And They’ll Respect Us In The Morning

There are those great lies we all know. Things like “the check is in the mail”, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you”, and “I’ll respect you in the morning.” I’d to add another that is quickly becoming all too obvious in the post-Las Vegas mass casualty event hysteria: “I’m a Republican, I respect the Second Amendment, and if you vote for me, you can be assured I’ll never vote for a gun control bill.”

Consider these comments from North Carolina Republican congressmen. All of these comments were published in the Raleigh News and Observer yesterday.

Rep. George Holding (R-NC-2)

“This is a way to circumvent the law, existing law, by sloppily converting a semi-automatic weapon into an automatic weapon. I think we ought to look at getting rid of those,” Holding said Thursday. “You’re purposely trying to circumvent the law.”

Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC-6).

If somebody, just like any other avenue, is circumventing that law, then I think it’s something we should take a look at it. My first impulse is that could be a problem,” said Rep. Mark Walker of Greensboro, who is chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee.

“At the same time, we don’t want to get to a place where any law we pass out of this House … targets more the law-abiding citizen then the criminal. We want to make sure that we’re protecting our society.”

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC-11). Meadows is also chair of the House Freedom Caucus which makes this doubly disturbing. (I met Mark for the first time at a gun show. He needed gun owners then to win in the primary runoff.)

Meadows said ATF may be able to change a rule or regulation that could solve the problem. The federal government allowed the sale of “bump stocks” in 2010.

“What enforcement capabilities are already in statute as it would relate to this? Is there a need for additional legislation?” he said.

Rep. Walter Jones, Jr. (R-NC-3)

Rep. Walter Jones, a Republican who represents much of eastern North Carolina, said he hasn’t had much time to study the “bump stock” issue. He planned to look into it this weekend.

“I have a very great concern about all the shootings and the killings of the American people,” Jones said. “I am concerned, deeply concerned, but I don’t know what the next step should be.”

The statement by the NRA on bump fire stocks will be used by Republicans to give themselves cover. My problem with their statement is that it looks like pre-emptive surrender on a firearm accessory that has been already approved by the BATFE.

While that statement may just be a delaying tactic as Sebastian contends, I still think the optics of it are bad. Few people will actually parse the statement to see what the NRA actually said and will assume incorrectly that they are for a ban on bump fire stocks. As I wrote on Thursday, “However, if bump fire stocks are banned now what is to say that other gun parts such as adjustable stocks or standard capacity magazines won’t be banned later. If you open the door to the ban on one thing, don’t you open the door to the ban of anything firearm related?”

It is a slippery slope. Our opponents recognize this and it is a feature to them. As House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told a reporter, “”They’re going to say, ‘You give them bump stock, it’s going to be a slippery slope.’ I certainly hope so.”

In the meantime, call, write, and fax your senators and representatives. They need to hear from you now in very clear and unambiguous terms. Links for the four Republicans quoted are above. You can find your representative by putting in your zip code here.

Time For Letters And Faxes To Congress

I wasn’t sure if I should post this to the blog or not. It is a copy of a letter that I wrote yesterday to Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) who is my congressman. McHenry is also the Chief Deputy Majority Whip so he is also part of the Republican leadership in the House.

My friend Rob Morse also wrote his congressman along with Paul Ryan and posted his letter on his SlowFacts blog. His is a little shorter and more to the point.

I am putting a link to my letter in Google Docs as well so that anyone can use it as the basis for their own letter or fax. McHenry has three offices in the district in addition to his one in DC. I faxed each and every one that had a published fax number.

Hon. Patrick McHenry
Member of Congress
By Fax

Dear Rep. McHenry:

I have written to you in the past urging passage of the Hearing Protection Act. It has now been incorporated into HR 3668 – the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act of 2017 – as Title XV of the SHARE Act.

Hearing is one sense that once lost can never be regained. I know as I suffer from both hearing loss and tinnitus. To those who say just use ear plugs or shooting muffs, neither deals adequately with the concussive wave of the exploding gases of the gun shot. I have attached the executive summary from a position paper in favor of suppressors by Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership. As they note, restricting suppressors is an obstacle to hearing safety.

