Perhaps The Locals Do Know Best

We often complain about national groups coming in and telling the locals how they should be doing it. This is usually in the context of a group like Mike Bloomberg’s Everytown, Moms Demand Action, or Giffords. However, sometimes it is our own side in the battle for gun rights that is doing this.

Such is the case in Alabama where the NRA is supporting a move to consolidate the list of pistol permit holders, that state’s nomenclature for a concealed carry permit, into a statewide database. The bills in question are HB39 and SB47. The bills provide for the permits to be standardized and issued statewide. They also provide for a lifetime carry permit.

This move is getting a mixed reaction as reported by CBS 42.

Bama Carry and the Alabama Gun Rights Network don’t always agree on the best strategies for advancing gun rights in the Heart of Dixie.

However, when I reached out to friends who are affiliated with those organizations, the response I got was virtually identical. They are opposed to the bills in their current form as they create a database of gun owners which has the potential to be abused.

My friend Beth Alcazar, the Alabama representative of the DC Project and a board member of Bama Carry, had this to say to me in a Facebook message. I’m quoting her with her permission.

At the heart of this matter (and why we are hesitant to get on board) is the fact that law abiding gun owners will be on a registry, with all information being shared, statewide, and this info. could end up on a driver license. This, of course, could cause problems traveling across state lines. What if someone is stopped or pulled over and now questioned or harassed (or searched) because of this identification? And what happens if a government body must be created to oversee this database? Currently, our permit info. is only in the hands of our sheriffs. A lifetime permit could open that up… from just local to state.

Additionally, the NRA doesn’t appear to be listening to Alabamians or to our state’s largest gun rights group, and they continue to push legislation that has potential problems or unintended consequences.

And therein lies the problem. When it is a matter of state and local politics, local activists should be listened to. That there seems to be a disconnect between local gun right rights groups and the NRA on an issue of local concern is not good. The NRA should either defer to the local groups or work to find a compromise that satisfies all gun rights groups involved.

We in North Carolina had much the same problem in 2011 concerning gun bans outside the home during periods of declared emergencies. Grass Roots North Carolina along with local plaintiffs and the Second Amendment Foundation brought Bateman v. Perdue. The NRA-ILA representative in North Carolina was pushing for a quick legislative fix that would have mooted the case. The problem with a quick legislative fix was that it could have been changed on the whim of the next General Assembly. GRNC, SAF, and local activists had to push legislators to let the court case run its path. In the end the General Assembly did that and we won a decision in Bateman declaring the gun ban unconstitutional.

I wrote back then (June 2011) that “there are some in the NRA’s hierarchy who believe the NRA has to be the be-all and end-all of all things Second Amendment.” I noted that the NRA does some things really well and others not so well. I said the NRA should concentrate on training, the legislative arena, and other areas where a mass organization can do well. I didn’t think they were nearly as good at Second Amendment litigation as SAF.

I would now modify my statement from 2011 to say that the NRA does lobbying at the national level well and should work closer with state and local groups on state level lobbying if they want to be effective. Moreover, by state and local groups I don’t mean it has to be the NRA state affiliate as the experience of non-affiliates VCDL and GRNC has shown. Whether the NRA and their state ILA representatives are wise enough to recognize this is still open to debate.

Marion Has A Worthy Adversary

Marion Hammer, current NRA Board member and former President, has (or has had) a reputation for cowing legislators in Florida. She also expects subservience from those around her including NRA staffers. I think she may have met her match.

In a recent NRA-ILA alert for Florida by Ms. Hammer, she made a direct attack David Dell’Aguila who wants reform in the NRA.

Are David Dell’Aquila’s gun rights worth $100,000?  Worth more than $100 million?  Worth whatever it takes to defeat the anti-gun agitators and enemies of the Second Amendment? You’re damned right!  Whether he donates money to NRA to fund the fight or not – NRA is fighting for his rights and yours. 

This was in response to criticism of the $100,000 lost in fees and cancellation expenses to move the NRA Board meeting from Anchorage, AK back to the DC area.

Ms. Hammer is using Mr. Dell’Aquila as a foil for her fundraising appeal. Her letter includes 3 embedded donation links and another at the bottom.

She concludes:

It’s time to stop the lies, stop the attacks, stop manufacturing fake documents, stop cutting off your nose to spite your face.  It’s time to focus on stopping the anti-gun, anti-freedom, hate-mongering enemies of our rights. 

