Questions On Law School’s Gun Violence Prevention Clinic

The University of Minnesota Law School proudly announced the creation of a “Gun Violence Prevention Clinic”. The announcement on December 8th states their belief that it is first for US law schools and it will be headed by Everytown Law alumna Megan Walsh. Walsh is currently a Visiting Assistant Clinical Professor of Law at the school.

From the announcement on the clinic’s role:

The clinic will utilize student pro bono legal work to support and litigate cases that help reduce injuries, deaths, and trauma resulting from gun violence. A three-year pilot project, the clinic seeks to spur law school and law student engagement in firearms law and the Second Amendment; establish a home for gun violence prevention litigation in the Great Lakes area; and grow the pool of litigation expertise and legal resources available for Second Amendment and gun violence prevention matters.  

Walsh amplifies on the pro bono work saying, “Litigation in this area is needed to challenge extreme gun laws, to combat the disproportionate effect of gun violence on BIPOC communities, and to provide a counterweight to the gun lobby in the courts.” It should be noted that not only did she work for Everytown but she served as the Moms Demand Action “BE Smart” lead for Minnesota. That program is their campaign on “responsible gun ownership.”

The law school dean, Garry W. Jenkins, calls this clinic “novel and exciting”. He goes to say it will help students develop “a deep reservoir of knowledge on Second Amendment jurisprudence.” Somehow I think that this knowledge will be one-sided.

The clinic will partner with the office of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison (DFL-MN) on litigation.

The Gun Violence Prevention Clinic will partner with the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office on Second Amendment cases and on affirmative litigation brought by the Attorney General to reduce gun violence in Minnesota. This partnership will give students the opportunity to work with the Attorney General’s office to create safer communities in Minnesota through litigation, with the students serving as Special Assistant Attorney Generals under the supervision of the clinic.

Known funding for this clinic comes from the anti-gun Joyce Foundation and the McKnight Foundation ($300,000). The announcement refers to “other funders”. That leads to the first question in the list below.

Here are a list of questions that should be asked about the clinic.

  • Who are the other “funders” of the Gun Violence (sic) Prevention Clinic?
  • How much was given to the clinic by the Joyce Foundation? They don’t list the grant on their website.
  • Will the clinic be seeking appropriated money from the Minnesota Legislature? If so, how much?
  • How much of the Office of Attorney General’s budget will be devoted to this clinic?
  • How much appropriated money from the University of Minnesota be allocated to this clinic? Or, will it only be grant-supported?
  • Who approached whom to start this clinic?
  • What is the role of Everytown in this clinic?
  • Will the Brady Law Project and Giffords Law also be involved?
  • What does Walsh consider “extreme gun laws”?
  • Will the clinic be working with the US Attorney’s Office and BATFE to prosecute straw purchasers?
  • Will the clinic be promoting litigation to close gun stores?
  • Who will be paying for the anticipated amicus briefs filed in cases opposing the flood of litigation opened up by the Bruen decision?
  • Given Walsh is a graduate of Duke University School of Law, will the clinic be coordinating efforts with the Duke Center for Firearms Law?

The clinic goes live in January 2023. There will be many more questions that can be raised and that will need answers. In the meantime, I understand Minnesota has a fairly strong public records law and I intend to use it. If anyone in Minnesota wants to help with this, just leave a comment.

Funding The Crazies To Make You Look Moderate? Hmm

Dave Hardy has a post up on the substantial donation made by Mayor Mike Bloomberg to the Joyce Foundation. The money comes from his Bloomberg Philanthropies. At the same time as Bloomberg is giving money to the Joyce Foundation, the Brady Campaign is running a substantial deficit.

Sebastian examines this pattern of donations in more detail noting that little of the Bloomberg money is going to the more established (and somewhat more moderate) Brady Campaign/Center.

Essentially what Bloomberg is doing is to use the Joyce Foundation as a cut-out to fund the radical gun prohibitionists at CSGV, VPC, and Media Matters. The clamor from these organizations makes Mayor Bloomberg’s Illegal Mayors aka MAIG look much more moderate and “reasonable” by comparison.

How Machiavellian!

Read both sets of posts from Dave and Sebastian to understand the full impact of Bloomberg’s moves.

I’m Shocked; Shocked, I Say

In what I assume is part of the Friday night document dump, we are learning about the symbiotic relationship and personal connections between the Joyce-funded University of Chicago Crime Lab and ATF brass. The Crime Lab is not a forensics lab but rather a social policy institute investigating violence and crime with a special emphasis on “gun violence”. 