A suppressor on a firearm is like a muffler on a lawn mower. It doesn’t make it silent; it merely reduces the noise level to a safer decibel level. To say as Hillary Clinton did the other day that it would have made the tragedy in Las Vegas even worse is to merely to show ignorance. Police, the average citizen, and “shot spotter” software could all have detected the gunfire by sound as well as its location.

HR 3668 has passed out of all committees and is now on the Union Calendar of the House as number 224. There are reports that Speaker Ryan is now determined to sit on the bill and not let it come up for a vote. As you are a member of House leadership in your role as Chief Deputy Majority Whip, let me make one thing perfectly clear to you and to the rest of the GOP.

THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE.

Republicans would not hold a majority of both houses of Congress, Donald Trump would not be President, and there would not be a Republican supermajority of the North Carolina General Assembly if it were not for us in the firearms community. We have been given too many promises over too many years that Republicans are our allies in the fight for gun rights. We have given our votes and we have been continually disappointed. It is always there are more important things to handle and we’ll get to it “next year”. We are treated like Lucy treats Charlie Brown.

No more! While I can’t speak for everyone in the gun rights community, my vote will not be forthcoming unless I see good bills like HR 3668 and Rep. Hudson’s HR 38 brought up for recorded votes and passed in the House.

I attended and spoke at the 2017 Gun Rights Policy Conference held this past weekend in Dallas, Texas. Both the SHARE Act and HR 38 were discussed. A resolution was adopted on Sunday that demanded a recorded vote on both of these bills. Collectively, we have made the decision to stop playing “Charlie Brown” to the GOP’s “Lucy”.

I remain,

Sincerely yours,

John P. Richardson

Attachment: Executive Summary: Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership Position Paper in Favor of Firearm Suppressors to Prevent Hearing Loss

You can get the executive summary of DRGO’s position paper here. I would suggest including it with your fax or letter.

The Proper Response To GOP Requests For Money Is No

I received a plea for money today from Phil Berger who is the President Pro Tem of the North Carolina Senate. He was one of the politicians visited in Raleigh last week in GRNC’s Squish the Magic RINO demonstration. He was targeted because HR 746 which would allow permitless concealed carry is still bottled up in the North Carolina Senate.

The proper response to any of these supposedly pro-gun Republicans asking for money is NO. As I said in my response to Sen. Berger, I wanted to see action and that means both bringing bills to a vote and an affirmative vote.

Any damn fool in Congress or a state house can introduce a bill. It doesn’t mean it has a chance in hell of being passed. That is just a means of appeasement.

HB 746 is languishing in the North Carolina Senate waiting to be sent to the floor. Meanwhile, both national reciprocity and the Hearing Protection Act (or its variants) have not made it to the floor of either chamber of Congress. It is long past time for the state and national GOP to reward some of their most faithful supporters with passage of pro-gun legislation. Until I start to see some action, my checkbook stays closed.

Constitutional Carry Passes Vote In NC House But…..

House Bill 746, the Omnibus Gun Bill which contains a provision for permitless concealed carry, passed its first two votes on the floor of the North Carolina House yesterday. The bill will have its third and final vote on Thursday. It passed on a vote of 65 yea, 54 nay, and 1 not voting. All weakening amendments were either defeated or tabled.

This should be a moment of joy and celebration for gun rights supporters in North Carolina and the nation. It should be except it isn’t. The bill if it passes the North Carolina State Senate will almost certainly be vetoed by Gov. Roy Cooper (D-NC). For the bill to have been veto-proof it required 72 yea votes. In other words, the bill needed either a few Democrat supporters which was unlikely or fewer Republican defections.

Now the question that remains is whether those eight Republicans are anti-rights, have been bought off by Michael Bloomberg and his hired guns, or both. It is too soon to see if campaign contributions will be made by Bloomberg to any of these eight. Nonetheless, it appears that Bloomberg’s hiring of lobbyist Chris McClure was a smart tactical move given McClure’s Republican connections. As for their stand on gun rights, most of them were considered wobbly given their ratings by GRNC with only two having 3 stars or better ratings.

So the question remains as to whether any of the “Elite Eight” or “Elitest Eight” (as they are called by Grass Roots North Carolina) will change their vote Thursday.

