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Most gun owners appear unaware of or indifferent to gun group merger

Most of the gun community remains detached from a controversy that has produced bitter opposition in some.
Most of the gun community remains detached from a controversy that has produced bitter opposition in some.
Second Amendment Foundation/Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership

Gary Marbut of Montana Shooting Sports Association has weighed in on the proposed acquisition of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership by the Second Amendment Foundation, a merger that has resulted in deep, seemingly irreconcilable divisions within the gun rights activist community.

“Here’s a bit of insider info for you,” Marbut shared with readers on AmmoLand. “When Montana Shooting Sports Association (MSSA) was preparing to litigate the Montana Firearms Freedom Act through the federal courts, to validate the principles raised, Alan Gottlieb contacted me and asked if SAF could be named as a plaintiff. In exchange, he agreed to pay the costs of litigation.

“I agreed, with an important condition that Alan agreed to,” Marbut explained. “The condition was that I (me, Gary) would make ALL tactical and strategic decisions, I would be the official contact for the attorney(s), and that I and only I would decide what issues would be argued and how to argue them.

“Alan stuck to his word on that, and never interfered on the direction of the lawsuit,” Marbut concluded. “Sometimes we would talk on the phone and he would suggest one direction or another. Sometimes we agreed; sometimes we disagreed. But, Alan always (ALWAYS) allowed me to make the final call. He stuck to the letter and spirit of our verbal deal.”

This is one of the things I was referring to when I wrote "I also have some background I'm not free to share on other groups SAF has helped but has not come in and tried to force a change in principles or policy." Gary emailed me some days back after the controversy broke, but had not yet decided to weigh in.

Speaking of weighing in, Dave Workman does too, reporting on this development as well as the Massad Ayoob piece and observations from The Captain’s Journal, both also blogged about at The War on Guns.

Meanwhile, Claire Wolfe offers some suggestions in her post on Carl Bussjaeger’s piece (read “Bear’s” piece here, likewise, linked to at WoG) for those who wish to join her in opposing the deal going forward. I will make one observation on that effort, not to take sides, but simply to comment once more on a phenomenon I've seen result in effort after effort evaporating over the years, something I call "Profiles in Apathy." For those who agree with her, and from comments I've read, many do, and strongly, it's shameful that to date, fewer than 400 signatures have been collected on the petition opposed to the deal.

You could argue that people don't think online petitions are worth their time, but it's hard to conceive that the current board would not be swayed by tens of thousands of signatures. So perhaps you might argue that most gun owners don't agree with those opposing the acquisition.

If that's true, the scarcity of comments, on the "pro-deal" pieces, bringing gun owners information they have not heard before, leads to the disturbing conclusion that the pro-gun community just doesn't care that much about what happens to JPFO one way or the other, leading back to an observation I made in my first Gun Rights Examiner piece: "The inescapable conclusion is, had gun owners stepped up and supported a group struggling after the passing of its founder, its rescue would have been unneeded."

“Wow. Way to blame others for the group's failure,” one critic of that observation responded in comments. “I might suggest that a lack of support stems from a perception that JPFO isn't getting much done.”

I might suggest that perception stems from someone who does not recognize the value of the unique lessons JPFO alone provides, and that if his opinion had merit, a shrewd businessman like Alan Gottlieb would have no interest in assuming the costs of turning the group’s fortunes around. I might suggest a person who makes a comment like that has spent very little time seeing what it is JPFO does have to offer, and on helping to support its mission.

I might also suggest that a comment posted on a message board in response to Wolfe’s initial piece reflects an even more troubling issue.

“I skimmed through the article and still have no idea what SAF and JPFO means,” the forum member wrote.

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The seat of government is a mighty curious place to set up a Constitution-free zone. “On-Again, Off-Again” is my latest GUNS Magazine “Rights Watch” column, noting the bizarre turns taken to date in the Palmer case.

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My latest JPFO Alert, “Armed black demonstrators display egalitarian diversity of right to arms,” notes the folks accused of intolerance are actually the ones being inclusive -- and the ones doing the accusing are actually the narrow-minded bigots. Funny how that works.

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What good is a right if government can get away with whatever infringements they want? “Court Upholding Ban on Militia-Suitable Firearms Ignores Key Second Amendment Purpose” is my latest offering on The Shooters Log.