Hey, David Dell’Aquila! you may have abandoned the only organization capable of protecting your rights — shame on you — but nonetheless, we’ve got your back.  We’re donating to the fight!

I’m of the opinion such a letter would never have gone out if Chris Cox and other NRA-ILA leadership were still there. It is too personal, too petty, and too spiteful. Indeed, it was counterproductive.

Ms. Hammer finds a worthy opponent in Mr. Dell’Aquila. Indeed, a worthy opponent that is not cowed by her reputation. He has responded with an open letter today which is embedded at the bottom of the page.

Here are a few quotes from it.

First, thank you for so prominently repeating my name in your recent fundraising appeal. I can’t tell you how many people have reached out to me, who didn’t know anything about the concerns of improper spending at the NRA that the grassroots organization has raised, or about my lawsuit and campaign to withhold donations until the NRA gets its house in order. So far donors are withholding over $162 million from the NRA until the organization adopts new management and more transparent accountability.

Had it not been for your fundraising letter about the value of my Second Amendment gun rights, these people might never have discovered the nearly 100 news articles (linked here and here) detailing the allegations of improper spending by NRA executives and the failure of the NRA Board of Directors to provide oversight and fiduciary prudence to address the situation.

Ouch!

Now he goes for the jugular.

The available records are not particularly clear. However, it is clear that NRA members have paid you something in excess of $2 million dollars. In 2018 alone, a year when NRA finances were reported to be exceptionally low, records show that you were paid $270,000. Would these payments have something to do with your current vigorous defense of Wayne LaPierre, and his open-purse spending practices at the NRA? This would appear to be a conflict of interest, regarding any Board vote concerning Mr. LaPierre’s continued stewardship of the organization.

In addition, according to Article V, Section 5 of the NRA’s bylaws, no director — such as yourself — is entitled to receive “any private benefit” from NRA unless payment is specifically authorized by a resolution of the Board of Directors or an authorized committee of the Board. I would be very curious to see whether the NRA’s board has approved these payments to you. If so, perhaps you could forward a copy of the written resolutions.

Mr. Dell’Aquila concludes by noting that Ms. Hammer has done good work over the years. He also notes that so have others on the Board and with state-level groups. The difference is that the others received no direct compensation from the NRA for their efforts.

I imagine this letter will make Ms. Hammer spitting mad. That is, if she ever reads it. Nonetheless, I’m sure fundraisers in Fairfax will read it and say, “Please God, no more alerts from Marion!”

Hammer-2019-09-03 by jpr9954 on Scribd

Even CNN Gets It Even If Wayne Doesn’t

I know CNN is the home of “fake news” and the rest of that nonsense. Still, even a blind squirrel can sometimes find an acorn. They had a story yesterday about the struggle of the NRA to maintain the political influence it had in 2016 in the 2020 elections. The lead for the story is the personal influence that former NRA-ILA director Chris Cox had with politicians. I mentioned the same thing in my post about Jason Ouimet being appointed the interim head of ILA.

From the CNN story:

The NRA accused Chris Cox — the man who had controlled the organization’s lobbying and political activities for more than 15 years — of trying to overthrow Chief Executive Wayne LaPierre, according to a lawsuit filed last month.


Cox denied the charge to The New York Times, but quickly resigned. His unceremonious sacking stunned NRA board members, who saw Cox as a potential successor to LaPierre, and infuriated political staffers. Some started packing up their desks, unsure of whether they would be ousted too, multiple NRA sources said.


That’s when the Washington power brokers really started to worry. Cox’s departure, after months of turmoil at the NRA, only amplified the sense that the gun-rights group might not be the political powerhouse in 2020 that it has been for decades, including notably in 2016.


When President Donald Trump convened a meeting with bipartisan lawmakers and signaled and openness to some gun control measures in the wake of a shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 dead, it was Cox who showed up at the White House the following evening.


Afterward, Cox tweeted that Trump didn’t want gun control. For his part, Trump tweeted: “Good (Great) meeting in the Oval Office tonight with the NRA!”


The reservoir of goodwill toward Cox ran deep on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.


“Every Republican senator who matters has Chris’ cell phone number,” one GOP operative who worked closely with Cox on the political side told CNN. “And vice versa.”


The operative recounted one meeting between Cox and a senator, ostensibly about a policy issue, that instead was focused primarily on the senator’s favorite hunting grounds in his home state. Cox knew them all in advance — and had been to them himself.