In the meantime, here are the eight Republicans that voted against constitutional carry and against their own party’s platform. Links to their legislative webpage are in the captions below each picture.

Rep. Ted Davis (R-New Hanover)
Rep. John Faircloth (R-Guilford))
Rep. John Fraley (R-Iredell)
Rep. D. Craig Horn (R-Union)
Rep. Frank Iler (R-Brunswick)
Rep. Chuck McGrady (R-Henderson)
Rep. Samuel Watford (R-Davidson)
Rep. Linda Hunt Williams (R-Wake)

You can read GRNC’s alert on the defection of these eight Republicans here. It contains a pre-written email to send to them.

If these eight had voted against funding abortions or against free lunches for school kids you know the Democrats would be sending their minions to demonstrate in front of their homes and offices. The news media would run the story as the lead item on the local broadcast. I rarely see gun rights supporters adopting their Alinskyite tactics. The only exception I can think of is the demonstrations by activists from the New Jersey Second Amendment Society (NJ2AS) outside the home of Senate President Steve Sweeney after the death of Carol Bowne who was murdered while waiting for a carry permit. I can’t say whether or not these type of demonstrations would be effective in North Carolina but they certainly would get the media’s attention.

UPDATE: A reader who is active in North Carolina gun rights politics sent me this by email and he is 100% correct.

With respect to your article, I would add only that what matters is not how the eight voted today, but rather how they would vote on an override. Many who oppose the bill will vote for an override out of loyalty to their party.

HB 746 passed its Third Reading yesterday on a vote of 64-51. Rep. Craig Horn and Rep. Sam Watford who are mentioned above did not vote as they had excused absences. Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) did vote and he voted for passage.

The Omnibus Gun Bill has been ordered engrossed and will now be sent to the North Carolina State Senate for their consideration.

Sit-Ins Pay Off For The Democrats

It was only last week that the House Democrats held an all-night sit-in the House chamber to protest in favor of gun control. We sadly saw a hero of the civil rights movement, Rep. John Lewis (R-GA), protesting in favor of actions that would actually curtail both 2nd and 5th Amendment guarantees. At the time, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said the Democrats sit-in was nothing more than political theater and that the Constitution must be protected.

That was then and this is now.

According to the Washington Examiner, Ryan told the House Republican Conference that the House will vote next week on a package of measures including one that would use the no-fly list to deny firearms purchases.

The House will vote on an anti-terrorism measure next week that would prevent terror suspects from purchasing guns, House Speaker Paul Ryan told GOP lawmakers Thursday.


In a conference call with the House Republican conference, Ryan, R-Wis., outlined a plan to vote on a legislative package that responds to the recent terrorist shootings, including limiting access to firearms by those on federal terror watch lists.


“The terrorism package will include measures to disrupt radicalization and recruitment, and a provision to prevent suspected terrorists from buying guns,” a GOP aide said….


The move comes as Democrats threaten to continue “sit-in” demonstrations on the House floor until the GOP majority allows votes on two specific Democratic gun control measures. The demonstrations forced the House GOP to gavel out early for a week-long recess earlier this month.

You know what this means – time to start calling/emailing/faxing your Representative. You can find their webpages and phone numbers here.

Time To Turn The Screws Down On Republicans In NC

It is time for the Republicans in the North Carolina General Assembly to either put up or shut up. They talk a good game when they want gun owners votes but when given a chance to actually send a decent gun bill to the governor, they waffle and drag their feet.

HB 937 which would amend a number of gun laws in North Carolina has passed both the House and the Senate in different forms. When given a choice on passing the stronger of the two versions, the House Republicans waffled and sent it to a conference committee. Now the conference committee which is composed entirely of Republicans is dragging its feet. The General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn this coming Friday.

We went through this garbage in the last session where one house passed restaurant carry and then it was never acted upon by the other house. It is time for this nonsense to stop. The conference committee needs to report out a bill without garbage attached to it and to do it now.

As Grass Roots North Carolina notes in their alert below, Republicans will be held accountable if they fail to pass this bill. Instead of considering a bill to honor All-American Cities, why not do something that is substantive and not symbolic?

