Natasha Marcus Finds GRNC Takes No Prisoners

You may remember NC State Senator Natasha Marcus (D-Mecklenburg). She is the senator who contended that North Carolina’s pistol purchase permit system was not racist despite its origins and its disparate impact on African-Americans. In her floor debate, she also made the claim that the law stopped more than 2,300 permits from being issued in her county despite having passed a NICS check.

It was an outrageous claim and not surprising coming from someone proudly claiming to be a member of Moms Demand Action.

Using both FOIA requests and multiple letters to Sen. Marcus, Grass Roots North Carolina found that her claims were, as the saying goes, made out of whole cloth. In other words, she made it up.

Grass Roots North Carolina is now asking that she receive formal discipline by the North Carolina Senate for her false claims.

From GRNC:

Group Demands Disciplinary Action 

Against Sen. Natasha Marcus

NC State Senator propagates falsehood during floor 

debate over purchase permit repeal bill

[Raleigh] Grass Roots North Carolina today demanded disciplinary action by Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger against Mecklenburg County Senator Natasha Marcus after finding conclusive documentation that during the Senate floor debate over House Bill 398 (“Repeal Purchase Permits”), Marcus falsely claimed to have proof that repealing the purchase permit system would result in handguns purchased by unqualified buyers who pass the FBI computerized background check but otherwise “failed the permit application.”

FOIA requests to the Mecklenburg County Sheriff Office (MCSO) now conclusively demonstrate that the numbers claimed by Marcus are false, demonstrating that she mislead her colleagues and constituents alike during debate over the bill.

Below is the letter delivered today to Sen. Berger demanding formal disciplinary action under Article II, Section 20 of the North Carolina Constitution. Copies of the letter from MCSO documenting the falsehood as well as the legal memo from GRNC Director of Legal Affairs Ed Green are available upon request.

———————————–

September 8, 2021

The Honorable Phil Berger, President Pro Tempore

16 West Jones Street, Room 2007

Raleigh, NC 27601

Dear Senator Berger:

Grass Roots North Carolina has now received conclusive proof that in the August 18, 2021 Senate floor debate over House Bill 398 (“Repeal Purchase Permits”), Sen. Natasha Marcus used false information to  attack the bill. 

As documented in the recording we have posted at https://www.grnc.org/hb-398-audio, Marcus claimed background checks for pistol purchase permits (PPPs) are supposedly superior to those conducted under the FBI’s National Instant Background Check System (NICS), saying:

“In Mecklenburg County, in the last fiscal year, over 2,300 permit applications passed the NICS background check but failed the permit application. So if this bill passed, all 2,300 plus of those applicants will now have a new unrestricted pass to purchase a handgun…”

That assertion is false. As outlined in the attached letter from Mecklenburg County Sheriff Office Public Information Manager Janet Parker in response to a FOIA request by GRNC Director of Legal Affairs Ed Green, the number of permit denials claimed by Marcus is not of people who passed NICS but were denied by Sheriff Garry McFadden; in fact, it represents all permit denials for the fiscal year 2021, including those denied via NICS.

When questioned on the source of her information, Marcus failed to provide the data for eight days, claiming that her unspecified “source” was gathering documentation. Only in response to my open letter to the Senate did she claim the information was provided by Permitium, LLC lobbyist Andy Munn in a series of text messages for which she provided screen images.

When called out publicly, Marcus doubled down on her claim, saying: 

“You will see that the texts confirm exactly what I said on the floor: More than 2,300 permits were denied in Mecklenburg County during the last fiscal year due to issues that became apparent AFTER the applicant had passed a NICS check.  This proves that the permit check system is neither duplicative nor unnecessary. It is an important tool to keep handguns away from dangerous and unstable people and it saves lives.  Your efforts to eliminate it are reckless.”

