ATF Posts Rule On “Engaged In The Business” Today

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives has posted their rule (Document Citation 89 FR 28968) defining what they contend is “engaged in the business” of dealing firearms. The rule was posted in the Federal Register early this morning and will become effective on May 20, 2024. They assert this redefinition was forced upon them by the change in wording of a dealer put into the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. While both Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) contend this was not their intention, they were stupid enough to believe Chris Murphy and the rest of the gun prohibitionist Democrats.

Bill Sacks of the Second Amendment Foundation breaks down the new rule and provides an explanation of it. I should note the full PDF post of the ruling goes for 126 pages.

I have not read all 126 pages of the ruling. However, I did see that they had received 258,000 comments in favor of the rule with only 99,000 opposing it. That said, 98% of those in favor of the rule submitted boilerplate wording from one of the gun control corporate entities. By contrast, only 81% of the comments opposing the new rule were boilerplate meaning that those opposed to the rule were much more likely to submit a pertinent comment. It does bother me that the prohibitionists were able to generate 2 1/2 times more comments in favor of the rule than we did in opposition. Of course the numbers could have been reversed and the Department of Justice would still have ruled as they did. It is obvious reading the responses that we don’t count in this administration.

I fully anticipate organizations such as SAF, FPC, and GOA will file suit against this rule in the days to come. Now that Joseph Greenlee is the Director of Litigation for the NRA-ILA there is some hope that they will also file suit.

I did hear a suggestion today that we should overwhelm the ATF by having everyone pony up the $2-300 required for a 01 FFL and submit their application. You may remember that prior to the Clinton Administration raising the cost there were approximately 300,000 FFLs in the US. Today the number is between 50,000 and 80,000. It is an interesting approach but one I don’t think I’ll take.

Be Like Sam!

Today is the 249th anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord.

On that April day, 80 year old Samuel Whittemore, a veteran of both King George’s War and the French and Indian War, heard a relief column of British grenadiers from the 47th Regiment of Foot moving to assist the retreat of the British regulars from Concord. He fetched up his musket, loaded his dueling pistols, strapped on his sword, and set off to ambush them.

After killing three of the British soldiers, he was shot in the face, bayoneted multiple times, and left for dead. Being of a strong constitution, he recovered from his wounds and lived to the exceedingly ripe old age of 98.

I have quite a few years to go before I hit the age of 80. It is my hope to have some of that strength and fortitude shown by Samuel Whittemore on that April day when I turn 80. It is certainly something we should all aspire to have.

As an aside, I don’t know whether it was intentional or just mere happenstance but the BATFE’s new rule defining what it means to be “Engaged in Business” as a dealer of firearms was posted in the Federal Register today. The rule become effective on May 20, 2024. Maybe it is just me but I feel as though we have failed Samuel Whittemore and his fellow patriots who fought the British attempts at gun control.

NRA Foundation Enters Into Consent Decree With DC

The NRA Foundation which had been accused of diverting donations to the NRA entered into a consent decree today to settle a lawsuit brought by the Attorney General of the District of Columbia. The lawsuit was initially filed in 2020 by then-AG Karl Racine. Interestingly, this lawsuit was filed on the same day that New York Attorney General Letitia James had filed suit against the NRA itself.

According to the New York Times’ Danny Hakim, the NRA and its attorneys are portraying the consent decree as a win for the NRA.

The N.R.A., in a statement, portrayed the settlement as a victory, saying it had “proved that all funds” taken from its foundation “were applied exclusively in furtherance of its charitable programs and that there was no misuse” of resources.

Charles Cotton, the N.R.A.’s president, called the lawsuit a “political attack” and said his group had been vindicated, while the group’s lead outside lawyer, William A. Brewer III, called it a “politically motivated action.”

DC Attorney General Brian Schwalb obviously disagrees. In his own characterization of the consent decree, he said in his release:

“Donors are entitled to know that their charitable contributions will be used in furtherance of a nonprofit organization’s stated charitable mission. The NRA Foundation—the charitable arm of the NRA—violated this sacred public trust, allowing the NRA to use them as an unchecked piggy bank,” said Attorney General Schwalb. “Caving to pressure from the NRA, the Foundation diverted millions of dollars to the NRA in grants and risky loans that were repaid only after OAG filed its lawsuit. Tax-exempt nonprofits are a form of public trust—abusing that trust as the NRA did violates both the public interest and District law. Today’s outcome builds on our longstanding commitment to safeguarding nonprofit donors’ money and ensuring that all nonprofits operating in the District of Columbia follow the law.” 

