Much Ado About Nothing

The Brady Campaign, CNN, and the cult of personality known as Giffords are all in a tizzy that an BATFE official actually reached out to a lobbyist for comments. You may remember the white paper written by BATFE Associate Deputy Director Ron Turk that suggested items for discussion with regard to firearms regulations. The white paper was released after the inauguration of President Trump. It is to be noted that Ron Turk has always maintained that the items discussed in the paper were not official policy but rather items for discussion that he proposed.

According to CNN, after writing his initial draft of the white paper, Turk sent it to firearms lobbyist Mark Barnes for comments.

“If I am missing the mark on a major issue or disregarding a major discussion point any feedback you have would be appreciated,” Turk wrote to the lobbyist, Mark Barnes, on January 9, 2017. “My hope is that the agency can demonstrate flexibility where appropriate and identify areas for further discussion, recognizing that solving everyone’s concerns on each side would be difficult.”

Some of the suggestions from Barnes were included in the final draft of the white paper. Things like allowing dealers to use the NICS system to run background check on their own employees and a re-examination of a 20-year old sporting use study in light of the sporting uses of AKs and ARs. However, things that Barnes also suggested like loosening restrictions on the imports of SKS carbines and Makarov pistols from Russia were not included.

I think what has the gun control lobby and their enablers in the media so upset is that they weren’t approached for suggestions.

From Avery Gardiner of the Brady Campaign:

“I was surprised to see that the draft document had been emailed out to a gun industry lawyer and the final product took his suggestions as edits — without any disclosure of that until we went to court to get these documents,” said Avery W. Gardiner, co-president of the Brady Center. …

“There was a secret white paper that was partially written by the gun lobby. That’s exactly the kind of thing the Freedom of Information Act is supposed to address — transparency of government,” Gardiner said.

And from David Chipman, the former BATFE Special Agent who now works for Giffords, who is dismayed by the revelation:

“An independent ATF is critical to this nation’s security. The white paper suggests that the gun industry’s quest for power and influence has trumped public safety,” Chipman said.

An interesting side note on Chipman, he is a 1984 graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy – the ultra-expensive, ultra-upper class, prep school. I’m having a little bit of cognitive dissonance over a preppy actually getting his hands dirty working for a lackluster agency like BATFE. Isn’t that a little beneath a graduate of Phillips Exeter?

Back to the story in question, think back to the Obama Administration and all the photo ops and meeting held with the gun control industry. They were quite numerous. I think the problem here is that they are miffed to be on the outside looking in as opposed to the good old days when they had a seat at the table.

The CNN story does have link to all the drafts of the white papers if you are interested. They have also included a video on the page that seems like an outright editorial call for universal background checks. As Glenn Reynolds has often said they are Democratic operatives with a byline. I’d modify it to include gun control advocates with a byline.

Hmmm. Very Interesting. Trouble In (Gun Control) Paradise?

There is that old saying that says keep your friends close but your enemies closer.

In that spirit, I read with interest that Dan Gross has stepped down as the president of the Brady Campaign. He was the ad executive brought in to replace Paul Helmke as president back in early 2012 after a long search. Gross will be replaced by Co-Presidents Kristin Brown and Avery Gardiner.

Historically, the presidents of the Brady Campaign have been men since its formation in 1974 as the National Council to Control Handguns. Sarah Brady’s role was as chair of the organization from 1989 until her death in 2015.

I wonder if the switch to female co-presidents has something to do with what seems to be the female centric nature of the gun prohibitionists. Even beyond Moms Demand Action, any rally, protest, gathering, etc. seems to be composed primarily of women. I don’t know but it seems to have some logic to it.

Here is the press release from the Brady Campaign announcing the changes.

Board of The Brady Campaign and Center to Prevent Gun Violence Appoints Two Internal Executives to Lead Organization

Board Chair says “Mission to cut gun deaths has never been more urgent.”

WASHINGTON, DC – September 6, 2017 — The Board of Trustees of The Brady Campaign and Center to Prevent Gun Violence announced today it has appointed Kristin Brown and Avery Gardiner, as Co-Presidents of the Washington, D.C., nonprofit.

“The Brady Campaign and Center’s mission to cut gun deaths in half by 2025 has never been more urgent,” said Kevin Quinn, Chairman of the Board. “Brady has a focused strategy to prevent gun violence, and we need strong leaders with exceptional strategic and operational skills to achieve our goals. We have those leaders in Kristin and Avery. We are confident in the appointment of these two executives to lead this great community of Brady advocates and our organization.”

Brown and Gardiner will lead the organization from Washington, with a renewed focus on Brady’s three strategic campaigns to: (i) expand Brady background checks to all gun sales; (ii) change the cultural perception that a gun in the home makes you safer; and (iii) shut down or reform the small number of bad apple gun dealers that supply the vast majority of our nation’s crime guns. The new leadership brings extensive experience in law, policy, and public health, all of which are critical to leading these three campaigns, which have a core focus in each of those areas.

Kristin Brown was previously the Brady Campaign’s Chief Strategy Officer. She began her tenure at Brady as the National Policy Director and has a corporate, policy and legal background, having worked on Capitol Hill for more than 8 years where violence prevention and public health were two of her chief policy issues. Brown served for many years as a member of the Executive Management Board and Chief Legal Officer to a global logistics/airline services company based in Switzerland and, prior to that, represented companies in complex litigation and restructuring cases at the law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges.

Avery Gardiner was previously the Brady Center’s Chief Legal Officer. She has been responsible for shaping and driving the organization’s legal strategy, as well as providing legal advice to all of the organization’s departments. She brings extensive litigation and strategic experience to the Brady Center, having litigated and provided strategic advice as a lawyer for a Fortune 15 telecommunications company and at the United States Department of Justice in addition to past roles at major national law firms.

Both Brown and Gardiner already served on Brady’s Executive Management Team.

The Board accepted the resignation of Brady’s immediate past president, Dan Gross, who will remain with the organization to assist with the transition. According to the Chair of the Board, “Mr. Gross has been an important and influential leader in the gun violence prevention movement for many years, has led Brady, and leaves the organization poised for even greater success. We are grateful for Mr. Gross’s service to this issue and organization and wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

The appointment is effective immediately.