But referencing the number of denials claimed (2,379) to have passed NICS but “failed the permit application”, MCSO’s Public Information Manager responded:

“The number of PPP application denials in your request appears to represent the total number of denials (or very close to the actual total) for the entire fiscal year, including denials based on NICS disqualifiers. MCSO does not keep records distinguishing reasons for denial contained within NICS and reasons for 

denial outside of NICS. Nor does the MCSO keep easily accessible records that indicate all of the reasons for a PPP application denial when there are multiple reasons for denying a single application.”

Facts about Mecklenburg County pistol purchase permit denials:

  • MCSO does not keep the statistic claimed by Marcus: Permitium lobbyist Andy Munn could not tell Marcus how many passed NICS but failed the application because MCSO does not enter or store that information.
  • Marcus’ claim covers all denials, including those stopped by NICS: The total number of denials was 2,378 including those stopped by NICS – one less than Marcus claimed “passed the NICS background check but failed the permit application.”
  • The denials do not mean 2,378 people couldn’t purchase handguns: Some reasons for denial, such as failure to pay the permit fee or sign the release, or failure to provide previously requested documentation, were probably cured in a subsequent application that resulted in issuance of a PPP.
  • Denials included 426 who weren’t residents of Mecklenburg County: These applicants were likely eligible to own firearms but simply applied in the wrong county.

Sen. Marcus should be held to account:

Because effective public policy relies on accurate, honest information, propagating false information to colleagues and constituents represents serious misconduct, particularly when the falsehoods are uttered in a floor debate to mislead legislative colleagues with respect to legislation under debate.

Accordingly, please consider this a request by Grass Roots North Carolina for Senate leadership to formally discipline Senator Natasha Marcus as authorized under Article II, Section 20 of the North Carolina Constitution, the authority for which is outlined in a January 9, 2008 North Carolina House of Representatives memo entitled “Authority of Legislative Bodies to Discipline Members.” 

Respectfully,

F. Paul Valone

President, Grass Roots North Carolina

Executive Director, Rights Watch International

Radio host, Guns, Politics and Freedom

Comments On Pistol Brace Ban End At 11:59pm EDT Tonight

The comment period on the BATFE’s proposed rule that would make virtually all firearms with a pistol brace a NFA item requiring both registration and a $200 tax closes tonight at 11:59pm Eastern Daylight Time.

If you have not submitted a comment, do it. The numbers are important and you know that Giffords, Brady, and the rest are pushing their useful idiots to submit comments. The latest reported number of comments was over 180,000. It needs to be more.

First, your comment needs to have the proposed rule number on it – ATF 2021R-08.

Second, while you can say “I oppose it” or “mah rights”, those will get overlooked. It is much better to pick one thing and expound on it. For example, you could say it discriminates against the disabled in violation of the Americans with Disability Act.

Third, the Second Amendment Foundation has put out a good “how to” list on making comments. Read it and then comments. Your comment need not be long.

Fourth, you might pick something from the public comments submitted by the SAF, the FPC, or the NRA and use that.

Fifth, use this link.

Finally, if all else fails, GOA has a pre-written comment which you can add on to that makes it easy to comment.

UPDATE: I have commented probably more than once. However, this is the comment that I submitted today. You can copy it if you wish.

Re: ATF 2021R-08

I object to the proposed rulemaking entitled “Factoring Criteria for Firearms With Attached “Stabilizing Braces””.

The factoring criteria are vague and contradictory. For example, what are features that prevent use as a shouldering device? Is it a spike that would make it painful to shoulder the pistol, is it a bare buffer tube for an AR pistol, or may it have a crutch tip on it? When you are creating factoring criteria for rulemaking that would involve criminal penalties, any hint of vagueness calls its constitutionality into question.

This rulemaking is not entitled to Chevron deference. As stated by Judge Karen Batchelor of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in GOA v. Garland, “But in 2014, the Court said, “we have never held that the Government’s reading of a criminal statute is entitled to any deference.” United States v. Apel, 571 U.S. 359, 369 (2014)(emphasis added) (citing Crandon v. United States, 494 U.S. 152, 177 (1990) (Scalia, J.,concurring in the judgment)). “Never” and “any” are absolutes, and the Court did not draw any distinctions, add any qualifiers, or identify any exceptions.”

