Following days of internet criticism over a proposed merger between the foundering Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JPFO) and the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) – the bulk aimed at SAF founder Alan Gottlieb – there are now voices coming forward in defense of the reported merger, and Gottlieb, at AmmoLand and Backwoods Home Magazine.
The controversy was ignited last week when now-former JPFO writer Claire Wolfe revealed the merger was in the works in her “Living Freedom” column at Backwoods Home. It sparked a firestorm that has gotten plenty of comment.
Yesterday, Massad Ayoob fired back in his own Backwoods Home column, putting a different perspective on the merge. Ayoob serves on the SAF board of trustees.
Likewise, Gary Marbut, the hardcore-as-nails Montana gun rights advocate, has jumped to Gottlieb’s defense. Where Gottlieb has been depicted by critics as a compromiser (or worse), Marbut portrayed his own dealings with the Washington-based gun rights advocate as above board, saying that Gottlieb kept his word to the letter in a legal case the two were involved in.
National Gun Rights Examiner David Codrea has covered the unfolding story in his column. Gottlieb, who is up to his ears in the “dueling initiatives” battle in Washington State, told this column Tuesday that things may not be finalized until later this week.
JPFO was founded by the late Aaron Zelman, who was no wallflower when it came to fighting for something in which he believed. His death nearly four years ago left a huge hole for many in the gun rights community.
This is not the first time that Gottlieb and SAF have thrown a life preserver to an organization or entity. He accepted control of the popular Keep and Bear Arms.com website a few years ago, and more recently, SAF brought Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership under its umbrella. The KABA acquisition is a sore spot for some people, while the DRGO merger keeps an important pro-gun medical community voice alive.
Contrary to what the gun prohibition lobby would have the public believe, the firearms community is hardly a monolithic voting bloc that thinks and talks alike on every issue. Gun owners argue amongst themselves about all manner of subjects, and the disagreements can get downright brutal. Such can certainly be said about the past 72 hours with the discussion and debate over the JPFO/SAF controversy.
One reaction to Ayoob’s Monday column may have put the discussion in its proper perspective. “I’ve seen the grousing, and was worried about the effects of such infighting,” one reader wrote. “Thanks for the clarity. There is only one enemy we need to be fighting.. Not each other!”
Therein lays a problem the Second Amendment community seems unable or unwilling to overcome. The bickering only strengthens gun prohibitionists. As one veteran gun rights activist observed, “Why should anyone stick his neck out when he has to worry more about friendly fire than attacks from a common foe? Sometimes our people seem more willing to fight each other than the bad guys.”