Cox and his team held weekly calls with Republican committees to share tips about ongoing campaigns — calls that increased in frequency in the lead-up to key primaries and Election Day, according to former officials.
“Senators didn’t call Wayne,” the GOP operative said of LaPierre. “They called Chris.”



That’s partly because it was Cox’s job to maintain those contacts, while LaPierre oversaw the organization. Cox has moved on to launch his own Washington consulting firm. But unease over his departure — and LaPierre’s efforts to consolidate power — is fueling uncertainty about the direction of the organization overall.

 Honestly, from my conversations with others, I don’t think Wayne LaPierre really understood the value of Chris to the campaign side of NRA-ILA. All he could see was a potential rival for power that had to be vanquished. As to the supposed “coup”, I think it is a figment of his imagination as it has been played upon by the NRA’s outside counsel William Brewer III. Witness the gratuitous mention of Chris in one paragraph of the NRA’s lawsuit against Ollie North.

I am going to repeat what I wrote at the beginning of the month:  Wayne LaPierre’s legacy will be as the guy who caused us to lose gun rights in order to preserve his perks if the Republicans fail to hold on to at least one House of Congress and the Presidency. His paranoia and arrogance caused him to listen to the wrong guy and we are all suffering as a result.

Adding to that statement, I would say that those NRA Board members and others who stand 100% behind Wayne will be complicit in this loss of gun rights. They will blame us, they will blame Bloomberg and Soros, they will blame anyone but themselves. The reality is that they did not want to excise what has become a cancer upon the National Rifle Association. Wayne did do good in the past but the past is past and, like with a championship football coach who no longer wins, it is time to move on.

Another Major Departure From NRA-ILA (Updated)

Jennifer Baker, the NRA-ILA Director of Political Affairs, is stepping down from her post and leaving ILA. This comes from a report posted about an hour ago in Politico. Ms. Baker was a reported to be a key aide to former NRA-ILA Director Chris Cox and was active on the campaign side of ILA.

From Politico:

Baker’s departure, which was confirmed by several people familiar with the matter, could further complicate the group’s ability to play in the 2020 election. She had been playing a key role in mapping out the NRA’s electoral strategy.

The move comes one month after Chris Cox, the NRA’s chief political architect, resigned. Cox had deep relationships with Republican political class, and with his exit many of the party’s top strategists have expressed concern that the organization will be severely hamstrung heading into the presidential election. The NRA plays a major role in turning out gun owners, and many in the party are worried that the group will be less effective in 2020.

The NRA has long been a centerpiece of the Republican Party ecosystem. But the organization has found itself in intense chaos in recent months, confronting embarrassing tales of self-dealing at its highest levels of leadership, a failed coup attempt and an investigation by the New York Attorney General into its tax-exempt status.

This comes less than three weeks since Chris Cox resigned. As I mentioned when Jason Ouimet was appointed the interim head of NRA-ILA, the loss of Chris Cox  would have its biggest impact on the campaign side of NRA-ILA. The departure of Ms. Baker will only exacerbate this loss of knowledge, relationships, and political savvy when it comes to political campaigns.

When Cox was suspended for participation in the mythical “coup”, Ms. Baker was quoted in the New York Times defending Cox.

Jennifer Baker, a spokeswoman for the N.R.A.’s lobbying arm, said Mr. Cox and Mr. LaPierre had “worked closely together for a quarter of a century, and any notion that Chris participated in a coup is absurd. Chris Cox is known as a calming force who always acts in the best interests of our members by effectively defending the Second Amendment, so it’s not surprising that board members would reach out to him for advice during tumultuous times.”

I have no idea on Ms. Baker’s future plans. That said, I would not be surprised in the least if she ended up at Cox’s new venture Capital 6 Advisors.

UPDATE: I’m not entirely sure Ms. Baker’s departure was by her choice. She reportedly was escorted out of the building by an armed guard and was crying. I’ve gotten this from a couple of  sources.

I guess in terms of purges this is somewhat better than ending up in the basement of the Lubyanka. The actions of the Old Guard remind me more and more of the last days of the Soviet Union with the leaders and appartchiks desperately seeking to hold on to power. Ah, the curses of being a poli sci major and having lived through a good part of the Cold War.

UPDATE II: The Hill is reporting that Ms. Baker’s departure is part of a “consolidation” of its communications.