By reclassifying pistols equipped with a brace that fail your vague factoring criteria as “short barreled rifles” as defined under Title 27 CFR Chapter II, §479.11 and thus must be registered under the Title 27 CFR Chapter II, §479.84 thru 86, you have now made it a criminal offense not to register and pay the tax on these pistols. Per 26 US 5871, violations carry a penalty of a $10,000 fine and up to 10 years imprisonment. If Congress wishes to add pistols equipped with arm braces to the National Firearms Act, that is their job and not yours.

Finally, the numbers of pistols with arms braces in circulation as described by the BATFE is approximately 2-3 million. This conflicts with both industry reports and that of the Congressional Research Service which puts estimates in the 10-40 million range. Your proposed rulemaking would thus make up to 40 million American citizens potential felons if this rule is adopted.

NRA Dissolution Lawsuit Promises To Get More Interesting

In June, Frank Tait and Mario Aguirre filed a motion seeking to intervene on behalf of NRA members in the NRA dissolution case brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James. Their contention, rightly in my opinion, was that no one was adequately representing the approximately five million NRA members.

As you might expect, both the Attorney General and the NRA have objected to this. A hearing is currently scheduled for September 9th to hear arguments relating to this motion.

Last year, I had some discussions with others who were interested in seeing an intervenor motion filed in the dissolution lawsuit. One of the major issues brought up was that there was some doubt that under New York that members themselves would have standing. It was thought that only a sitting director would have standing to intervene in the dissolution lawsuit.

We now know, thanks to a letter filed this afternoon with the court by Taylor Bartlett, attorney for Tait and Aguirre, that this issue will now be off the table. There will be one, if not two, sitting directors joining the motion to intervene on behalf of the members of the NRA.

451625_2020_People_of_the_State_of_v_People_of_the_State_of_LETTER___CORRESPOND_334-1

William Brewer himself, the world’s most brilliant attorney according to some of the lesser minds on the NRA board, wasted no time filing a letter to the judge stating that he found the request for leave by the intervenors to file an amended motion “improper”. He then indicates in so many words that the NRA is prepared to fight this motion.

I have been told confidentially the name of one of the potential directors who will be joining in the motion to intervene. As such, I respect that trust and will hold off on announcing the name until it is announced in the court proceedings.

I would also point you to a post this afternoon by David Codrea concerning this letter to the court by Taylor Barlett for his take on it.

Tactical Flashlights Reviewed

The days are getting shorter and the nights are getting longer. Combine that with Labor Day sales and it is time to start looking at new tactical flashlights.

I was recently sent a Fenix PD36 TAC for review. It is a 3000 lumen tactical flashlight powered by a rechargeable lithium ion battery. It has the usual features such as various power settings along with a strobe mode. The battery is recharged using a mini-USB cable instead of a separate recharging device.

I have not had the time yet to give it the rigorous tryout that it deserves.

However, Kevin Creighton has done a review of a number of tactical flashlights. While this model is not on his list, he does look at the Fenix PD35 TAC which is a less powerful light (1000 lumens vs. 3000 lumens).

The testing regimen that Kevin has done on tactical flashlights for his blog at Ammoman.com is very rigorous. It goes far beyond just using the light for a few days. He does everything from a drop test to beam pattern to testing while actually shooting.

If you are in the market for a tactical flashlight, I would urge you to read his objective comparisons before making a purchase.

A Trip Down Remington Memory Lane

Way back in the day before Remington was owned and run into the ground by Cerberus they made a pistol designed by John Pederson. It was called the Model 51 and was chambered in either .32 ACP or .380 ACP. Most importantly, it actually worked.