The clock to adjournment is ticking…IT IS TIME TO BRING THE HEAT!

While the gun rights of North Carolinians hang in the balance, Republican leadership can’t stop playing political games. They are being manipulated by the competing misguided interests of the NC Sheriffs’ Association (NCSA) and NRA.

The political angst has reached the level that Rep. Jacqueline Schaffer has begun emailing accusations that GRNC is spreading “inaccurate information”. GRNC President Paul Valone quickly responded:

“As I just told your legislative assistant, Sharon, I would love to know what is “inaccurate” about our reporting. My understanding was that to close what you yourself have called the “arming felons loophole,” sans repeal of all or part of the purchase permit statute, you suggested requiring NICS checks if purchase permits were older than 30 days. As we have said all along (and I have numerous positions issued to Republicans to this effect), punishing gun owners for the malfeasance of the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association is unacceptable to us. So please, tell me what is “inaccurate,” before I am forced to report to 87,000 gun owners that it is actually you who is disseminating false information.“

It is time to stop the blame game and pandering to NCSA and NRA. These organizations didn’t elect the Assembly. You did. Have they forgotten who they represent?

Apparently they need another reminder. GRNC has set-up a “Pass HB 937” petition at http://grnc.org/pass-h937 that will help the politicians focus on the issue. Sign it, and pass along the link to your friends.

The Assembly is set to adjourn this Friday. We only have a few more days to instill sense in both the Assembly and Governor McCrory and get this bill passed.

We have fought for years for this progress. Failure IS NOT AN OPTION!

IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED!

You need to do three things:

  1. Call the three Republican leaders, Gov. McCrory, Speaker Tillis, President Pro Tempore Berger;

  2. Sign the petition and forward it to others; and

  3. Send the copy-and-paste message to all Republicans in the NC House and Senate

MAKE SURE TO BOTH CALL AND EMAIL Sen. Berger, Speaker Tillis and Gov. McCrory. This is our last chance to make an impression. Let’s make it GOOD!

CONTACT INFORMATION

Speaker Thom Tillis, 919-733-3451, Email: Thom.Tillis@ncleg.net

Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, 919-733-5708, Email: Phil.Berger@ncleg.net

Gov. Pat McCrory, 919-814-2000, Email using BOTH this address governor.office@nc.gov AND the webpage at http://www.governor.state.nc.us/contact/email-pat

Use the following cut-and-paste email list to contact NC House Republicans:

Dean.Arp@ncleg.net; Marilyn.Avila@ncleg.net; John.Bell@ncleg.net; Hugh.Blackwell@ncleg.net; Jamie.Boles@ncleg.net; Robert.Brawley@ncleg.net; Brian.Brown@ncleg.net; Rayne.Brown@ncleg.net; Rob.Bryan@ncleg.net; Dana.Bumgardner@ncleg.net; Justin.Burr@ncleg.net; Rick.Catlin@ncleg.net; George.Cleveland@ncleg.net; Jeff.Collins@ncleg.net; Debra.Conrad@ncleg.net; Leo.Daughtry@ncleg.net; Ted.Davis@ncleg.net; Jimmy.Dixon@ncleg.net; Josh.Dobson@ncleg.net; Jerry.Dockham@ncleg.net; Nelson.Dollar@ncleg.net; Jeffrey.Elmore@ncleg.net; John.Faircloth@ncleg.net; Jim.Fulghum@ncleg.net; Mike.Hager@ncleg.net; Jon.Hardister@ncleg.net; Kelly.Hastings@ncleg.net; Mark.Hollo@ncleg.net; Bryan.Holloway@ncleg.net; Craig.Horn@ncleg.net; Julia.Howard@ncleg.net; Pat.Hurley@ncleg.net; Frank.Iler@ncleg.net; Charles.Jeter@ncleg.net; Linda.Johnson2@ncleg.net; Bert.Jones@ncleg.net; Jonathan.Jordan@ncleg.net; Donny.Lambeth@ncleg.net; James.Langdon@ncleg.net; David.Lewis@ncleg.net; Chris.Malone@ncleg.net; Susan.Martin@ncleg.net; Pat.McElraft@ncleg.net; Chuck.McGrady@ncleg.net; Allen.McNeill@ncleg.net; Chris.Millis@ncleg.net; Tim.Moffitt@ncleg.net; Tim.Moore@ncleg.net; Tom.Murry@ncleg.net; Michele.Presnell@ncleg.net; Nathan.Ramsey@ncleg.net; Dennis.Riddell@ncleg.net; Stephen.Ross@ncleg.net; Jason.Saine@ncleg.net; Ruth.Samuelson@ncleg.net; Jacqueline.Schaffer@ncleg.net; Mitchell.Setzer@ncleg.net; Phil.Shepard@ncleg.net; Paul.Stam@ncleg.net; Edgar.Starnes@ncleg.net; Bob.Steinburg@ncleg.net; Sarah.Stevens@ncleg.net; Michael.Stone@ncleg.net; John.Szoka@ncleg.net; Thom.Tillis@ncleg.net; John.Torbett@ncleg.net; Rena.Turner@ncleg.net; Harry.Warren@ncleg.net; Andy.Wells@ncleg.net; Roger.West@ncleg.net; Chris.Whitmire@ncleg.net

