JPFO’s Official Statement On Merger With SAF

The official statement from the board of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership is below. I covered some of the controversy on the decision to merge in my earlier post announcing the merger. As I said there, I hope it works out so that both organizations can keep up the good fight for the Second Amendment and our rights.

From JPFO:

Dear JPFO Members and Supporters,

Even before the passing of founder, Aaron Zelman, there was serious
doubt as to whether or not JPFO could survive. For years Aaron struggled
heroically with chronic health problems.

The results were rapidly expanding problems in administrative, database
and member support and new product operations, along with no systematic
fundraising program — to name just a few. Aaron delegated painfully
little? But considering it all, what he accomplished goes well beyond
the heroic to near miracles.

The regular staff was reduced to a devoted office manager of some
15-years, LaVonne, an equally devoted webmaster, Chris and Aaron’s two
Board members, Bruce and Bob serving with him since the mid-1990s. The
effort to rebuild JPFO began in earnest, facing the ominous headwinds of
a diminished database and largely empty coffers.

After some months, Charles Heller stepped-in to provide Executive
Director services; including media contacts.

One bright spot was the wise counsel of the JPFO advisor on spiritual
matters, Rabbi Dovid Bendory, known affectionately as the “Gun Rabbi.”

The task was truly immense. It seemed to grow in difficulty as each step
forward unearthed more challenges. Tragedy struck again a year later
when our office manager, LaVonne passed away unexpectedly. She had
loyally worked with Aaron for over 15-years. Her husband, Doug resigned
his regular employment as her fulltime replacement. Without his
commitment it is a virtual certainty JPFO would have collapsed more than
a year ago.

Adding to these losses was the death of another key writer, Kirby
Ferris. More recently a board member was blindsided with two major heart
surgeries and is still in rehabilitation.

Then just weeks ago another key writer, the prolific 2A and science
fiction author, L. Neil Smith, who worked with Aaron on various books
and other major editorial projects, suffered a stroke, right in the
middle of our Fall educational and fundraising product developments.

In spite of all this seemingly endless ?damage control? we were able to
increase the membership; and thanks to the contract writers and the
webmaster, who maintain a flow of quality editorial material; while
organizing first-rate office operations; including tight inventory
controls with a quick turnaround of member requests.

From day one, due to the highly specialized Jewish orientation, the
primary target constituency was extremely small. Fortunately, non-Jews,
so taken with the powerful JPFO message, have also consistently been a
vital source of revenue; while donating impressive amounts of time and
talent to various projects, from 1989 to this very day.

However, all along was the paradox that as a skeletal crew of fiercely
devoted workers salvaged and refined after Aaron’s passing, the Stalking
Horse of poor cash flow was always there. We came to realize that JPFO
needed one or more major supporters to break through to the next level.

Many inquiries yielded nil, it became clear that the most logical and
efficient solution was to ally with another 2A organization, while
preserving our identity.

That’s not all. We realized we must have an organization with longevity,
solid management, financial depth and marketing powers to insure JPFO
carried on.

The urgency of this search accelerated as the monthly revenue streams,
from all sources, began a steadily decline early this year. Recent
fundraising efforts have yielded little. The headquarters was reduced to
being run by the managing director, with part-time secretarial help.

To solve these problems, the JPFO Board of Directors sought out and
elected to merge with the Second Amendment Foundation

Founded in 1974, now with over 650,000 members, SAF is the oldest and
largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action
group focusing on the right to keep and bear arms.

JPFO will be operated independently by SAF and current JPFO private and
industry members and contributors will continue to receive all benefits
promised. It will maintain a separate board of directors.

The JPFO website will continue to run independently as a stand-alone
entity but will now include links to it from,, plus JPFO will also become a member
organization of the International Association for the Protection of
Civilian Arms Rights (IAPCAR) to expand its reach internationally.

Certain JPFO editorial and administrative staff are likely to remain or
be available for the transition. Later, headquarters will move from
Wisconsin to SAF headquarters in Bellevue, Washington.

The decision to merge with SAF has generated powerful disagreements and
no small amount of vitriol… But before making final decisions on this
action, please visit this page
to discover
what firearms industry icon, Massad Ayoob, has to say about this

Adulation of Aaron Zelman is spot on; nevertheless, it would be
profoundly unfair to not tip the hat of deep gratitude to all members,
donors, plus those deeply devoted volunteers that have committed well
into the thousands of hours of free services since 1989, so making many
of Aaron’s landmark projects possible even with the Stalking Horse of
financial distress continually behind his back, as it was for us until
the merger.


JPFO Board of Directors


It appears that the merger of Jews for the Preservation of Firearm Ownership with the Second Amendment Foundation is an actuality. It is a move that will please some and disappoint others. David Codrea, the National Gun Rights Examiner, has been following the whole process. His article last night announcing the merger pointed out some of the controversy over the merger and that only time will tell if the merger will strengthen JPFO.

Writer Claire Wolfe has spoken out strongly against this merger. She had been a writer for JPFO and resigned her position with them to go public with her opposition to the merger. She terms the merger as a sell-out of the ideals of JPFO founder Aaron Zelman. The whole series of her posts on her Living Freedom blog at Backwoods Home magazine can be found here.