Not content with the 1911 pistols it was selling under its own label and that of Para-USA, Remington decided to reintroduce the R51 in 9mm in late 2013 and started to hit the market in early 2014. While the pre-production prototype models got generally good reviews, when it came to the production models it was hit and miss. Actually, it was mostly miss. So many were sent back to be fixed that they announced a voluntary recall. Not only did they promise to fix it but you would get it back with a Pelican case!

Thanks to a post on Facebook, I came across this YouTube which had me laughing so hard that the Complementary Spouse had to ask whether I was OK.

I miss the old Gun Nation Podcast where the R51 and its Pelican case were the source of a running joke between Doc Wesson and the rest.

H/T Richard J.

Gov. “Jim Crow” Cooper Vetoes Repeal of Jim Crow Law

As most of us expected, Gov. Roy “Jim Crow” Cooper (D-NC) vetoed HB 398 which would have repealed the 1919 pistol permit purchase law. That law was enacted by an all white, all Democrat, white supremacist General Assembly within months of a riot involving African-American WW I vets demanding their rights. The co-sponsor of the bill, Sen. Earle A. Humphreys (D-Goldsboro), was the brother-in-law of US Sen. Furnifold Simmons who was the architect of the Democrat’s white supremacy campaign begun in 1898.

It was men like these veterans who terrified the white supremacists. They had been to war, they had defeated the Kaiser, and they had seen Paris so to speak.

National Archives

In his veto message to the General Assembly, Cooper said:

“Gun permit laws reduce gun homicides and suicides and reduce the availability of guns for criminal activity. At a time of rising gun violence, we cannot afford to repeal a system that works to save lives. The legislature should focus on combating gun violence instead of making it easier for guns to end up in the wrong hands.”

Bear in mind that the repeal of the law was endorsed by the North Carolina Sheriffs Association and that all sales of handguns from dealer go through a NICS check by the FBI. Indeed, once in possession of a pistol purchase permit which is good for five years, there is nothing to stop either a felon or someone convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor from purchasing a handgun from a dealer or a private individual. The pistol purchase permit substitutes for a NICS check and would cover up the lie told by the convicted individual.

The law still requires the sheriff of the county to attest to the “good moral character” of the applicant. In counties with hundreds of thousands of residents or even a million plus, can Cooper and those opposed to the repeal of this law honestly say the sheriff really knows the residents enough to attest to “good moral character”? I think not.

As research on the application of the law in North Carolina’s most populous county – Wake – shows, blacks are still much more likely to be denied a permit than whites. Thus, while laws that are supported by both black and whites regarding voter ID are called discriminatory and “Jim Crow”, an actual Jim Crow law designed by its sponsors to discriminate against blacks and which it still does is vetoed.

A friend elsewhere commented that the pistol purchase permit is nothing but a poll tax on an enumerated right. He was right. The 24th Amendment to the US Constitution eliminated the poll tax for voting but Cooper’s action today keeps it in place with regard to the Second Amendment.

UPDATE: Paul Valone, President of Grass Roots North Carolina, released this statement on Cooper’s veto of HB 398:

“By vetoing House Bill 398 to repeal our Jim Crow-era pistol purchase system, Governor Roy Cooper has made it clear he places political posturing above actually taking action to eradicate racism. He has also shown that he doesn’t care about the thousands of North Carolinians who, amid civil unrest and “defund police” measures, have decided to buy guns to defend their families but are being obstructed by urban sheriffs who violate the law by delaying permits.

“Most ironic is Cooper’s claim that he vetoed the bill due to increasing ‘gun violence’ when, in truth, violent crime had been declining for decades until his own party caused urban homicide rates to skyrocket. Grass Roots North Carolina will be doing its dead level best to over-ride Cooper’s veto while showing the people of North Carolina exactly who their governor really is.”

