Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Washington, D.C. And The Folly Of Gun Registration

Washington D.C. has the strictest gun registration laws in the United States, forcing gun owners to re-register their guns with the city every three years or face jail time and heavy fines. Each time that a gun owner re-registers his weapons, he has to pay a fee of $13 for per gun.

As if that weren’t enough, the DC police department is now forcing local gun-owners to re-submit their fingerprints (and pay an additional $35 fingerprinting fee) as part of the re-registration process —despite the fact that each of them has already been fingerprinted.

And why is this?

The city is saying that it somehow “lost” the original fingerprints. That’s right —having already fingerprinted as many D.C. gun owners as possible, the city’s police are forcing the same people to undergo the process a second time, at their own expense, simply because it misplaced the original fingerprints.

Can everyone agree that D.C.’s gun registration program has been an utter failure?

Even if gun registration were Constitutional (which it isn’t), the incompetence of the D.C. police is proof that the government lacks the basic ability to administer an effective gun registration database.

The D.C. program was already failing miserably, even before it was revealed that the D.C. government had lost everyone’s fingerprints. Despite the threat of jail time and thousands of dollars in fines, barely a thousand guns have been re-registered since the re-registration policy was instituted in December 2013.

If the police are unable to administer it, and the people aren’t willing to participate in it, isn’t that a sign that gun registration should be scrapped?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Who Is Standing Up For Washington State Gun Owners?

The biggest battle over gun rights this election season isn’t in Washington, D.C. but in Washington State. Second Amendment supporters in Washington are facing off with the gun control lobby over dueling ballot initiatives — a pro-gun bill to prevent gun confiscation (I - 591) and an anti-gun bill to expand background checks (I - 594).

So far, it hasn’t been much of a fight. The anti-gun Washington Alliance For Gun Responsibility, supported by Seattle millionaires like Bill Gates and Paul Allen, has already raised more than $7 million in support of I – 594. The pro-gun side has raised only $1.3 million. The NRA — which just dropped $1.4 million in the Arkansas Senate race — has put only $191,000 into the fight.

Not surprisingly, polls show the anti-gunners pulling ahead, with seventy percent of voters favoring the background checks bill. According to gun rights activist Barron Barnett, many gun rights supporters in Washington aren’t even aware of what is going on. He recently wrote:

“I am terrified. Out of the people visiting their local gun show you would expect at least 90% [to have] heard of what’s going on. It’s more like 50%. Most have no real knowledge of either of the initiatives or their real legal impact.”

Barnett added that he feels abandoned by the NRA, writing that “the NRA is more than happy to take my money but then is no where to be found when things actually go sideways.”

With the NRA out of the picture, the fight is being led by Alan Gottlieb of the Washington State-based Second Amendment Foundation, who challenged Bill Gates to a debate over gun rights last month. But some have questioned Gottlieb’s commitment as well. Last month, the gun writer Claire Wolfe accused Gottlieb of being more interested in money and attention than gun rights, saying that he “need[s] and want[s] gun control because that’s what keeps the money and publicity flowing.”

Gottlieb was also widely criticized for supporting the Manchin – Toomey background check bill of 2013 (although he claims to have done so because the bill actually contained advances for gun rights.)

Time is running out to oppose I – 594 in Washington. One can only hope that gun groups will get their act together before it is too late.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Members Of Jews For The Preservation Of Firearms Ownership Oppose Merger With Second Amendment Foundation

Members of Jews For The Preservation Of Firearms Ownership are opposing the group’s merger with the Second Amendment Foundation, citing founder Aaron Zelman’s personal distrust of SAF leader Alan Gottlieb.

JFPO member and contractor Claire Wolfe revealed news of the merger on August 22nd. In a column for Backwoods Home magazine, she accused Gottlieb of being more motivated by profit than by principles, writing:
“[Aaron Zelman] despised Alan Gottlieb and saw him as an opportunist who used scary mailings to turn SAF/CCRKBA into a fundraising factory. He saw Gottlieb as a person who needed and wanted ‘gun control’ because that’s what kept the money and the publicity flowing.”
Wolfe identified Gottlieb’s support of the Manchin - Toomey gun control bill in 2013 as evidence of his willingness to compromise, pointing out that Gottlieb even boasted of helping to write the bill.

An anonymous JFPO member also accused Gottlieb of trying to gut JFPO simply to get his hands on the group’s mailing list:
“SAF is salivating at this ‘merger.’ What’s not to like? They pay a few bills, but they get a great email and snail-mail list. They probably know that there is very little overlap between SAF members and JPFO members.
But since SAF, Alan Gottlieb, and the lawyers he hires are unprincipled hypocrites, willing to compromise and toady at every turn, they don’t understand WHY there is so little overlap in membership.
The truth is, Aaron Zelman was a fanatic. In a good sense. He had a burning issue and a principled stance. He would never compromise.”
Despite these complaints, the merger between SAF and JFPO was announced on September 4th. Supporters of the deal said that JFPO had no other option. In a press release, the organization stated:
“[T]he 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. To solve these problems, the JPFO Board of Directors sought out and elected to merge with the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF).” 
An online petition to oppose the deal currently has almost 1500 signatures.