Mike Vanderboegh in a Sipsey Street Exclusive has the story including the e-mails between the Crime Lab’s Executive Director Roseanna Ander, who served with the Joyce Foundation for ten years before heading the Crime Lab, and ATF brass including Bill Newell.

It makes for some very interesting reading and confirms some suspicions about the connections between the firearms regulators and the gun prohibitionists.

Eat Your Heart Out, Violence Policy Center!

The Violence Policy Center loves to moan and groan about how the NRA gets so much money from the firearms industry. Sturm, Ruger and Company, in a drive to break the one million firearm sales mark for one year, pledged to donate $1 for each firearm sold over a one year period. Through three quarters, Ruger has sold 871,200 firearms and donated an equal amount to the NRA. They have just decided to raise their pledge to $1.2 million.

Eat your hearts out Josh Sugarmann and Kristen Rand because the Joyce Foundation is never going to match this!

Meanwhile, The Anti’s Are Spinning

Joyce Foundation funded Media Matters for America is desperately trying to spin the recent Gallup Poll as support for gun control. After attacking the question on handgun bans as outdated, they try to say that most people support “reasonable gun control”.

In other words, the vast majority of Americans support reasonable gun control measures; only a small fraction is actually opposed to gun control.

This finding is confirmed by other recent polling that shows that Americans support measures to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals. According to one poll, 89 percent of respondents support requiring all gun buyers to pass a background check at gun shows, 94 percent support requiring gun owners to alert police if their guns are lost or stolen, and 69 percent support requiring those buying ammunition to pass a criminal background check. Another poll showed 86 percent of respondents supported background checks for every gun buyer.

And what are the polls that they use to “confirm” this? None other than the discredited push polls commissioned by Mayor Bloomberg and his Illegal Mayors. I think that says about everything.

UPDATE: Thirdpower has more on this and examines some of the comments made supporting the Media Matters’ spin on gun control.

Joyce Foundation Money At Work

This post is written as part of the Media Matters Gun Facts fellowship. The purpose of the fellowship is to further Media Matters’ mission to comprehensively monitor, analyze, and correct conservative misinformation in the U.S. media Some of the worst misinformation occurs around the issue of guns, gun violence, and extremism, the fellowship program. The fellowship program is designed to fight this misinformation with facts.

Joan “JaPete” Peterson, a board member of the Brady Center, is now funded through the Joyce Foundation.

Not that what she wrote before really mattered but now that it is known that she is paid with Joyce Foundation money funneled through Media Matters it matters even less. Because now she is no longer a grieving sister driven by guilt and anger over her sister’s murder but merely a wholly paid-for shill for gun prohibition.

Guide To Gun Prohibitionists

Thirdpower at the Days of our Trailers blog has done all in the gun community a big favor. He has compiled a “Primer for Gun Control Groups in the US”. It details the members of the gun control industry in the United States, their major money sources, and their leaders.

This is definitely an important contribution to keeping an eye on those who would deny us our civil rights.

Thirdpower also has a post up today on the most recent recipients of grants from the Joyce Foundation. One of the more interesting grants was “a total of $790K to NewVentureFund to “support the development and launch of a new online organization. “

Buying Journalists

Bitter and Sebastian at Snow Flakes in Hell have been following Minnesota Public Radio reporter Brandt Williams and his “work” on gun violence. Williams is a Joyce Foundation Fellow and his pro-gun control reporting is based upon a grant from the Joyce Foundation.

Bitter nails it when she writes:

There’s no way that Williams and any other reporters involved can claim that their work is free of bias since a stipulation of taking the $5,000 was that their work be written in order to “have a major public policy impact.” In addition to Williams, Joyce was willing to fund up to six other writers or broadcasters who were based “in midwest and northeast region with priority given to journalists in Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.” Since Joyce doesn’t appear to list them, the coordinating organization doesn’t list them, and no results turn up on media sites for titles and terms such as “Joyce Journalism Fellow,” it could be hard to figure out exactly who was paid for these planted stories.

The Joyce Foundation has tried to influence courts on Second Amendment issues by paying for law review articles that pushed the collective right theory. Now it appears that they think they can “buy” stories in the media in the Upper Midwest through $5,000 fellowships to compliant anti-gun journalists.

Read both the postings from Bitter and Sebastian to get a better feel for how the Joyce Foundation is working to plant stories on “gun violence.”

Quite the Contrast

Last year the Joyce Foundation gave a grant for $250,000 to the International Association of Chiefs of Police. The purpose of the grant was:

To continue implementation efforts around the recommendations contained in the report of the Great Lakes States Summit on Gun Violence.