“The NRA announced a reorganization of its public affairs function this week,” the NRA said in a statement to The Hill. “The change consolidates and improves our communications, public affairs, and social media functions. All these operations now operate under one department, eliminating a parallel function in NRA-ILA. We are excited about the change and the benefits it brings to the organization and its members.”

It is also a consolidation of power in the executive suite of the NRA and a further diminishment of the role of the NRA-ILA. Prior to this, if I remember correctly, most communication with the press especially on things with a political overtone was done through NRA-ILA.

As to being excited about the change, I’m sure the one person who is excited about it is William Brewer III who seems to be becoming the de facto spokesman for the NRA.

Ouimet Named Interim Head Of NRA-ILA

Jason Ouimet, the NRA-ILA’s Director of Federal Affairs, has been named the interim head of NRA-ILA. The news was first leaked in a story by Danny Hakim in the New York Times who seems to be the go-to guy for NRA leaks. It was later confirmed in a series of tweets by Stephen Gutowski of the Free Beacon as well as in a memo sent out to all NRA employees.

TO:                All NRA Employees
FROM:          Wayne LaPierre
                       Executive Vice President
DATE:            July 2, 2019
SUBJECT:     Appointment of Interim Executive Director of NRA-ILA


-‑‑‑‑‑—–‑‑‑‑‑‑‑————————————‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑————


I am pleased to announce Jason Ouimet’s appointment as Interim Executive Director of NRA-ILA.


As many of you know, Jason – a 14 year NRA veteran, – currently serves as our Director of Federal Affairs, a position he has held since January 2015. Jason rose through the ranks after being hired as a federal lobbyist in 2005 and then being promoted to Deputy Director at NRA-ILA Federal five years later.


Jason has a strong legislative and campaign background. On Capitol Hill, Jason was a legislative assistant for former Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia) where he was responsible for oversight of significant issues like taxes, Homeland Security appropriations, transportation, small business, Social Security, welfare, science & technology, government affairs, Commerce Justice State appropriations and pensions. He also served as Staff Director of the Life Insurance Caucus of which Senator Chambliss was a co-chair.


Prior to working on Senator Chambliss’ personal staff, Jason held the position of Senior Research Analyst at the National Republican Senatorial Committee working on projects for key Senate races. Jason began his career in 1999 as a Junior Analyst with the Republican National Committee where he conducted field research in Florida, Connecticut, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania for President George W. Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign.


Jason is a graduate of Kent State University where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science degree in 1999.


Jason is an experienced government affairs professional and a skilled political strategist. He is committed to our noble cause and I know that he will do very well.


Please join me in congratulating Jason.


Wayne

From what I understand, Ouimet is both well-liked and well-respected within the NRA-ILA. It is rumored that there may be a search committee to find a permanent head of ILA but hopes are that Ouimet would be the leading candidate.

The appointment of an interim head of NRA-ILA shores things up a bit there. That said, it should not be forgotten that NRA-ILA serves two purposes:  lobbying and campaigns. The appointment of Ouimet satisfies the first criteria but fails to fill the huge hole left by the ouster of Chris Cox. Over a period of 24 years, Cox had developed a series of relationships with SuperPACs, PACs, 527s, and other campaign organization as well as a deft touch in coordinating expenditures where it would be most useful in the election of pro-gun – or at least not anti-gun – candidates.

One has to wonder if the triumvirate of Wayne, William Brewer, and the NRA officers took any of that into consideration when they forced the ouster of Cox. Brewer probably didn’t give a damn, the officers were clueless, and it seems all Wayne could see was a potential competitor to his position.

Others in the political world are seeing it very clearly. An article published this morning in Politico reports that both the Trump campaign and the Republicans are worried about the NRA’s “meltdown” just before 2020.

Greg Keller who is the former executive director of the American Conservative Union said:

“No organization has been more important to conservative voter education and engagement than the NRA. We all hope they’re able to mount the kind of effort in the 2020 cycle they have in the past,” said Gregg Keller, a former American Conservative Union executive director. “But in case they can’t, given their current situation, I hope they’re being forthright about that within the movement so others can pick up the slack.”


“The situation,” he added, “has folks nervous.”

Steven Law, head of Mitch McConnell’s SuperPAC, said this about the departure of Chris Cox.

