This Tweet Made My Day!

Former NRA 1st VP Willes Lee put up a tweet expressing dismay on the lack of info about the NRA’s sealed lawsuit against AckMac, Mercury Group, and Tony Makris.

I have to say it made my day.

First, I am happy to see Willes calling out the powers that be about keeping this sealed.

Second, I am happy that Willes acknowledged even indirectly that I helped get the news out.

Third, I am happy to be a source of information for the Directors of the NRA. I love the NRA and what it has stood for but I won’t sugarcoat its issues.

Finally, if any member of the Board (or NRA employee) wants to contact me with information on this or other issues, I promise that I don’t reveal confidential sources.

NRA Still Wants A Jury Trial In Manhattan

Judge Joel Cohen ordered all the defendants and the New York AG’s Office to give a response on the matter of how the trial should be held. That is, should it be a jury trial or not? The responses from both sides were received this past Friday (July 28th).

Surprisingly, the NRA is sticking to their demands for a jury trial. I am in agreement with NRA In Danger that this is insane. A jury trial for the NRA in Manhattan is the equivalent of a jury trial for Donald Trump in DC meaning a totally unbiased jury pool is virtually impossible to find.

According to the response embedded below, the NRA is asking that a jury trial be held to determine the facts on all the causes of action against the NRA. These would include improper administration of assets, waste, and fiduciary failures. They are claiming they are entitled to this by right. Then, after the jury has determined the facts, the NRA says they would be amenable to having Judge Cohen determine equitable relief. In other words, they want a bifurcated trial with the jury portion coming first.


This is also the position of the attorneys for Wayne LaPierre, Woody Phillips, and John Frazer.

The Attorney General’s Office agrees in part and disagrees in part with the call for a jury trial. Whereas the defendants are saying all the facts should be determined by a jury trial, the Attorney General agrees that should be only for causes of action 2 to 5 and 10 to 14. They contend on the first cause of action as well as causes of action 6 through 9 that they are not triable by a jury under New York law. They present a chart breaking this down found here in the appendix starting on page 9. So in one sense, all involved agree that a bifurcated trial – part by judge and part by jury – is called for. The difference is that the defendants want a jury trial to determine the facts in all the causes of action.

You will notice that the discussion above omits Josh Powell. That is because the attorneys for Powell filed a motion on July 13th to withdraw as counsel. Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP has represented Powell since the beginning of the proceedings. Powell in a separate filing gave his consent to this. A few days later Akin Gump filed motions to keep parts of the reasons for withdrawal under seal or non-public. Judge Cohen has temporarily put these under seal until a hearing can be held on August 7th.

On July 25th, the AG’s office filed a response to Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP’s withdrawal as counsel for Josh Powell. They took no position on Akin Gump’s withdrawal, insisted that Powell get a new attorney sooner than later, and that Judge Cohen should deny the motion to keep keep the reasons for withdrawal under seal. They assert that Akin Gump has not met it burden for sealing their submissions.

Reading closely, the reason Akin Gump and Powell are going separate ways is financial. The AG’s response said, “Powell’s Defense Counsel moved to be relieved, citing Powell’s inability to pay its legal fees.” Now that is interesting.

They also say that Powell should have only 14 days to retain a new attorney given how close the case is to going to trial. If he cannot, they say Powell should act as his own attorney or pro se in legal terms.

So to conclude, the NRA et all insist on a jury trial on all facts, the AG says only on some parts, and Josh Powell seems to have run out of money to pay his legal bills.

Tweet of the Day

The tweet of the day comes from my friend Tony Simon who is doing missionary work for the Second Amendment in New Jersey with his 2A for Everyone organization.

His tweet was in response to Brady Campaign gibberish about AR-15s.

“Assault weapons”? You mean the firearms in every police car/station in America? Politicians have no logic, no empathy, no class and no morals. They have agendas. Trust no one attempting to convince you to give away your rights. They only offer the illusion of safety.

This picture accompanied the tweet:

Tony is absolutely correct.

If you and I own one of these firearms, the gun prohibitionists and the media will call it an “assault weapon”. However, if it is in a cop car or even in a safe within a school for the school resource officer, why then it is a patrol rifle or carbine and a good thing.

A New Double Secret NRA Lawsuit Against AckMac?

The NRA filed a lawsuit against Ackerman McQueen, Mercury Group, and Tony Makris in the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas. According to the case’s docket number, it was filed sometime in 2022 and it was assigned to Senior Judge A. Joe Fish. The other known facts about the case are that they subpoenaed Tony Makris’ wife Elicia Warner Loughlin for documents and the case is being handled as you’d expect by Brewer, Attorneys and Counselors.