Speaking out in favor of the merger has been Second Amendment stalwarts such as Gary Marbut of the Montana Shooting Sports Association and Massad Ayoob. Both men agree that the financial strength of SAF will be essential to keeping JPFO from going down the drain.

Frankly, it is hard to keep any organization going when its charismatic founder and leader suddenly dies. While the message is ultimately the most important aspect of the organization, it and the founder are so intimately intertwined that it is hard to have one without the other. I don’t know the whole history of JPFO nor do I know the details of any animosity that Aaron Zelman might have had for Alan Gottlieb. I do know that both organizations support the Second Amendment and that anything that helps both survive to keep on fighting for it can’t be all bad.

The announcement from Alan Gottlieb and SAF on the merger is below:

BELLEVUE, WA – The Second Amendment Foundation today announced that Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JPFO) has become part of the SAF family, bringing together two stalwart gun rights organizations under one banner.

“We’re both delighted and proud to announce this merger,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “JPFO was founded 25 years ago by the late Aaron Zelman, and it has become a strong voice in defense of the Second Amendment. I’m personally confident that bringing JPFO into the SAF extended family will benefit firearms owners at many levels.”

Zelman passed away in 2010, and for the past four years, the JPFO has worked hard to maintain its position in the gun rights community.

“We see this as a tremendous opportunity,” said Gottlieb. “With SAF’s resources, we expect JPFO to continue its important work and grow to meet new challenges, educating people about the pitfalls of gun control, and the benefits of gun ownership and personal protection.”

Gottlieb said JPFO operations will be transferred from Wisconsin, where it was founded by Zelman in 1989, to the SAF offices at Liberty Park in Bellevue, Wash. JPFO editorial support staff will stay on and help maintain organizational continuity, he added.

“A few years ago,” Gottlieb noted, “Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership also merged into the SAF family and it has proven to be a great benefit to the gun rights community.”

By joining with the foundation, JPFO will also become a member organization of the International Association for the Protection of Civilian Arms Rights (IAPCAR) and expand its reach internationally.

JPFO will be operated independently as a project of SAF and current members and contributors to the organization will continue to receive all benefits promised, Gottlieb added. JPFO’s website will continue to run independently as a stand-alone entity but will now include links to it from,, as well as

The Seven Varieties Of Gun Control Advocate

Gus Cotey, Jr. in an article posted on the JPFO website has classified gun control advocates into seven categories. He goes into detail about the characteristics of each category. The seven varieties are:

  1. Elitists
  2. Authoritarians
  3. Criminals
  4. The Fearful
  5. Ideological Chameleons
  6. Security Monopolists
  7. The Dysfunctionally Unworldly

 As he notes about these classifications:

Despite a massive amount of historical evidence to the contrary, there is a substantial body of Americans, many occupying positions of influence, who contend that the abrogation of the Second Amendment is the quickest path to domestic tranquility. Since this is as absurd as advocating blood-letting as a cure for anemia, it would seem advisable to question the motives and mentalities of the gun control advocates themselves.

In my observation, weapon prohibitionists can be broken down into seven major categories. Even though their motives may vary they all pose a mortal threat to liberty.

I think Cotey’s post is well worth a read since it is essential to know our opposition if we are to preserve our gun rights.

Charles Heller To Head JPFO

The search for a new Executive Director of Jews for the Preservation of Firearm Ownership extended from Wisconsin to Arizona. Charles Heller, one of the four co-founders of the Arizona Citizens Defense League, was named to succeed the late Aaron Zelman who passed away in late December. Heller’s appointment was announced on June 23rd.

With the passing of Aaron Zelman, not only did American freedom lose a great warrior, but JPFO lost its Founder and Executive Director. At the proper time, the search began for a new Executive Director. That person needed to be deeply educated in the gun rights battle, media savvy, politically savvy, and have solid firearms industry contacts. There was also no doubt whatsoever that our new organizational leader needed to be one hundred percent “hard core no compromise” regarding the Second Amendment and the morality of self defense — just like JPFO.

We have found that person in Charles Heller of Tucson Arizona. Over the past month or so, as JPFO’s Rabbinic Director, I have worked with Charles on all of our JPFO projects. Charles and I are of one mind with regard to JPFO’s course and strategies. Charles is a patriot, a true believer in American freedom, and a visionary of America’s great potential. I am proud to be working shoulder to shoulder with him at Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership. We stand together in the fight for your freedom!

Please join me in welcoming our new Executive Director, Charles Heller, and offering your blessings of success in his new role.

As always, thank you for your support.
Shalom, Rabbi Dovid Bendory, Rabbinic Director, JPFO

The Arizona Citizens Defense League had this to say, in part, about Heller’s appointment in an alert sent out yesterday.

Charles is one of AzCDL’s co-founders and our Communication’s Director. Through his media savvy and extensive networking Charles has played a critical role in the successful passage of legislation that AzCDL has requested and supported over the last 6 years.

Charles is also the host of Swap Shop, Liberty Watch, and America Armed & Free radio programs on KVOI in Tucson, and has been on the air for 13 years (

I had the opportunity to meet and chat with Mr. Heller in San Francisco at last year’s Gun Rights Policy Conference. He was responsible for recording all the sessions of the Conference and did a great job. I wish him great success in his new position.