Giving The NYAG More Ammo

The saga of the Directors and Officers liability insurance for the NRA Board of Directors continues. As I wrote almost two months ago, Lloyds of London refused to renew the existing policy. In the interim, the board voted to set up a $5 million contingency fund. The inadequacy of this fund was the impetus for Buzz Mills’ resignation from the board.

Now there are reports that that NRA leadership said that they have a policy which leads us to the latest controversy. It was based upon an email sent in early August to board members from Secretary and General Counsel John Frazer saying that they had obtained Directors and Officers liability coverage.

The blog NRA In Danger reports that board member Rocky Marshall has been asking Frazer for a copy of the new policy that supposedly protects them. He has been stonewalled despite making five or more requests for a copy of the policy in both writing and verbally.

From NRA In Danger:

August 17, director Marshall writes a rebuttal, repeating that a director’s right of inspection is absolute, and no employee-officer has a right to proclaim the corporation’s records “confidential” against a director. Frazer in a phone call said that bloggers would write negative articles if the policy were released. Marshall answers, “To use this as an excuse for not releasing information that I have requested is creating an artificial barrier that prevents me from performing proper oversight. This also increases the risk for the NRA because the NYAG lawsuit continues to highlight the lack of oversight from the NRA Board of Directors.”

 Marshall adds, inspection at Fairfax HQ is hardly feasible for a director a thousand miles away., at a time of Covid-19. Inspection at the Houston meeting is insufficient; he wants his attorney to look it over.

“This email is another demand for a copy of the Declaration page of the D&O policy. I would be grateful to receive this copy via email or a hard copy mailed to my physical address. Failure to provide a copy of the D&O policy is unacceptable regardless of the contrived reasons that you have outlined in your email.’

Yesterday, August 27, Marshall sent the entire email exchange to the board, after waiting ten days for a reply that never came.

Damn bloggers. We are the bane of both Tara Chipman’s and John Frazer’s existence.

Now to the core of the issue. Does a director have a right of inspection of corporate records which would include the D&O policy in question?

The answer is unequivocally yes according to the NY Court of Appeals which is the highest court in New York. Given that the NRA is a non-profit incorporated under New York law, these rulings control.

That court said in 1955 in Matter of Cohen v. Cocoline Products (309 N.Y. 119 (Ct of Apps 1955)) that it was an “absolute, unqualified right, having its roots in the common law, to inspect their corporate books and records” More recently, in Matter of Brenner v. Hart Systems (493 N.Y.S.2d 881, 114 A.D.2d 363 (Ct of Apps 1985)), the Court of Appeals found that directors had the absolute and and unqualified right to “inspect and examine corporate books and records.” It then went on to say that Brenner would suffer irreparable harm if denied this right. This case centered on Brenner’s demand to see the accounting records to determine whether they were inadequate and whether there were irregularities and/or improprieties. In the context of the NRA, that makes that case highly relevant!

In some ways I do feel for John Frazer. He has been named as a co-defendant by the New York Attorney General in the dissolution complaint for “negligence”, was called “unprepared to manage the legal and regulatory affairs of the NRA”, was said to be ignorant of New York non-profit law, and has been accused of many other failures to adequately do his job. To add insult to injury, he was paid about half of what Josh Powell was paid by the NRA. This despite Powell’s reputation for being incompetent, a sexual harrasser, and really kind of dumb except when it came to his own self-preservation.

That said, Frazer’s loyalty to Wayne and Wayne’s wishes will be his and the NRA’s undoing. If Frazer’s refusal to provide a copy of the insurance policy to Marshall when Marshall has an absolute right to see it doesn’t come up in court, I’d be very surprised. You know the NY Attorney General’s Office is already watching every action or inaction by the NRA, its officers, and the board like a hawk. This is just one more thing to add to the argument for dissolving the NRA.

One last comment. Thanks to the postponement of the NRA Annual Meeting, Rocky Marshall remains a director of the NRA with all its rights, privileges, and obligations because his term of office does not end until the Annual Meeting takes place.