Interesting Times

David Codrea published the following tweet earlier today. As he was out of town and wouldn’t be available to respond, he said he wouldn’t name names. If it turns out to be false, he said it would be on him. That said, remember he was one of the people who broke open Project Gunwalker aka Operation Fast and Furious.

This will be very interesting so I plan to keep checking Twitter and doing Google searches over the next few days.

What Is This World Coming To?

A couple of weeks ago I got two emails on the same day from reporters at Bloomberg’s TheTrace.org asking about a blog post I had written. While I did give them a clarification on one item, I kinda ignored the request to put them in touch with my sources on the NRA Board of Directors.

Then yesterday, a friend sent me a link to an article in Slate.com regarding Marion Hammer’s condescending email about those purged from their committees on the NRA Board. It included this paragraph.

One day later, NRA board member and Soldier of Fortune magazine founder and publisher Robert K. Brown reported on Facebook that he had been removed from the Grassroots Development Committee, the Veteran’s Affairs Committee, and the Legislative Policy Committee. “[Nobody] in the NRA power structure has the guts to explain to me why this was done,” Brown wrote at the time. “NRA leadership lacks any moral character and basically falls under the label of loathsome toads.” (Blogger John Richardson reported that Brown had maintained assignments on the Publications Committee and the Special Contributions Committee. Brown declined to comment to Slate, but said he is a board member.)

What the hell is this world coming to when those with paid jobs in the media have to reach out to us citizen journalists and/or quote our work? I think it would amuse the late Mike Vanderboegh given the work that he, David Codrea, and Dave Workman did in exposing Project Gunwalker aka Operation Fast and Furious.

No More Rights Watch Column At Guns Magazine?

Readers of Guns Magazine will soon notice a longtime feature missing or changed. The Rights Watch column written and edited by David Codrea will be gone.

From David’s blog War On Guns:

I received an email this morning from the editor at GUNS Magazine informing me “we are going a different direction with Rights Watch and will no longer need your column.” This isn’t that much of a surprise. I have actually been expecting the hammer to drop ever since they “parted ways” with my former editor and magazine mentor Jeff John earlier this year.


I know that I write for a niche within a niche and have a feeling that was a factor. It’s their right to run their magazine as they see fit and I’ll be interested to see what that “different direction” turns out to be.

As a longtime reader and subscriber to Guns Magazine I think this sucks. It was always one column that I didn’t miss nor do I think one should miss. Given David’s leading role along with the late Mike Vanderboegh and Dave Workman in exposing Operation Fast and Furious, it doesn’t make sense to me. 

Document Of The Day

After the murders in Sutherland Springs, Texas by the former airman, the only record you could find about his court martial was a two page summary  The former airman was a prohibited person but the US Air Force neglected to forward the records on to the FBI’s NICS System. As I noted at the time, if he had been charged with this crime in a civilian court not only would his records have been sent to the FBI but it was highly likely that he’d still be in prison.

Thanks to the efforts of David Codrea and attorney Stephen Stamboulieh the Air Force was forced to release the entire 610 page court transcript. Codrea had made a request for it under the Freedom of Information Act but the Air Force and the Department of Justice refused to release it. He sued in US District Court for the District of Columbia with the aid of Stephen Stamboulieh. The suit was filed in January of this year and the Air Force has finally released a record of the trial proceedings.

As Codrea noted in an article about the release:

The refusal to comply with the FOIA, forcing the filing of a complaint to obtain requested documents, points to a desire to cover up a record that shows the Air Force knew his crimes rose to the level of required reporting. (An attached motion alleging “illegal pretrial confinement and punishment” is also something they probably weren’t eager to see come to light).

This was clearly a damaged, a violent, and of relevance, a guilty young man, and as we’ve seen in similar cases, the government knew about him. They nonetheless failed to report to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, allowing the killer to purchase firearms from a Federal Firearms Licensee without the system flagging him.

What this and similar reporting failures acting as catalysts for “Fix NICS” and other legislation fail to account for is that ultimately, being a “prohibited person” cannot stop anyone so inclined from obtaining a gun. If it could, we wouldn’t see regular headlines about “gun violence” from places like Chicago.

I would urge readers to go to Ammoland and read the whole article. Then they should start scanning the trial transcript. It makes for interesting reading.

As a refresher, David Codrea and the late Mike Vanderboegh were the citizen journalists who broke the story on the Obama Administration’s Operation Fast and Furious which allowed firearms to go to Mexican cartels and which resulted in the deaths of two Federal law enforcement officers and untold numbers of Mexican nationals.