And that concludes what is public knowledge about the case because it appears to be under seal.

Knowledge that the case even existed is due to an article in The Trace by Will Van Zant posted on Thursday. You may not like that he reports for The Trace but he does get his facts correct. He discovered the case when he stumbled across a motion to quash the subpoena to Makris’ wife. That motion was filed in US District Court in South Carolina. Even knowing this, it took me several tries before I could find the motion.

According to the motion to quash the subpoena, it is contended that the subpoena is burdensome because it is overbroad and it asks for information of which she has no knowledge. Her attorney also contends that the subpoena’s secondary purpose is to annoy, embarrass, and harass Ms. Loughlin merely because Tony Makris is her husband. The motion notes that much of the information requested had already been provided to the NRA in their suit against Under Wild Skies in Virginia state court. It should be noted that the NRA lost that case and had to pay a little over a half million in damages to Under Wild Skies. In addition to what was previously provided to the NRA, Brewer is now demanding Ms. Loughlin’s personal and business tax returns for the years 2009-2018.

Ms. Loughlin is also asking for a protective order. As her attorney notes:

UWS is not a party to the above captioned litigation. Mrs. Loughlin is not affiliated with any of the Defendants, except for being married to Mr. Makris. The NRA is going to have to state with some clarity how seeking nine (9) years of tax returns from Mrs. Loughlin and her unaffiliated business entity is in any way related to the sealed action pending in Texas. The same would need to apply to the request for her deposition as she has already sat for a deposition at the request of this same party, the NRA. Quite frankly
nothing has changed since the first time she sat other than the fact that we have a new lawsuit in a different jurisdiction.

At this point it should be pointed out that not only did the NRA lose to Under Wild Skies in state court but ended up settling with AckMac to the tune of $12 million in their previous Federal lawsuit against them.

In his article about the current lawsuit, Van Zant reached out to Judge Phil Journey for comment. Phil said it seemed crazy to him and that if the facts aren’t on your side, you resort to BS.

An expert on sealed cases, Prof. Jane Kirtley of the University of Minnesota said there were usually only three reasons for a case to be sealed: to protect personal privacy, national security, or trade secrets. Prior to coming to the University of MN, Kirtley was the Executive Director of The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

Van Zant quotes her as saying:

Simply wanting to avoid attention is not a valid basis, she said. “People that have disputes don’t have to use courts to settle them, they have other options,” Kirtley said. “The price of admission ought to be that the filing of a lawsuit is a matter of public record, and that if elements of a case are sealed, it’s only for legitimate reasons.”

Kirtley added:

Although judges are not supposed to seal cases merely because the parties would prefer anonymity, Kirtley said that too often they do. “Judges concentrate on the parties before them,” Kirtley said, “and if the parties are content with or agitating for secrecy, some courts don’t care and just go along to get along. But that ignores the fact that the public has an interest in open courts, in how cases proceed, in whether one party gets a break and another does not.”

Having searched for the case under its docket number (3:22-CY-1944-G) as well as a search by name in Pacer, I can confirm what Van Zant has said. No public record of this case can be found. Like him, I found that incredibly strange.

So to conclude, I have a handful of questions.

What is the purpose of this lawsuit by the NRA?

How much is Brewer making as a result of bringing another case against his late father-in-law’s company?

Why is it sealed?

And most importantly, is anyone on the Board of Directors even aware that the NRA is suing Ackerman McQueen again?

ATF Gets Stay On VanDerStok Injunction (Update)

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives was successful in getting an administrative stay in VanDerStok v. Garland from the Supreme Court. Judge Reed O’Connor had granted a nationwide injunction against the implementation of the ATF’s frame or receiver rule. He had determined it was in “excess of their statutory jurisdiction”.

As might be expected, ATF and the Department of Justice appealed to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals which refused to grant a stay of Judge O’Connor’s order. The 5th Circuit said the ATF had not “demonstrated a strong likelihood of success on the merits, nor irreparable harm in the absence of a stay.” The 5th Circuit still will be hearing ATF’s appeal of Judge O’Connor’s final order.

Yesterday, the ATF and DOJ filed an emergency appeal to the Supreme Court to receive a stay while the case is under appeal. This would mean the Final Rule would still remain in effect while it was being appealed.

Today, Justice Alito granted an administrative stay until August 4th at 5pm.

UPON CONSIDERATION of the application of counsel for the applicants,

IT IS ORDERED that the June 30, 2023 order and July 5, 2023 final judgment of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, case No. 4:22-cv-691, are hereby administratively stayed until 5 p.m. (EDT) on Friday, August 4, 2023. It is further ordered that any response to the application be filed on or before Wednesday, August 2, 2023, by 5 p.m. (EDT)

Well, crap!