His release notes that DC’s non-profit law doesn’t authorize the collection of penalties but rather seeks to bring the offending non-profit into compliance. The initial lawsuit included a demand for a constructive trust be placed over the assets loaned to the NRA, a modification of the Foundation’s governance policies, non-profit training for all of the Foundation’s board members, and a court-appointed monitor.

The consent decree, while not providing for a constructive trust or a court-appointed monitor, does include the other items.

Under the terms of the settlement, the NRA Foundation must:

  • Adhere to its articles of incorporation and bylaws in all decision-making processes, in and outside of formal Board meetings.
  • Conduct annual nonprofit compliance training for every Board member or officer.
  • Form an Audit Committee to ensure Foundation’s financial affairs are in order and work with an external auditor.
  • Establish a new conflict-of-interest policy.
  • Adopt new policies governing grantmaking, loans, shared services, and other activity with the NRA to ensure transparency, Foundation independence, and adherence to the Foundation’s nonprofit mission.
  • Report any Foundation policy changes to OAG within 30 days of approval for the duration of the agreement.

The consent decree (embedded below) also provides that any loan to the NRA above $250,000 must adhere to a conflict of interest policy that must be adopted within six months of today. Moreover, any grants to the NRA for program purposes require a written grant application, the grant must be used only for 501c3 permissible purposes, a post-grant accounting, and a return of any grant monies not used in accordance with the grant application. The Foundation must send copies of all the mandated policies to the DC Attorney General and failure to live up to any part of the consent decree will result in the case being reopened.

I really don’t see this as a win for the Foundation or the NRA as the DC Attorney General got most of what he wanted. The only win for the NRA came from avoiding the imposition of a court-ordered monitor. It seems the constructive trust would not be in play as the loans were repaid after the lawsuit was filed. If I had to hazard a guess, the NRA and Bill Brewer wanted this case off their plate so that they could focus on the second stage of the New York trial. I do wonder just how much money had been wasted on legal fees paid to Brewer, Attorneys and Counselors just to end up with a consent decree.


H/T NRA In Danger

Mike Helms On The S&W Model 1

I know Mike from my time with Grass Roots North Carolina. He is the guy who I reach out to when I need an alert sent out to round up volunteers to help with the GRNC booth at the Asheville Gun Show. It was not until recently I learned that he worked as a firearms historian.

In the video below, Mike is discussing the original Smith & Wesson revolver, the Model 1, with Ryan Gresham of Gun Talk Media. The one thing that amazed me was how many of these little revolvers were made by S&W. It was somewhere over 200,000!

More On CSG Plan To Purchase Kinetic Group

I have a number of posts up on the plans of the Czechoslovak Group (CSG) to purchase the ammunition producing portion of Vista Outdoor (Kinetic Group) as well as on a competing bid. In today’s Outdoor Wire, Jim Shepherd has a very interesting post about behind-the-scenes moves to sabotage the CSG acquisition of The Kinetic Group.

Yesterday, a pair of letters from CSG’s top management to a United States Senator and the CEO of the National Sheriffs Association seem to indicate there’s been a sophisticated PR campaign being waged against the CSG/Kinetic deal.

The letters address misconceptions, if not outright falsehoods, regarding the deal. They also raise another unanswered question: who’s trying to stop this deal?

Some Wall Street observers are saying- not for attribution- they suspect CSG’s being forced to address a disinformation campaign designed to drive the Vista Board of Directors to a possible alternative deal from MNC Capital Partners.

The US Senator is Sen. J. D. Vance (R-OH). In a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen dated January 24th, Vance asserts in the letter that he has reservations about the CSG purchase of the Kinetic Group due to CSG’s “alleged ties to the inner circle of Russian President Vladimir Putin.” These alleged ties are not connected to CSG’s ammunition business but rather its Tatra heavy truck component.

CSG CEO and owner Michal Strnad addressed these concerns in a letter to Sen. Vance yesterday.

He said, in part:

Senator, with all due respect, your assessment of us was profoundly mistaken. CSG is one of the most important private supporters of the Ukrainian military effort, a country to which we have supplied much-needed weapon systems dating back to 2018, well before the outbreak of open Russian aggression. Since the Russian army’s attack on Ukraine, we have supplied the Ukrainian Army – with the help of the government of the Czech Republic and other NATO countries, including the U.S. – over a hundred pieces of heavy equipment and, most importantly, hundreds of thousands of pieces of artillery ammunition, of which we are one of the most important European manufacturers….

any speculation about the CSG’s connection to the Putin regime should be considered nonsense. We nevertheless explicitly note that CSG has never had any ties to Putin’s regime and there is no reason why we would have such ties, given that we have never supplied any defense products to Russia. Past export of our civilian products – namely trucks for the mining industry – was negligible, and after the outbreak of Russian aggression against Ukraine, it was unilaterally terminated by us. CSG has also never violated any arms embargo and has never been investigated for doing so, let alone sanctioned.