Reclassification Of Bump Stocks By BATFE – Comments Due By January 25th

As many already know, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives anticipates opening a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking with regard to bump fire stocks to clarify whether or not they meet the definition of a machine gun under the National Firearms Act of 1934 and the Gun Control Act of 1968. Before they release any proposed rule, they are seeking comments from manufacturers, retailers, and consumers. These must be received by midnight EST on January 25, 2018.

The Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking with the questions to be answered is here. All comments must include this identification number – 2017R-22. Comments can be submitted online, by fax, or by US Mail. So far, 2,309 comments have been received. Here is the link to submit them online. It also allows you to upload a document.

These are the questions that they have for consumers:

Consumers

21. In your experience, where have you seen these devices for sale and which of these has been the most common outlet from which consumers have purchased these devices (e.g., brick and mortar retail stores; online vendors; gun shows or similar events; or private sales between individuals)?

22. Based on your experience or observations, what is (or has been) the price range for these devices?

23. For what purposes are the bump stock devices used or advertised?

 Gun law attorney Adam Kraut had these suggestions for responding to the ANPRM. Adam has more on the notice here.

Comments vary in form, length, and specificity. However, there are some things that a person submitting a comment will want to consider. Specificity is key. Providing a basis for the support or opposition to a proposed rule is crucial. Citing to studies or other evidence-based information is useful to show the agency why or why not a proposed rule is useful. In the instance of an ANPRM, responding to the specific questions posed by the agency is a particularly good strategy (not to say a commenter could not and should not go broader in their response). Regulations.gov has some more tips.

As important as comment “dos” are, there is one comment “don’t” that should be avoided: the Form Letter. As comment periods are not a measure of “popularity”, flooding the agency with form letters do not serve a useful purpose in the rulemaking process. A comment that is well reasoned is a much better avenue to pursue and not very difficult.

David Codrea has his take on the notice of rulemaking here.

The danger in this anticipated rulemaking is the same as it is with the proposed bills banning bump stocks before Congress:  where does it stop? With the Slidefire Bump Stock or will it go further to mean any modification that could increase the rate of fire of a semi-automatic firearm? Because of this, it is important that we comment.

While it might feel good to tell the BATFE to just f*#k off, go away, and mind the letter of the law, that will get us nowhere. It will be expressly ignored as it includes profanity. I think Adam’s approach to address some part of the questions asked is a good one. These cannot be ignored as readily. I think the key thing is to kill the attempt to issue a rule before it gets off the ground. That is better than having to respond to an actual proposed rule which is more likely to be adopted.

David Codrea On Robert Mueller And Gunwalking

David Codrea along with the late Mike Vanderboegh were the two independent journalists who helped bring Operation Fast and Furious to the light of day. I doubt there is anyone around today who has a better knowledge of it than David. Thus, it was with great interest that I saw a post by David at Ammoland.com asking about former FBI Director Robert Mueller’s role in the affair.

The key part:

He (Mueller) was asked to stay on beyond his 10-year term by Barack Obama, curiously just as things were starting to heat up on the Operation Fast and Furious investigations by the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. “Gunwalking” and the Brian Terry murder took place on his watch, and Mueller’s FBI, with its confidential informants being tracked as suspects by ATF, was up to its neck in things.


Outrageously, there is no reason to expect Congress to be any more successful at exposing the full truth than they have been so far at holding Eric Holder accountable for his Fast and Furious obstruction. Nor, as we see from the preponderance of agenda reporting, lies of omission and outright fake news can establishment media be relied on. As with the original Fast and Furious reporting, expect new revelations to come from independent efforts while those with the mass reach fall back on deliberate indifference and hoping not too many notice.

 David notes that Mueller condemned the Supreme Court’s decision in DC v. Heller. It may be just a coincidence and it may be that Mueller along with Eric Holder was helping to pull the strings. We just don’t know. However, I will say that David rarely speculates without substantial evidence in hand.

David goes on to add that an independent film that had been shelved dealing with Operation Fast and Furious is being resurrected.

See David’s post for the complete story on the film and on Mueller.

Another Illegal Mayor Pleads Guilty And Resigns

David Codrea reports that yet another of Mayor Bloomberg’s Illegal Mayors has resigned after pleading guilty. This time it was Patterson, NJ Mayor Jose (Joey) Torres who plead guilty to criminal conspiracy for using city workers to perform work on city time at a warehouse owned by his family.

However, former Mayor Torres was not just any old member of MAIG. As David reports, Joey Torres was one that got special recognition.