I am sure the attorneys for the Firearms Policy Coalition as well as DOJ are working hard to craft their responses as I write.

UPDATE: Attorney and law professor Mark Smith of The Four Boxes Diner has an explanation of what happened yesterday. The administrative stay was requested by the Solicitor General and the SCOTUS usually grants these without question. Bottom line is that we shouldn’t panic.

Dr. Bill Chachkes, RIP

I learned this morning from his wife that Dr. Bill Chachkes had passed away yesterday. He had been in ill health for a number of years.

Bill was a gun rights advocate, a podcaster, a retired teacher from the NYC schools, a sports journalist, and a Blackhawk helicopter pilot for the Army’s Special Operations Command. His podcast, Firearms Chat, was part of the Self Defense Radio Network. You can hear how he and the late Greg Hutton started their podcast here.

I first met Bill at the 2018 SHOT Show. He had reserved a room to record podcast episodes. I was invited to join Bill and Greg for an interview on Firearms Chat. We talked about a lot of things and, to be honest, I can’t remember exactly what. I do know that the Complementary Spouse and I saw him again many times that week. He was having some issues with his leg due to diabetes and she took a look at it for him.

I next met Bill along with his wife Annrose at AMM-Con and the 2019 Gun Rights Policy Conference held in Phoenix. I had been a guest on his show a couple of times by then. Being a guest on his show was always a fun thing.

You may remember the issues that I had with Google and their Blogger platform in 2019. When I switched to my own domain and WordPress, it was thanks to Bill that I was hooked up with Patriot Hosting. He introduced me to Kyle and the rest is history. I will be forever grateful that he stepped up and made that introduction.

Bill was a mensch to use a Yiddish word in honor of his Jewish heritage. He was a man of honor and integrity, he was a patriot both in and out of uniform, and he stood up for what was right and opposed that which was wrong.

I am proud to be able to have called him a friend and I shall miss him.

Note: I don’t know whether there will be a memorial service or funeral. If I hear anything, I will post it as an update here.

Training Women To Shoot In Detroit

My friend Rick Ector and his cadre of volunteer instructors will again be holding his 12th annual shooting class for the women of Detroit this coming weekend (July 29th and 30th). The goal is to introduce and train 1,500 women to firearms.

Rick talks about the event in this interview with CBS News Detroit.

He gives some more details here:

The ladies FREE shooting event will be held on Saturday, July 29, 2023, and Sunday, July 30, 2023, at both the Top Gun Shooting Sports (22050 Pennsylvania Road in Taylor, Michigan) and Recoil Firearms (22509 Ecorse Road in Taylor, Michigan).

There will be no charge for the Firearm Instructor’s safety briefing, the usage of a firearm, ammunition, and range time. Participation is 100 percent free for all attendees. No prior firearms training or experience is required of the women who desire to take advantage of the lesson. Further, experienced women merely desiring to improve their marksmanship skills are also welcome to attend.

If you are in the metro Detroit area and wish to participate, you can register for the event here. I have many friends who will be there as instructors and I know they get as much out of this event as the students.

Worshipful Company of Gunmakers

The Worshipful Company of Gunmakers was incorporated by Royal Charter in 1637 to promote and regulate gunmaking. Unlike many of the old guilds and livery companies, it still performs that role through its management of The Proof House which is also known as the London Proof House.

According to its history, King Charles I bestowed the Royal Charter upon the Company. There had been an argument going back to the 1300s over which guild or company should govern gunmaking. The Blacksmiths and the Armourers each thought they should be the ones in charge. A royal commission was established and its recommendation was that an independent company be given the charter.

The Charter defined the role that the Gunmakers still play today. It created a proof mark, a stamp of the letters ‘GP’ surmounted by a crown. The mark is stamped on guns that meet the statutory safety requirements. Only the Company can bestow it, and it is illegal to sell a gun without a recognised proof mark. To administer proof, the Company was given broad powers of “search, gage, proof, trial and marking of all manner of hand guns in London or … imported from foreign parts”.  The power to search (with a constable) for unproved guns and seize them is still vested in the Company today.

The Proof House along with the Birmingham Proof House has the responsibility to proof barrels, to improve gun safety, and to certify de-activation of certain firearms. Proofing a barrel involves firing a proof cartridge through it that exceeds the maximum theoretical service pressure by anywhere from 25% to 50%. This is done remotely. After a reinspection of the barrel and making sure its measurements are still within spec, then it has the proof mark affixed.

