After nearly two weeks of speculation, the Second Amendment Foundation made it official this morning by confirming that the Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership has now merged with the Bellevue-based gun rights organization.
JPFO was founded in 1989 by the late Aaron Zelman. Since his death on Dec. 21, 2010, the organization has had problems. SAF was approached about the merger, and the process was kept confidential until the middle of last month when writer Claire Wolfe, upset over the looming acquisition, broke the story.
It created something of a short firestorm, but SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb weathered through, intent on seeing things to fruition. He said in a press release today that the action brings together “two stalwart gun rights organizations under one banner.”
“We see this as a tremendous opportunity,” Gottlieb said. “With SAF’s resources, we expect JPFO to continue its important work and grow to meet new challenges, educating people about the pitfalls of gun control, and the benefits of gun ownership and personal protection.”
Gottlieb assured Examiner that he intends to maintain JPFO’s independence, although operations for the group will move from Wisconsin, where it was headquartered under Zelman, to SAF’s Bellevue headquarters in Washington state. There are some advantages for JPFO under the new arrangement, including becoming a member organization in the International Association for the Protection of Civilian Arms Rights (IAPCAR), thus expanding its reach internationally.
Current JPFO members and contributors will continue to receive all benefits promised, Gottlieb said. JPFO’s website will continue to run independently as a stand-alone entity but will now include links to it from TheGunMag.com, KeepandBearArms.com, as well as SAF.org.
While Gottlieb came under some fierce criticism following Wolfe’s disclosure, he also got support from others in the gun rights community. Gary Marbut, president of the Montana Shooting Sports Association, leaped to his defense, as did Massad Ayoob. National Gun Rights Examiner David Codrea noted that after Gottlieb acquired Keep and Bear Arms.com, he continued to have articles posted there, and contributions from other writers, including Zelman’s original articles, remain on the website.
“JPFO was founded 25 years ago,” Gottlieb said, “and it has become a strong voice in defense of the Second Amendment. I’m personally confident that bringing JPFO into the SAF extended family will benefit firearms owners at many levels.”
With gun rights under an unrelenting attack from well-financed gun prohibitionists, firearms owners might be well-advised to put their differences – real or imagined – aside for the moment, at least. There is a common foe and it has a monstrous bankroll. It might just be that SAF didn’t “absorb” JPFO as much as it threw them a much-needed life preserver to keep them in the fight.