When he was mayor of New York City, Bloomberg actually called Torres out for special recognition in a “State of the City” address:

“Today, we’re joined by the mayor of Paterson, Jose (Joey) Torres. Mayor Torres, New York City offers its deepest condolences to you and your city. And we’ll also join you in working to bring sanity to gun policy in our nation. Next week, more than 50 mayors from across the country — who are part of our coalition of Mayors Against Illegal Guns — will gather in Washington, D.C., to take up this challenge.

“And I’m happy to say that Mayor Torres will be with us. Our goal will be getting Congress to overturn a wrong-headed law — one that blocks access at the local level to federal data that would let us hold gun dealers accountable for illegally selling to gun traffickers. Mayor Torres and I have a simple message for Congress: It’s time to take ideology out of crime-fighting and time to give mayors — the people who are responsible for policing our streets — the tools we need to protect our citizens.”


In other words, not content to disregard the Bill of Rights in their own ruined corners of the Republic, they’re intent on imposing their edicts everywhere, in Everytown, bending everyone to their will. And as for that “wrong-headed law” Bloomberg and Torres sought to overturn? If they do, they’re likely to screw things up and get people killed:

“Both BATFE and the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) oppose release of trace data. In fact, BATFE has fought for years in the federal courts to keep trace records confidential, because they contain information (such as names of gun buyers) that could jeopardize ongoing investigations—not to mention law enforcement officers’ lives.”

The “wrong-head law” was the Tiahrt Amendment which put limits on the release of BATFE firearm traces.

When you think about it there are a couple of reasons as to why these mayors are so anti-gun. First, they want to do everything they can to minimize challenges to their power. Second, given their level of criminal misconduct they probably think most people are like them and shouldn’t have a gun.

This And That

I was out of town at the end of last week at a company meeting. I missed that the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee was having a hearing regarding the death of ICE Special Agent Jaime Zapata. However, David Codrea didn’t miss it nor the fact that two BATFE officials on their own accord skipped the meeting despite being “invited” to appear.

He (former Agent Vince Cefalu) was referring to Thursday’s appearance (video below) before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Activities by Thomas E. Brandon, Acting Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The hearing was held to further explore the ambush murder of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent Jaime Zapata by cartel operatives in Mexico, where “straw-purchased” guns allowed by ATF to “walk” across the border were recovered from the scene.

Two of Brandon’s agents, Associate Deputy Director Ronald Turk and Dallas Field Division Special Agent in Charge William Temple, were no-shows to the hearing. They decided on their own not to come testify, and Brandon informed Committee Chair Jason Chaffetz that he agreed with their decision.

Recognizing a continuation of the stonewalling that was dragged on for years by ATF and the Department of Justice under the Obama administration, Chaffetz was having none of it. He immediately issued subpoenas for Temple and Turk to appear on March 22.

Ronald Turk, you may recall, is the one who wrote a white paper discussing, among other things, removing suppressors from the NFA. You’d think a guy who is clearly aiming to be named the new Director of BATFE would want some face time with Congress even if it wasn’t going to be all favorable.

I also missed that Remington Arms Company is again laying off employees at their Ilion, New York plant due to slowing sales. My friend Rob Morse didn’t miss it. He noted:

Remington Arms is moving out of anti-gun New York..one layoff at a time. They expand their production in Alabama during a market increase, and cut from the New York plant during the downturns. I guess elections have consequences as New York voters raised both the price of doing business and of owning a gun in NY.

If you listen to the news lately, you would think that the mainstream media has been teleported to the 1950s with all the hysteria over Russia. It is almost like that 60s move The Russians are Coming! The Russians are Coming! Lest you think that we in the gun culture are exempt from the Russian hysteria, Sebastian discusses a Daily Beast article trying to tie the NRA to Vlad (the Impaler) Putin.

I did work the GRNC booth Saturday morning at the Asheville Gun Show. While our business was a bit slow, the crowds seemed bigger than this time last year. I don’t know whether it was bargain shopping on the part of attendees or because we were supposed to get snow Saturday night.

I didn’t check the prices of ARs at the show but they did seem down at the Winston-Salem show I attended the preceding weekend. If anyone is looking for an AR15, now is as good a time as you’ll ever get to buy one. I have seen Ruger AR-555s selling under $500 at multiple locations, off-brands for under $400, and the S&W M&P-15 in the low $500 range. If you want to look for deals, check the Reddit sub group called gun deals.

Obituary And Remembrances

Mike Vanderboegh passed away earlier today after a long battle against cancer. His good friend David Codrea published these two remembrances of Mike in AmmoLand and OathKeepers.

You can find the AmmoLand one here and the OathKeepers one here.

David is correct:  the freedom movement did lose an important voice.

