Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Gun Lobby Will Go to Any Length

On the site Mother Jones, there's a fascinating article entitled “There’s something about Mary: Unmasking a gun lobby mole,” which was published on July 30, 2008. The authors James Ridgeway, Daniel Schulman, and David Corn have put the spotlight on the "industrial espionage" that goes on between powerful lobbying groups and their antagonists, in this case the NRA and the Brady Campaign. It seems, Mary Sapone is nothing less than a bona fide undercover agent for the gun lobby.

Using her maiden name, McFate, Sapone began posing as a gun control activist in the mid-1990s. Bryan Miller, the executive director of Ceasefire New Jersey, a grassroots gun control group, recalls first meeting her in the summer of 1998. The NRA was holding its annual convention in downtown Philadelphia, and the event drew the usual bevy of protesters. Among them was a middle-aged woman then living in Pennsylvania who made a point of introducing herself to Miller. In the following years, Miller would remember this encounter well, as he watched McFate rise from a street protester to a figure known nationally within his movement.

During Sapone's ascent through the ranks of the gun control movement, she worked for the NRA, according to a business associate.

On the Brady Campaign site a challenge of sorts is proffered in an article called, "The NRA's Dirty Tricks Revealed."

Brady President Paul Helmke wrote in his blog "When the National Rifle Association asks its members for their next contribution, they might want to disclose how much of that money will be spent to spy on gun violence victims and their families."

What occurs to me is another challenge to the pro-gun folks. Let's find a way to reduce the gun violence in America to the point that the gun-control people will get off your back. Instead of encouraging the "us against them" mentality, lets work together to get the guns away from the criminals. Some of you guys are too defensive about your "right to bear arms." The moment we start talking, you think we want to take your guns away. I don't.

Can we all agree there are too many guns in the hands of criminals? From there we can discuss what's to be done.


  1. "Can we all agree there are too many guns in the hands of criminals? From there we can discuss what's to be done." 100% Agree, so long as we're talking about people who have violent tenancies or have been adjudicated as mentally unsound or criminally bad judgment...I personally have no problem with a tax cheat, or somebody who violated some odd state law (Like Selling a beer on a Sunday in Mass, or owning more than 3 dildos in Texas...both were felonies, thankfully both laws have been repealed, but there are plenty of others) being armed.

    As for this story, it goes around, but never addresses this issue. Why are anti-gun groups so secretive? I mean anybody can join the NRA and attend meetings, talk with management. They also openly publish their stances and agendas on their multiple websites. Hell Michael Moore flashed him NRA Life-Member card to Charlton Heston (Then Acting President of the NRA) in his Anti-Gun Film "Bowling for Columbine".

    Yet how do I join the Brady Campaign? How do I join Ceasefire PA? Stop Handgun Violence? When does the Violence Policy Center hold their Annual Meeting?

    Then there's the fishy stuff, like why did John Rosenthal put up a billboard with information he knows is untrue?

    Why does VPC one of the only FFLs in Washington DC?

    And why is so angry that DC residents have been calling him about him actually USING his FFL, as all other FFLs are required by to be engaging in business?

    So yes, Criminals shouldn't have guns...they also shouldn't have knives, or even hands and feet. (They just found a body in a playground in Boston last night. A Man in his 30s who was found stabbed to death, slumped on a park bench)

    The number of guns that are used in crime are a minute fraction, and are already covered by enough laws that conviction is easy given that the judge believes in crime and punishment (Also not the case in Boston).

    If its more laws that you propose, what law could have saved that man in Boston? Murder is illegal, assault is illegal, if the knife was over 4" long then that's a concealed weapon...illegal.

    Laws are only good at cleaning up the mess left behind.

  2. What occurs to me is another challenge to the pro-gun folks. Let's find a way to reduce the gun violence in America to the point that the gun-control people will get off your back.

    how is this not just a call for us to appease them until they're happy? and where is your evidence that they would ever be happy, no matter how much we appeased them?

    no; that was the path of the British, where today sharp edges are being gradually banned, for lack of anything else left to ban. that slippery slope has no bottom.

    here's my counteroffer --- it's for a genuine compromise. i'll take one new gun control law, in exchange for the repeal of one old one. propose a new law, and i'll pick out an old one to repeal, and then we can begin to horse trade. want to play?

  3. Weer'd, here's a comment on another blog I thought you'd like.
    The blog is:
    Here's the comment: "It is well known that the Kahr gun manufacturing company of Worcester, MA produces cheap nine mm handguns favored by many criminals, is owned by the fascist, heavily connected to Republican party, cult of Sun Myung Moon, (aka Unification Church). If you want to have some fun, search “George Bush/ Sun Myung Moon” and see how deep the Moonie boot is up the right-wing’s butt."