We understand that the sale of major producers of small caliber ammunition to a foreign company, even if it is a company from a NATO member state that is a close ally of the U.S., attracts well-deserved attention. In today’s global world, however, it is not important which allied country the buying company is based, but what its track record is and what value it can bring to the American ammunition manufacturers associated in The Kinetic Group.

It now appears that Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) who usually is more thoughtful is jumping on the anti-CSG bandwagon. Yesterday, he sent a letter to Sec. Yellen questioning whether CSG had ties to China and added his concerns about a foreign company controlling so much of the market for primers. He goes on to add that this sale of the Kinetic Group to CSG could make Olin’s Winchester as the sole source supplier to run the Army’s Lake City Ammunition Plant.

I’m with Jim Shepherd on this. There seems to be a concerted effort to torpedo the CSG purchase of the Kinetic Group and you have to wonder why. The Czechs have become valued Nato partners and have great reason to hate the Russians. Moreover, there is little publicly available information about MNC who is the other suitor for the Kinetic Group.

About That Student Loan Forgiveness

The Complementary Spouse received an interesting email today. It dealt with President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan.

Hello my name is Benjamin Rivera on behalf of the Student-Loan Debt Department. We tried to contact you at your home and did not hear back. Your Student-Loans have been marked as eligible for forgiveness under the new 2024 guidelines. Your case number is #21825, and your file will remain open in my system for only one more day. If you could please give your dedicated eligibility line a call at: (8­­­­44-3­6­1­-60­39)

Thank You, Benjamin Rivera

There is only one tiny problem with Mr. Rivera’s email. There is nothing to forgive.

That is because the Complementary Spouse has never, ever had a student-loan. Moreover, she never received any calls at home from the “Student-Loan Debt Department.”

So take this as a warning that scammers are out there pushing supposed student-loan forgiveness when the reality is that they are trying to take your hard earned monies.

If You Argue The 2A Only Covers Muskets….

I came across this interesting cartoon on Reddit this morning. If you are deluded enough to presume that our Founders never intended for the Second Amendment to cover modern arms and it was only to cover arms in use as of 1791, then this is for you.

I would also note that despite what President Joe Biden asserts, we could always own cannons. Thus, have a cannon loaded with grapeshot would be perfectly acceptable to the Founders.

After viewing this short little video, those who contend only muskets and the like are covered by the Second Amendment might want to change their minds. The bodily damage done by the older weapons would try the skills of even the most accomplished trauma surgeon.

Kudos to “brilliant_garlic69” for creating this video.

NRA EVP Search Committee Plans Meeting (Updated)

NRA President Charles Cotton appointed a committee of insiders to search for an Executive Vice President and CEO back in February. This move by Cotton came after criticism he was seeking to circumvent the process in order to be named EVP himself. More importantly, as the letter from long-time director Bill Bachenberg makes clear, there was little to no input from the rest of the Board on this move.

Yesterday, an email came out that announced the EVP search committee would be meeting in Atlanta at the end of the month to hear from Board members on their ideas and insights about a new EVP. You can read the full email below:

As you know, on February 10th  President Cotton appointed the Executive Vice-President Search Committee, which he asked me to chair. The Committee has been working diligently to fulfill the charge given it by President Cotton to “determin[e] the process and timing of the selection of appropriate candidates to present to the Nominating Committee and, ultimately, the full Board of Directors.”

An important part of the Committee’s work has been to solicit and consider input from all Board members regarding the procedures to follow in making recommendations to the Board, including suggested names of candidates to consider as EVP. The Committee has sent two emails to all Board members asking for input, and as noted previously, that invitation is a continuing one.

The Committee also specifically extended an invitation to  all former NRA presidents and current President Cotton to appear personally before the Committee at the Committee’s next in-person meeting on April 13th to offer suggestions based on their unique perspective on the position of NRA EVP.

The Committee considers it extremely important also that every Board member have the opportunity to not only send ideas to the Committee, but to appear in person to offer their insights and ideas.