The “official” obituary was published in the Birmingham News today. I have reprinted it in its entirety below:

Michael Brian Vanderboegh



July 23, 1952 – Aug. 10, 2016 born July 23, 1952 in St. Joseph, Michigan, resident of Pinson, Alabama, survived by wife, Rosey, son, Matthew Bradley (Nicole) of Wiesbaden, Germany; daughters Hannah Rose (Brandon Vanslambrouck) and Zoe Kate Vanderboegh all of Pinson, Alabama; and grandsons, Mason Brennan of Youngstown, Ohio and Gabriel Michael, and granddaughter Olivia Laura, both of Weisbaden, Germany; mother, Norma Vanderboegh; brother, Dwight Vanderboegh (Cheryl); sister, Teresa Lehman (Jim). He was preceded in death by his father, Donald Vanderboegh and sister, Meri Kay Vanderboegh. Longtime 2nd Amendment activist, author, citizen journalist, and blogger who, with David Codrea, first broke the story of the Fast and Furious scandal in December 2010. Resident of Alabama since 1985, Mike was also an historian, amateur archaeologist, and researcher of Alabama’s civil war history, especially the unionists of Winston County. He was the founding historian of La Grange Living History Association, a founding member of the 1st Alabama Union Calvary Company C reenactment unit and active in local historical preservation issues. More recently, Mike was the founder of the National Three Percent Movement and led armed civil disobedience actions from Connecticut to Oregon, smuggling forbidden firearms magazines to states that banned them. Controversial throughout his life, he was constantly devoted to the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. An adamant enemy of collectivism of all kinds, he was denounced by Bill Clinton on CNN, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Anti-Defamation League of Bnai Brith, Rachel Maddow of MSNBC, as well as the Ku Klux Klan, the Aryan Nations and various racists and anti-Semitic groups. He was also very unpopular with the ATF and the FBI. In 2005, he served with the Minutemen on the New Mexico border and was always proud to say that he had been on the enemy’s list of the past three White Houses regardless of party. As his friend Kurt Hoffmann said, “it is better to be despised by the despicable than admired by the admirable.” He described himself as a citizen first, Christian Libertarian who believed in God, free men, free markets, the rule of law under the founder’s republic and that the Constitution extended to everyone regardless of race, creed, color, or religion. He lived by the motto that “all evil prospers with the silent consent of the good, therefore I will not be silent”. Services to be held at Kilgroe Memorial in Leeds on Saturday, August 13, 2016 at 2PM. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the American Cancer Society . Visit online at www.kilgroefuneralhome.com Kilgroe Funeral Home, Leeds directing.


Published in The Birmingham News on Aug. 12, 2016


Michael Brian Vanderboegh


Click name above for additional details at:
www.kilgroefuneralhome.com.
Arrangements under the direction of:
Kilgroe Funeral Home
1750 Ashville Rd | Leeds, AL 35094 | (205) 699-3181

Read Before Commenting On The Proposed M855 Ban

David Codrea has a habit of getting the answers to questions that the Justice Department and BATFE would rather not answer. Yesterday he got an answer to why the proposed regulation change regarding removing the exemption of SS109/M855 62 grain 5.56×45 ammunition from the armor piercing banned list was never published in the Federal Register.

BATFE says they are exempt.

WTF?

Per Denise Brown of ATF Enforcement Programs and Services in this afternoon’s telephone conversation, this will “not actually be a [regulatory] change, more of a policy along those lines.” Brown said the framework document is a notice only, and will therefore not be published in the Federal Register, characterizing the document’s intent as “information gathering” in order to collect technical information, which could affect the Bureau’s final determination.


Brown confirmed ATF’s decision not to publish in the Federal Register is based on the exemption provision in the APA. That states “Except when notice or hearing is required by statute, this subsection does not apply … to interpretative rules, general statements of policy, or rules of agency organization, procedure, or practice.” Also exempted is “when the agency for good cause finds (and incorporates the finding and a brief statement of reasons therefore in the rules issued) that notice and public procedure thereon are impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.”

Could the Eric Holder’s Justice Department and B. Todd Jones’ BATFE say “F-you” any louder?

Read the whole column here. I think it gives a critical perspective on their proposed change and will help in formulating your response that is due by March 16th.

I agree with Michael Bane that this is a well thought out and orchestrated assault on gun owners and the Second Amendment. Along with commenting to BATFE, we need to be sending copies of these comments to our Senators and Representatives. I’d also send a copy of David Codrea’s column and ask if the BATFE is not subverting the will of Congress. I’d do the latter in a second letter. The more times we can get this before their radar screen, the better.