Use the following cut-and-paste email list to contact NC Senate Republicans:

Austin.Allran@ncleg.net, Tom.Apodaca@ncleg.net, Chad.Barefoot@ncleg.net, Tamara.Barringer@ncleg.net, Phil.Berger@ncleg.net, Stan.Bingham@ncleg.net, Andrew.Brock@ncleg.net, Harry.Brown@ncleg.net, Peter.Brunstetter@ncleg.net, Bill.Cook@ncleg.net, David.Curtis@ncleg.net, Warren.Daniel@ncleg.net, Jim.Davis@ncleg.net, Thom.Goolsby@ncleg.net, Rick.Gunn@ncleg.net, Kathy.Harrington@ncleg.net, Fletcher.Hartsell@ncleg.net, Ralph.Hise@ncleg.net, Neal.Hunt@ncleg.net, Brent.Jackson@ncleg.net, Wesley.Meredith@ncleg.net, Buck.Newton@ncleg.net, Louis.Pate@ncleg.net, Ron.Rabin@ncleg.net, Bill.Rabon@ncleg.net, Shirley.Randleman@ncleg.net, Bob.Rucho@ncleg.net, Norman.Sanderson@ncleg.net, Dan.Soucek@ncleg.net, Jeff.Tarte@ncleg.net, Jerry.Tillman@ncleg.net, Tommy.Tucker@ncleg.net, Trudy.Wade@ncleg.net

DELIVER THIS MESSAGE

Suggested Subject: Republicans will be held responsible for failure of HB 937

Dear Speaker Tillis/President Pro Tem Phil Berger/Governor Pat McCrory/Representative/Senator:

NC gun owners have worked too hard for too long and have spent too much time and money supporting politicians claiming to be pro-Second Amendment. If HB 937, the omnibus gun bill, fails to be passed into law we will hold you responsible.

You need to make sure this bill leaves the conference committee and is signed by Gov. McCrory. We’ve had enough of the political games. HB 937 must be signed into law this year or there will be a price to be paid during the next election.

You owe this to NC gun owners who are largely responsible for your election. Do not disappoint us.

I will be following progress through Grass Roots North Carolina legislative alerts.

Respectfully,

Quote Of The Day

The quote of the day comes from Herschel Smith who writes the Captain’s Journal blog. It is to the Republicans in Congress, especially those in the House, about what will happen if they don’t block any and all gun control measures currently being pushed.

However, the Republicans stand warned.  If – controlling the House of
Representatives – they allow new gun control measures to pass to the
President’s desk, the GOP will cease to exists as a viable political
party.  Voters are having difficulty finding differences between them
and the Democrats anyway.  Caving on gun control would seal the fate of
the GOP as a historical relic rather than a future possibility.

Read his full post. He discusses what we can expect in the next few months.

A Valid Question

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (D-UT) appeared on FoxNews yesterday to discuss Operation Fast and Furious and why the Justice Department has blown off yet again a deadline set by Congress to produce materials. He was interviewed by Fox’s Bill Hemmer who asked what I consider a valid question: “Is it time for you folks to put up or shut up?” It was asked in the context of the investigation and how the Congressional leadership seems willing to let deadlines slide, to let Holder stonewall, and to fail to follow up with concrete action such as a contempt citation.