Board members are invited to attend a scheduled meeting of the EVP Search Committee on Saturday, April 27, 2024, beginning at 9:00 AM EDT.  This meeting will be held at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Atlanta Airport Hotel located at 4700 Southport Road, Atlanta, Georgia 30337. Board members who attend will be provided a reasonable opportunity to make a presentation and engage in dialogue with Committee members.

Please note that Board members will be responsible for their own travel and accommodation expenses. The Secretary’s Office will make every attempt to reserve a room at the hotel at NRA’s negotiated rate.

The Committee respectfully requests that any Board member wishing to attend the April 27th meeting inform Committee Secretary Nick Perrine by Friday, April 20, 2024, in order to allow for appropriate scheduling of the presentations.

Thank you for your dedicated service to our Association, and for your support of the Committee’s important task.   

Bob Barr

Chairman, EVP Search Committee

One must ask why the majority of the Board must travel to Atlanta at their own expense if they want to have a voice in the selection of the new Executive VP and CEO. They should have been heard from the very beginning as well as have been involved in the actual selection of the search committee. That they were not is another indication that the Old Guard aka the Cabal wants to maintain the status quo despite the jury in New York finding a breach of fiduciary duty. This presumably would include the continued employment of Bill Brewer and his firm.

Reading this email I was struck by the deference being paid to Charles Cotton and the past presidents of the NRA by the committee. They will be given a special opportunity on April 13th to make their voices be heard on the selection of the replacement for Wayne LaPierre. When Barr speaks of the “unique perspectives” of past presidents I would wager house money that he is not speaking about Ollie North or Pete Brownell. Rather he is referring to the Marion Hammers and others of the long-time “friends of Wayne” that allowed the problems currently facing the NRA to fester.

While it hasn’t been publicly mentioned, I have heard rumors that some of the Cabal are seeking bylaw changes that would exclude certain candidates from being considered. This would include the exclusion of former ILA General Counsel and Deputy Director Wade Callender who has the support of a number of GOP attorneys general as well as some on the Board itself. The rationale for keeping Callender out of the running for EVP is that he would be a change agent. The Old Guard’s desire is to keep everything as it is with them in charge regardless of how disastrous it is to the future of the NRA.

Rigging of the bylaws to exclude anyone should be a non-starter. It certainly is not in the interest of the members of the NRA which should be the primary consideration of this committee as well as the Board. However, what is in the interest of the members rarely seems to be given much consideration.

UPDATE: NRA In Danger has some very interesting comments on this meeting. Moreover, he (or she) notes that when the Legal Affairs Committee recently met in Fairfax they, too, had invited Board members to attend – at their own expense. They were there to hear from Brewer, Attorneys and Counselors, on how things went at the New York trial. One must wonder if anyone bothered to ask them how much it all cost and what the NRA was getting for its money.

I like the appeal for a reincarnated Harlon (Carter) and Neal (Knox) to return and lead the organization. Oh, how the Friends of Wayne would be howling like banshees if that were to occur!

Read the whole post!

New Products Released Today

A number of new products have been released today. They include a new trigger, a new innovative camo, and a specialty shotgun cartridge.

From Franklin Armory, makers of the binary trigger, comes the Trinary Firing System™. The video below shows just how it works. I’m sure it will please gun owners and infuriate anti-gunners.

From the Finnish company Varusteleka comes IanPat. This new camo pattern builds on the work done by Forgotten Weapons’ Ian McCollum.

Forget about those MultiCams and M05s already – brace yourself for the supremely historical and ultimately versatile camo pattern, IanPat! Together with Ian from Forgotten Weapons, we have developed this unique and innovative camouflage pattern that suits all terrains and needs.

Finally, from Fiocchi comes the Caw Caw Cawtridge. Available in 12, 20, 28, and .410 gauges, this shell is intended for crow hunting.

Engineered for maximum crow mortality, our new Caw Caw Cawtridge boasts a specially designed wad that delivers an exceptionally dense pattern in a shorter shot string compared to traditional shotshells. Through extensive research and development, we pushed the boundaries of innovation by not only enhancing the cartridges but also revolutionizing the packaging itself. Each box features an integrated App-based crow call with three popular calls: Feeding Crow, Fighting Crows, or Dying Crow, ensuring optimal results whether decoying birds in cornfields or hunting timber birds. Trust Fiocchi’s new Caw Caw Cawtridge to deliver devastating results against this uncanny foe!

When you absolutely, positively need to murder a murder, this is the cartridge for you!

As a reminder to everyone reading this post, remember the date.