Concerns over the NRA intensified last week after the resignation of Chris Cox, who had been the head of its lobbying arm since 2002. Cox was well-liked by NRA staff and board members and had deep relationships with major donors and many of the party’s top strategists. He recently participated in 2020 planning meetings with the pro-Trump America First Action super PAC and the anti-tax Club for Growth. The groups discussed polling and opposition research, voter registration efforts, and ensuring smooth coordination.


With Cox gone, it’s an open question who will oversee the NRA’s 2020 strategy.


“Chris Cox is the guy everybody dealt with,” said Steven Law, president of the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC closely aligned with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Wayne LaPierre’s legacy will be as the guy who caused us to lose gun rights in order to preserve his perks if the Republicans fail to hold on to at least one House of Congress and the Presidency. His paranoia and arrogance caused him to listen to the wrong guy and we are all suffering as a result.

Chris Cox Resigns (Updated)

An email went out this morning to all NRA employees informing them that Chris Cox has tendered his resignation. This is a sad day in the fight for gun rights on Capitol Hill. Chris Cox and the NRA-ILA have been, more or less, effective in keeping the Republicans and some Democrats on the side of gun rights.

Wayne LaPierre’s email is below:

From: “LaPierre, Wayne”
Date: June 26, 2019 at 8:50:14 AM MDT
To: #All NRA Employees <#AllNRAEmployees@nrahq.org>
Subject: Important Announcement

Dear Board Members and NRA Staff,

I wanted to inform you that Chris Cox tendered his resignation as executive director of NRA-ILA. I have accepted it and want to thank Chris for his service to the NRA and for his efforts to advocate for the Second Amendment.

Chris’s action follows our filing of a lawsuit in New York on June 19. Thereafter, I announced that, pending our pursuit of the facts relating to certain allegations contained in that lawsuit, Chris was placed on administrative leave. Naturally, that pursuit will continue in the interest of the NRA and our members.

In the meantime, NRA-ILA continues to benefit from a strong team with deep political experience, valued relationships, and a passion for the Second Amendment. We will make an announcement soon about an interim director of ILA and, in the meantime, continue to position the NRA for great success in the 2020 election season and beyond.

Please join me in wishing Chris and his family the best.

Wayne

That’s nice. Wish Chris and his family the best after he has been stabbed in the back.

One thing that has been mentioned to me is that there is more than a supposed “coup” attempt behind this. The NRA-ILA gave the NRA proper a substantial loan that has not yet been repaid so that they could cover their bills. The loan was made in the 2017 time frame. Now it is rumored that Wayne came back to ILA asking for a loan in the $15 million range and Chris Cox said no. The other person who had the authority to say “no” on behalf of the NRA-ILA was Scott Christman and he is on administrative leave as well.

The interim head of the NRA-ILA is expected to be the former ILA head of state affairs who has been working for the NRA proper for the last few years. The likelihood of him saying “no” to Wayne when asked for a loan is not likely.

UPDATE: If the comments on the Twitter feed of NY Times reporter are any indication, those who are anti-rights are ecstatic. You can read it here.

UPDATE II: Sebastian at Shall Not Be Questioned has his take on this whole mess. He is one of the few bloggers who goes way back with the NRA. Sebastian and Bitter have always, in my opinion, had good connections within the NRA.

SAF And NRA File Joint Suit Against Washington State Over I-1639

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The Second Amendment and the National Rifle Association have joined together to challenge parts of the recently passed Washington State Initiative 1639 in a federal lawsuit. The initiative contained a laundry list of gun control measures including a definition of an assault weapon (sic) that would include Ruger 10/22s, raised the age to purchase semi-automatic rifles to 21, specified waiting periods, enacted a safe storage provision, includes a $25 tax on each semi-automatic rifle sold, requires law enforcement to verify annually that owners of handguns and semi-auto rifles are legally allowed to own them, and it includes a training requirement.

The initiative was funded in great part by billionaires such as Michael Bloomberg, Nick Hanauer, and the late Paul Allen. The goal, while not state overtly, is to kill out the gun culture in Washington State by making it so onerous and creating such a slippery slope that casual gun owners will just give up. You can hear some thoughts on this from a Washington State resident in Episode 308 of The Squirrel Report podcast.

The lawsuit, Mitchell et al v. State of Washington et al, was filed on Wednesday in US District Court for the Western District of Washington. It is a complaint for both a declaratory judgment and injunctive relief based upon a claim of violations of the Commerce Clause, and the 2nd and 14th Amendment.