The specific recommendations of the Great Lakes States Summit on Gun Violence (sic) include:

• Requiring judges and law enforcement to remove guns from situations of domestic violence, as well as from people whose adjudicated mental illness, drug use, or previous criminal record suggests the possibility of violence
• Requiring that all gun sales take place through Federal Firearms License (FFL) holders with mandatory background checks
• Enacting an effective ban on military-style assault weapons, armor-piercing handgun ammunition, .50 caliber sniper rifles and other weapons that enable criminals to outgun law enforcement
• Restoring COPS funding to provide vital resources to state, local and tribal law enforcement
• Repealing the Tiahrt Amendment, which hinders investigation of illegal gun trafficking
• Destroying guns that come into police possession once their law enforcement use has ended
• Improving officer training in debriefing suspects and handling crime guns, including tracing all guns
• Training police officers in tactics that can lessen the possibility that a hostile situation will erupt in violence
• Mandating safe storage of firearms by private citizens and providing safe facilities where gun owners can store their weapons
• Mandating reporting of lost and stolen firearms

While improving officer training is a laudable objective, most of the rest of these recommendations trample upon the civil rights of lawful Americans. That they would improve public safety and reduce crime is quite debatable. That it would help the officer on the street, again debatable.

Today’s Shooting Wire contained an item about a major donation given to two organizations that assist families of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. The organizations are the Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.) Charity and the Drug Enforcement Administration Survivors Benefit Fund (DEA SBF). COPS was given $50,000 and DEA SBF was given $20,000. The donations were presented at the recent IACP Conference held in Orlando. These donations brought the amount given by the donor to non-profit organizations to $550,000 for 2010.

The donor? Glock, Inc. You know, the international arms merchant and purveyor of undetectable plastic pistols which threaten airline passenger safety.

So in the greater scheme of things who is really doing more for the officer on the street and their families? My vote goes to Glock.

The Hidden Life of Guns

It is indeed ironic that the quote “follow the money” traces its lineage back to then-Washington Post reporters Bob Woodard and Carl Bernstein. “Deep Throat” told the reporters that the key to understanding Watergate was the money. And so it is with a collection of feature stories in today’s Washington Post entitled The Hidden Life of Guns.

The stories feature a multi-media piece (at least online), a hit piece on a gun store in Prince George’s County, MD, and a tut-tutting piece on the “gun lobby” and the Tiahrt Amendment. It is this last story entitled Industry pressure hides gun traces, protects dealers from public scrutiny where the role of money in supporting so-called gun policy research becomes apparent. To support the authors’ contention that the Tiahrt Amendment protects “rogue” dealers from scrutiny by groups such as the Brady Campaign and Mayors Against Illegal Guns as well as making it harder for the police, they call on Professor Glenn Pierce of Northeastern University and Chuck Wexler, director of the Police Executive Research Forum.

First, Wexler:

“It was extraordinary, and the most offensive thing you can think of,” said Chuck Wexler, director of the Police Executive Research Forum, a nonprofit group for police chiefs. “The tracing data, which is now secret, helped us see the big picture of where guns are coming from.”

And now, the work of Prof. Glenn Pierce:

But in 1995, Professor Glenn L. Pierce of Northeastern University analyzed ATF tracing data and discovered that a tiny fraction of gun dealers – 1 percent – were the original sellers of a majority of the guns seized at crime scenes – 57 percent. Pierce’s analysis “blew everybody away” at the ATF, recalled Joseph R. Vince Jr., then deputy chief of the firearms division. Law enforcement might be able to reduce crime by focusing on a relative handful of gun dealers.

Many in academia and the non-profit world have become grant-whores. In a publish or perish world, securing a grant is the road to salvation for a professor. It supports grad students to do the grunt work, it brings you recognition, it legitimizes your work as being “significant”, and, most importantly, it makes your university very happy as they get a cut of the grant for so-called overhead. And as for non-profits, it keeps their doors open as they exist on soft money.

So, if we follow the money, where does it lead? To the surprise of almost no one in the gun community, both the Police Executive Research Forum and Dr. Glenn Pierce are recipients of grants from the Joyce Foundation either directly or indirectly. The Joyce Foundation is THE leading funder of gun violence (sic) groups along with anti-gun oriented research in academia. If the National Rifle Association were to set up a grants program for pro-gun research, the academic world as well as journalists would be in an uproar. However, when it comes to the Joyce Foundation, silence.