrell Issa (CA-50)
Rep. Ken Buck (CO-04)
Rep. Matt Gaetz (FL-01)
Rep. Mike Johnson (LA-04)
Rep. Andy Biggs (AZ-05)
Rep. Tom McClintock (CA-04)
Rep. Tom Tiffany (WI-07)
Rep. Thomas Massie (KY-04)
Rep. Chip Roy (TX-21)
Rep. Dan Bishop (NC-09)
Rep. Victoria Spartz (IN-05)
Rep. Scott Fitzgerald (WI-05)
Rep. Cliff Bentz (OR-02)

Rep. Hageman is one of six GOP freshmen appointed to House Judiciary Committee.