The plaintiffs are firearms dealers Daniel Mitchell and Robin Ball, 19 year old competitive shooter Luke Rettmer who is a member of the US Long Range Rifle Under 21 team, 19 year old Army reservist and college student Nathaniel Casey, and recreational shooters Armen Tooloee and Matthew Wald who are 20 and 19 years old respectively. The Second Amendment Foundation and the National Rifle Association are the organizational plaintiffs in the case.

The lawsuit focuses in on four aspects of I-1639 which goes into effect, in part, on January 1, 2019 with the remainder going into effect on July 1, 2019. First, it challenges Section 12 of the Initiative’s ban on the sale of semi-automatic rifles to out-of-state residents on the grounds it “impermissibly burdens interstate commerce in violation of the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution, Art. I § 8 cl. 3.”

Secondly, the lawsuit challenges Section 13 of the Initiative which raises the age to purchase semi-automatic rifles to 21. It seeks a declaration that “by preventing the sale to otherwise qualified adults under age 21 of certain rifles, impermissibly burdens their exercise of rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.” They are making this claim on behalf of both the Young Adult Plaintiffs and the Organizational Plaintiffs. It is asserted that no state interest justifies this infringement and that the ban is broader than needed to serve any “possible alleged governmental interest.”

Thirdly, the lawsuit contends that the Section 13 of the Initiative “impermissably burdens” the rights guaranteed to the Young Adult Plaintiffs under Article I Section 24 of the Washington Constitution.

Finally, the lawsuit says that the intention of Washington State Attorney General Robert Ferguson to enforce the provisions of I-1639 and will be acting under “color of law”. Thus, Ferguson will be depriving “plaintiffs of civil rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, as applied by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

The plaintiffs seek to have the challenged portions of I-1639 declared unconstitutional and to enjoin enforcement of the entire I-1639 unless the challenged parts are ruled severable, and if so, then enforcement of the challenged parts.

The complaint in its entirety can be found here.

Both the Second Amendment Foundation and the National Rifle Association have issued releases regarding this lawsuit.

Alan Gottlieb of SAF had this to say:

“We are also considering additional legal challenges,” SAF Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb confirmed. “We are disappointed that too many Evergreen State voters were fooled into supporting this 30-page gun control scheme, despite overwhelming law enforcement opposition. This initiative is an affront to the constitutional rights enshrined in the Second Amendment and the Washington state constitution, especially for young adults.

“We’re determined to fight this egregious measure because constitutionally-protected rights should never be subject to a popularity vote,” he stated. “The wealthy elitists behind I-1639 want to turn a right into a regulated privilege. This measure was only designed to have a chilling effect on the exercise of a constitutional right by honest citizens while having no impact at all on criminals, and we cannot let it go unchallenged.”

Chris Cox of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action had similar comments:

“The NRA is committed to restoring the Second Amendment rights of every law-abiding Washingtonian,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of NRA¹s Institute for Legislative Action. “I-1639 violates the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens and puts people at risk. This lawsuit is the first step in the fight to ensure that Washingtonians are free to exercise their fundamental right to self-defense.”…



“The NRA will fight to overturn this unconstitutional initiative. We will not sit idly by while elitist anti-gun activists attempt to deny everyday Americans their fundamental right to self-defense,” concluded Cox.

I, for one, am quite pleased to see the Second Amendment Foundation and the National Rifles Association working together on this lawsuit and not competing with one another for bragging rights. This is the way it should be.

A Judge Who Believes The Rules Matter

It is refreshing to see a state judge who believes the rules matter when it comes to a voter initiative. Thurston County (Washington) Superior Court Judge James Dixon is that kind of judge.

This past Friday he threw out the 300,000 signatures collected on petitions on Initiative 1639 which would entail another round of gun control in Washington State.  Judge Dixon found that the print on the forms was too small to be read and that the petitions did not clearly state what would be the changes in the law. He ordered the Secretary of State’s office to stop certification of the ballot initiative.

Among the things the initiative would do is raise the age to purchase a modern semi-auto sporting weapon including .22 rifles to age 21, require a firearm safety training course, and mandate safe storage. The petition process was started by the Alliance for Gun Responsibility and funded primarily by high tech billionaires such as Paul Allen.

As you might expect, the Alliance for Gun Responsibility is appealing this to the Washington State Supreme Court. Moreover, as their CEOs comments make clear they are not happy campers.