Machiavelli said the Prince must be both a lion and a fox. So far we’ve seen the fox but there is no sign of the lion other than the cowardly lion of the Wizard of Oz when it comes to the Republican leadership trio of Boehner, Cantor, and McCarthy. I think you can see the frustration of Rep. Chaffetz in this interview and I’m sure Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) must be fuming over their inaction.

Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com

The Letter From The Republican Leadership To Holder

As I said in the previous post, the House Republican leadership sent a letter yesterday to Attorney General Eric Holder demanding answers on Operation Fast and Furious. If Holder and the rest of the Obama Administration continue to obstruct and impede this investigation, I think the contempt citation, which in my opinion is overdue, is a foregone conclusion.

I think the House leadership has looked to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton and the political fallout for the Republicans from it as a reason they should go slow. However, they are missing one essential difference: Bill Clinton lied about having sex while two Federal law enforcement officers and hundreds of Mexican nationals died as a result of Operation Fast and Furious. I think the Republican leadership should have enough faith in the American people to understand that the people will see that essential difference.

From the press release:

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), and Oversight & Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder this morning demanding full cooperation with the ongoing investigation into the “Fast and Furious” operation and the death of Border Agent Brian Terry.

The letter states that the Department of Justice has not sufficiently complied with a Congressional subpoena seeking answers on the operation, and questions whether false information that was provided – and later withdrawn – was “was part of a broader effort by your Department to obstruct a Congressional investigation.”

“The Terry family deserves to know the truth about the circumstances that led to Agent Terry’s murder,” write the Congressional leaders. And “the American people deserve to know how such a fundamentally flawed operation could have continued for so long and have a full accounting of who knew of and approved an operation that placed weapons in the hands of drug cartels.”

And the letter:

May 18, 2012

The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr.
Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, D.C. 20530

Dear Attorney General Holder:

We write to express our concerns with the lack of full cooperation from the Department of Justice (“the Department”) with the ongoing Congressional investigation into the operation known as “Fast & Furious” and the related death of Border Agent Brian Terry. While we recognize that the Department has provided some documents in response to some aspects of the October 11, 2011, subpoena from the Chairman of the Oversight & Government Reform Committee (“the Committee”), two key questions remain unanswered: first, who on your leadership team was informed of the reckless tactics used in Fast & Furious prior to Agent Terry’s murder; and, second, did your leadership team mislead or misinform Congress in response to a Congressional subpoena?

We are troubled by the Department’s assertions that the Executive Branch possesses the ability to determine whether inquiries from the Legislative Branch have been fully complied with. As the Supreme Court has noted, each co-equal branch of our Government is supreme in their assigned area of Constitutional duties. Thus, the question of whether the Executive Branch has sufficiently complied with a Congressional subpoena requesting specific information pursuant to Congress’ Article I responsibilities is one only the Legislative Branch can answer.

One fact appears to be undisputed by all concerned: Fast & Furious was a fundamentally flawed operation. It was taken to an extreme that resulted in at least one death of a U.S. Border Patrol agent and unknown other consequences, because U.S. law enforcement agencies allowed thousands of firearms to be illegally “walked” into Mexico and into the hands of drug cartels. Beyond the horrific impact on the Terry family, there is no doubt that this operation has done serious harm to one of the United States’ most important bilateral relationships. It is our hope that, in finding the truth, we can both provide closure to the Terry family, begin to repair our relationship with Mexico, and take steps to make necessary changes at the Department.

Clearly, the Department must take steps to ensure that tragic mismanagement like Fast & Furious does not occur in the future. Unfortunately, without the disclosure of the information requested in the October 11, 2011, subpoena regarding which members of your leadership team were informed of the reckless tactics that were used in the operation, the American people cannot be confident that any remedial steps you implement will accomplish this goal. For example, your leadership team recently asserted that “Department leadership was unaware of the inappropriate tactics used in Fast and Furious until allegations about those tactics were made public in early 2011.” Yet, Federal law requires that you, or a member of your leadership team, approve the application to a Federal judge for use of a wiretap.