From Worshipful Company of Gunmakers

The Worshipful Company of Gunmakers also certifies those that through training or apprenticeship can be called Gunmakers. The Gunmakers’ Certification requires a minimum of four years work in a specific gunmaking craft such as barrel making, engraving, or stockmaker. The candidate submits a portfolio of his or her work along with other evidence to a committee of Master Gunmakers for evaluation. If they pass, they are awarded the Certification. The Company also recognizes Master Gunmakers who usually have 20 or more years in the trade. Like the apprentices, they submit a portfolio. If they pass, they are deemed Master Gunmakers and can affix the title “MAsR.G” after their names. For example, it would be Mr. John Bull, MAsR.G.

I mentioned guilds and livery companies earlier. While many no longer serve to govern a trade, they still have a legal role in the governance of the City of London. They elect the Sheriffs, the Bridgemasters, and Ale Conners of the City of London and endorse the election of the Mayor of the City of London. As an aside, the term “livery” comes from the clothing and regalia adopted by the guilds and companies to distinguish themselves in times gone by.

The Worshipful Company of Gunmakers ranks number 73 in precedence. The oldest is the Worshipful Company of Mercers (general merchants) whose charter dates to 1394. Gunmakers rank ahead of lawyers, insurers, lightmongers, and tax advisors in terms of age and precedence. The responsibility for approving new livery companies is that of the Court of Alderman who act like an upper chamber in the legislative administration of the City of London. The primary role for most livery companies now is charity and education. Many also have affiliations with British military units. The Gunmakers, for example, are affiliated with the Light Dragoons.

I stumbled across a link to the Worshipful Company of Gunmakers from a posting on the forum. There had been a discussion of what gun shops and gunmakers to visit while in London.

One last note: the Gunmakers have been in their present location on Commercial Road in Aldgate, London since 1675. They were one of the few guilds or livery companies to have been located outside the old walls of the City of London but this was presumably done for safety reasons back in the day.

Dallas Safari Club Convention Moves To Atlanta In 2025

I received an email and video today from the Dallas Safari Club stating that their 2025 through 2029 conventions will be held in Atlanta, Georgia. The reason is that the City of Dallas will be doing a multi-year tear-down and rebuild of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.

From Corey Mason, CEO of DSC and the DSC Foundation:

As you heard in the video, DSC is moving our annual Convention to Atlanta, GA, beginning in 2025. We are extremely confident that the Georgia World Congress Center will be the premier site to deliver successful DSC Conventions to come!

Dates for the DSC Conventions in Atlanta will not change from those previously published, and we are certain you will continue to enjoy the southern hospitality, which has long been a hallmark of the DSC Convention. 
In addition to the annual Conventions to be held in Atlanta from 2025-2029, DSC is excited to announce that in 2025 we will begin hosting a second convention in Dallas each summer. Aligned with the DSC Foundation Gala, this Expo will feature many of our valued Exhibitor Partners, include evening events, and culminate with the annual DSC Foundation Gala on Saturday night.
While Dallas will always be home and we are very excited about the future of the new Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, DSC looks forward to the opportunity to take the greatest hunting and conservation show on the road for a few years. We cannot wait to see you in Dallas January 11-14, 2024, and encourage you to please make plans to join us in Atlanta beginning in 2025!

The video message goes into more detail.

I should note that the NRA held their convention in Atlanta in 2017 in the Georgia World Congress Center and it was a very nice facility. Likewise, both the NRA Annual Meeting and this year’s DSC Convention will be held in Dallas at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.

I know many Texans are upset at this move but I cannot say the same. I live about a 3.5 hour drive from Atlanta and am excited to be able to drive to the DSC Convention. Just as with SCI’s move of their convention to Nashville, I think it will expose DSC to a lot more people which is a good thing.

Having attended both DSC and SCI Conventions, they are similar yet different. This is not a slam at the SCI Convention but the Dallas Safari Club Convention seemed more open and friendly. I know that there were a lot more kids there when I attended it in Dallas in 2022. Kids under 16 accompanied by adult are free and day tickets for adults are much less expensive than SCI.

Those Damn Assault Revolvers!

I saw a tweet today from KCAL-TV that had me shaking my head. KCAL-TV is the CBS affiliate in Los Angeles, California. It was talking about a weapon recovered at the scene of a shooting.

An assault revolver with high cap mags? OMG!

Michael Bane has spoken in the past many times about a program that he and NSSF put on for journalists. It was to teach them the basics of firearms. I think it may be past time to bring it back.

On the other hand, seeing so-called journalists making stupid comments like this about firearms does illustrate my point about their naivete’ and stupidity. Unfortunately, too many of their listeners think they know of what they speak and believe them.