    Please say it ain't so, Weer'd.

  4. Kahr, cheap? that was not the impression i'd received of their products. as far as i'd heard, they make high-quality, moderate- to high-priced firearms designed for self defense purposes.

    the company is owned by one of Sun Myung Moon's sons, yes. i do not know how close to the tree his apple has fallen, though. the second- and third-hand reports i've heard sound to me like this particular Moon is more interested in guns than religion, but of course they could be wrong.

  5. Yep its true...Kahr is owned by a Non-Moonie Moon. And FUCK NO are Kahr's cheap! I'm hell-bent to get me one of their PM45s for light-carry, I won't be suprised if it'll set me back $700+ for 20oz of itty-bitty polymer-framed gun. From the Kahr's I've shot and the reviews I've read they're worth every penny
    Fantastic triggers for striker-fired DAO pistol!

    On an even funner note let me tell you the ONLY way I'm going to get my Kahr. My friend's wife is currently in her last year of grad school in Verginia, when she's done they'll be moving back to Mass. Kahr arms are currently not approved for sale in the state where they're built (They've passed all mass safety inspections, and are high-end guns...there's talk of bribes and political games...and they are not the only ones getting the run-around) So for me to get one a Kahr needs to be made in Worchester MA, Shipped to Verginia, bought legally by my friend there. He then needs to legally move into the state of Mass and apply for his licence within 30 days of the move and register ALL his guns. Then and ONLY THEN can he legally sell the gun to me...but only in one of his 4-per-year face-to-face gun sales...all of which will have paperwork sent to the state by law.

    Menwhile my other friend who bought a house just north of the Mass Boarder in New Hampshire, he has no gun, and no gun licences of any sort, but he can just walk into any gun shop in the state, pass a background check and walk away with one inside of an hour. Which state has the crime problem? Verginia, New Hampshire, Mass?

    Yeah we need more gun control for sure! Look at all the good it does!!!

    Oh and I thought of you when I read this, Mike:

  6. getting a bit off topic here by talking to the other commenters... weerd, why whoud you say "bowling for columbine" was an anti-gun film? i hear that a lot, but that just wasn't the message i got out of watching it.

    what i saw there was Moore focusing on culture more than guns. he made all those points about fearmongering news media, and about Canada being just as armed but safer and less worried, that just didn't jibe with any blatant anti-gun message.

    and then there was the interview with Heston, in which Mike Moore made himself out to look like a pushy, rude asshole and Heston came off looking like the perfect elder gentleman. if Moore was really a propagandist, that was one scene he ought not to have left in, no matter what.

  7. Mike,

    What occurs to me is another challenge to the pro-gun folks. Let's find a way to reduce the gun violence in America to the point that the gun-control people will get off your back.

    I'll take that challenge but why limit it to gun violence? How about dealing with knife violence, how about domestic violence, how about dealing with physical assaults without weapons?

    Is there some philosophical or moral difference between someone shot and someone stabbed?

    Instead of encouraging the "us against them" mentality, lets work together to get the guns away from the criminals

    Okay, My approach is to reduce the number of criminals instead of then number of guns. If there are 1000 criminals with guns; I can either take away guns or criminals, right? Both would reduce the number of guns in criminals hands.

    Are you willing to discuss what it takes to reduce the number of criminals? People like Broadnax who went out to rob someone and took a life over 2 dollars and a car. Do you have compassion for him? What are you willing to do to keep that type of person from committing another crime after showing his utter lack of concern for another human being?
    How about breaking the cycle of drug use, drug sales and the violence that goes with it? Are you willing to support mandatory death penalties or life imprisonment for anyone convicted of a violent crime in conjunction with committing another crime?
    Rob someone, that's okay, but rob someone and assault them and you go away for life! How about it? It would send a clear message that the human life is sacred and violence is wrong.

    Some of you guys are too defensive about your "right to bear arms." The moment we start talking, you think we want to take your guns away

    The reason for this is some people do want to take our guns away. You stated the same thing, you want to reduce the number of available guns by half. You didn't say you wanted to reduce the number of guns in criminal hands by half, you said all guns by half, right?

    So how do you take away criminal's guns without taking them away from law abiding?

    You want to reduce gun violence, I want to reduce all violence.
    I can support my contention that firearm related violent crime is only 10% of the total amount of violent crime.