“The right of Washingtonians to make changes to our laws via initiative has been part of our state’s history for more than 100 years and is fundamental to the Washington we know today,” (Renee) Hopkins said. “Today’s decision tossed out the signatures of more than 378,000 voters, and undermined the rights of the citizens of this state in favor of the interests of the gun lobby. It’s not right, and we will continue to fight.”

Actually, it was the Alliance for Gun Responsibility’s playing fast and loose with the established rules regarding the form and style of initiative petitions that undermined the petition and not anything the judge did. I guess they thought with all the money that they had the court would just roll over for them.

As you might expect, Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation who sued as a private citizen was very pleased with the result.

“A few billionaires donated millions of dollars to buy the signatures to get this fraudulent initiative on the ballot,” Gottlieb observed. “But they couldn’t buy the Court.”

“The initiative process has no place for deceit and deception,” Gottlieb said. “The so-called Alliance for Gun Responsibility acted totally irresponsible in circulating this initiative to the voters and it not only cost them millions of wasted dollars but their credibility as well.”

The NRA had also sued along with Alan Gottlieb and the ruling is in response to both lawsuits. Chris Cox of the NRA-ILA had this to say:

“The National Rifle Association is glad to see the court today recognized how negligent, if not worse, gun control advocates were in their signature-gathering for this ill-advised ballot initiative,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director, NRA-ILA. “We got involved because I-1639 tramples on the rights of Washington state voters, and because the way these anti-gun activists went about pushing their agenda was egregious. We applaud this decision, and will remain vigilant in protecting the constitutional freedoms of all Americans.”

It is good for gun rights to see the NRA and the Second Amendment Foundation working together in Washington State. They are also co-plaintiffs in two more lawsuits challenging efforts by Seattle and Edmonds to circumvent the state’s strong preemption laws on firearms regulations.

NRA-ILA “Applauds” The Kavanaugh Pick

Continuing on with the across the board approval of the Kavanaugh pick by gun rights groups is the response of the NRA through its NRA-ILA arm.

From NRA-ILA:

Fairfax, Va. -The National Rifle Association (NRA) applauds the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill Justice Anthony Kennedy’s seat on the United States Supreme Court.

“President Trump has made another outstanding choice in nominating Brett Kavanaugh for the U.S. Supreme Court. He has an impressive record that demonstrates his strong support for the Second Amendment,” said Chris W. Cox, Executive Director, NRA-ILA. “We urge the Senate to swiftly confirm Judge Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, just as it confirmed him to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.”

During his tenure on the U.S. Court of Appeals, Kavanaugh wrote a strong dissenting opinion in opposition to Washington, D.C.’s ban on commonly owned semi-automatic firearms and registration requirement by applying an historical test consistent with Justice Scalia’s opinion in Heller.

“Judge Kavanaugh has demonstrated his clear belief that the Constitution should be applied as the Framers intended. To that end, he has supported the fundamental, individual right to self-defense embraced by Justice Scalia in the historic Heller decision. ”

“On behalf of our six million members, the NRA strongly supports Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court. We will be activating our members and tens of millions of supporters throughout the country in support of Judge Kavanaugh. He will protect our right to keep and bear arms and is an outstanding choice to fill Justice Kennedy’s seat,” concluded Cox.

NRA Opposes Both Feinstein’s S.1916 And Curbelo’s HR 3999

The NRA announced yesterday that it opposed both Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s S.1916 and Rep. Carlos Curbelo’s HR 3999. These bills would ban any part that could increase the rate of fire of a semi-automatic fire.

The opposition was announced via an interview with the Washington Free Beacon’s Stephen Gutowski.

“We are opposed to the Feinstein and Curbelo legislation,” Jennifer Baker, a spokesperson for the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, told the Washington Free Beacon.

The text for Sen. Feinstein’s S.1916 can be found here while the text of  Rep. Curbelo’s HR 3999 can be found here. The Trojan Horse in both bills is this language.

any part, combination of parts, component, device, attachment, or accessory that is designed or functions to accelerate the rate of fire of a semi- automatic rifle but not convert the semiautomatic rifle into a machinegun.

As I noted in earlier blog posts on the issue, this could be anything from a replacement trigger reset spring to a Geissele trigger to a lightweight AR bolt carrier to a heavier AR buffer. In other words, the BATFE Technology Division could use this to ban anything and everything related to a semi-automatic rifle short of the gritty mil-spec trigger.