In approving such an application, you or your designee would – or should – have reviewed the accompanying materials and affidavits that provided the basis for the wiretap application prior to affixing the Department’s approval to the application. We understand that the Fast & Furious operation may have included seven such wiretaps between March and July 2010. Whether the information used to justify the wiretap application or the information gained from the wiretaps is being used in any ongoing criminal prosecution is immaterial to the question of who on your leadership team reviewed and approved the wiretaps and was therefore privy to the details of the Fast & Furious operation. The assertion that your leadership team could approve wiretaps in 2010 and yet not have any knowledge of the tactics used in Fast & Furious until 2011 simply cannot be accurate and furthers the perception that the Department is not being forthright with Congress.

We would note that correspondence between your Deputy and Chairman Issa raises concerns that further Congressional actions might cause damage between the Legislative and the Executive branch. We would submit that the damage to that relationship began with a February 4, 2011, letter from the Department to the Congress that was subsequently withdrawn because it provided Congress with false information. The means to repair the damage caused by your Department lies within your powers to work with the Committee to find a mutually satisfactory level of compliance with the subpoena and avoid further confrontation.

While we are disappointed that a Senior Department official would provide false information to Congress, we are also concerned that it took your Department ten months to acknowledge the inaccuracy and ultimately withdraw the letter. In light of the letter and its subsequent withdrawal, it is critical for Congress to understand whether the letter was part of a broader effort by your Department to obstruct a Congressional investigation. We are unaware of any assertions of executive privilege that would prevent compliance with the Congressional subpoena. We are also unaware of any national security concerns or diplomatic sensitivities that would preclude compliance with the subpoena. Finally, as these post-February 4, 2011, communications concern the Department’s response to Congress, their disclosure to Congress would not impact any ongoing criminal investigations or prosecutions.

If the Office of Legal Counsel has provided a legal opinion that takes into account the specific circumstances of this investigation and you are relying on that opinion to maintain your current position, we would request that the opinion be provided to Congress at the earliest possible opportunity. Similar to arrangements previously made between your Department and Congressional investigators, we are confident that you possess adequate means to provide substantive compliance with a Congressional subpoena while protecting the integrity and confidentiality of specific documents.

We firmly believe and hope that you agree that a mutually acceptable resolution to this matter may yet be achieved. The Terry family deserves to know the truth about the circumstances that led to Agent Terry’s murder. The whistle-blowers who brought these issues to light deserve to be protected, not intimidated, by their government. And, the American people deserve to know how such a fundamentally flawed operation could have continued for so long and have a full accounting of who knew of and approved an operation that placed weapons in the hands of drug cartels.

As co-equal branches of the U.S. Government, the relationship between the Legislative and Executive branches must be predicated on honest communications and cannot be clouded by allegations of obstruction. If necessary, the House will act to fulfill our Constitutional obligations in the coming weeks. It is our hope that, with your cooperation, this sad chapter in the history of American law enforcement can be put behind us.

Sincerely,

Honorable John A. Boehner
Speaker

Honorable Eric Cantor
Majority Leader

Honorable Kevin McCarthy
Majority Whip

Honorable Darrell E. Issa
Chairman, Oversight and Government Reform Committee

Restaurant Carry In NC – Time For Action On HB 111

HB 111 which would allow concealed carry in restaurants and eating establishments that serve alcohol has passed the NC State House. However, it has languished in the State Senate. The General Assembly will reconvene in about 6 weeks and it is time to get the attention of both the Republican and Democratic leadership.

For those that have Twitter accounts, Sean Sorrentino has set up an easy way for you to send a message with a link to an account of a restaurant shooting. One of Sean’s good friends was a victim of that shooting but lived.

I would follow up with your own State Senator – even if they are anti-rights – with a direct email or letter. You can find address information for all Senators here. Just go to the pull-down menu in the upper right corner and select your State Senator.

The Republican leadership is reportedly scared of the bill due to some spurious poll supposedly showing a majority against it. It is time to put the pressure on them and remind them they need to get right with those who helped give them that majority – gun owners.