  8. Parting shot following previous related thread...

    BBC News, Thursday 17th July 2008
    Police-recorded crime in England and Wales fell 9% in the 12 months to March, latest figures suggest.
    The first-ever reliable figures for knife crime showed there were 22,000 offences last year. They also show that while the risk of being a victim is at its lowest ever level, people still think that the rate is going up. Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said she was "extremely pleased" with the overall reduction. The annual crime report for 2007-2008 reveals the longest recorded period of falling crime - down 48% from 1995. It shows there were five million recorded crimes. All the main categories were down but gun crime was up 2% and murder was up 3%.
    Home Office experts say the figures show that offences are concentrated in hotspots and not evenly spread around England and Wales. They also say the figures mirror trends in falling crime seen throughout the developed world.

    there ya go...

  9. Rabbit, Mike,

    This is not an imaginary concern for me. I would love to see falling crime rates also

    But here are the Two Cities that I live in between.

    Should I not be concerned about crime?

  10. Mike,

    Off topic, but a pretty classy move from Neil. I didn't want to admit it before, but he is one of the artist that gets a lot of play at home.

    Diamond Concert

  11. lies, damn lies, statistics, and comparative crime figures...

    i don't worry about crime where i live, at the moment; i'm in a very peaceful midwestern town. okay, a police officer got killed several years ago by a maniac who definitely should not have had firearms (and who won't be allowed to walk free any time soon), but that's still being talked about in town. and then there was the... economically disadvantaged ethnic majority gentleman (*cough*whitetrash-hillbilly*cough*) who stuck an imitation japanese sword through his apartment door when the cops responded to a domestic disturbance, but that's not too surprising a way for folks in that social stratum to behave. (still gets them arrested, though.)

    but that's now. if i were the worrying type --- which, thankfully, i'm not --- i'd worry about the state of the national economy, and what might become of society were it to really seriously tank.

    for a comparison, this blogger has written at length about the economy and criminality of Argentina. keep in mind that .ar was no lawless third world hellhole, up until quite recently; the descent of that country into its present social unrest was precipitated by sudden economic ruin.

    i'm not a worry-wart, but i could hardly blame somebody who chose to be concerned about the U.S. national debt, the strength of the dollar, the housing markets and other markets, and how these things might influence social stability and law and order in the near to intermediate future. right now one has to go looking for dangerous places to live in the USA... (unless one is poor, in which case one will have no choice but to live in one...) but that's now. things can change.

  12. On original topic:
    There are plenty of Quislings in gun rights groups. They usually stick out a bit but many don't. Ex-Military or LEOs. Criminals doing it to get a break on sentencing. Have firearms training but they are golden boys because they are working for the gun controllers and they are willing to trade away other's rights because they know they will get to keep their own guns.

    The FBI/ATF has also tried to use neo-nazis, christian identity, and other scum to try to discredit gun rights organizations and constitutional militias by trying to make an assosciation between extremist hate groups and firearms ownership.

    The statue of limitations is up and we kicked the shit out of a lot of those scumbags in the 90s. Dr. Robert Churchill will soon have a book out detailing, in part, some of what we dubbed "Operation White Rose." (apologies for borrowing Mike V's wording)

    I personally helped make sure one of the scumbag plants went to Federal prison on a firearms violation he tried to get me involved with.

    Anybody can show up at a Constitutional Militia meeting but we may keep a pretty close eye on newcomers. That's a hell of a lot more democratic than the way the Brady Bunch and their Federale buddies play the game.

  13. The author of the upcoming book.

    He's made quite a study of the militia movements in US history.

  14. Nomen, I find it fascinating that you had that impression watching "Columbine." I need to see it again with that in mind. And what you said about Argentina is interesting and worrying.

    Did White Rabbit's stats confirm or refute what you other guys have been saying. Gun crime and murders went up, the rest went down?

    Bob, I think I'm talking about gun violence because of the high lethality involved. You must have stats that show a gun attack is much more likely to be deadly than any other type. About the 50% reduction across the board, I'm ready to abandon that one. Like Brit Girl said, you guys are obviously responsible gun owners and you are probably representative of your groups. Unless and until I decide to join the Brady Campaign, let's just talk about criminals with guns. Reducing their number sounds right to me. I say white collar criminals get out of jail and violent repeat offenders do not. How's that sound?

    Thomas, Thanks again for your comments. They are becoming increasingly interesting. I totally agree about the "scumbag plants." They're bad news.

  15. Now we're talking Mike, great response, and one of the best in recent memory:
    "You must have stats that show a gun attack is much more likely to be deadly than any other type."

    I dunno, I've read that its somewhere between 70-80% of GSW patients survive, but honestly the stats are a NIGHTMARE....are we talking hospital admittance or in general? How long after the crime was the victim found? What were they shot with? Where were they shot? What are the hospitals like in the area (Mass General Hospital is one of the best GSW centers in the world...and its driving distance from all the major Gang hang-out, and you can accept airlifts from the slums of New Bedford and Fall River!).

    I think lethality really comes down to the use of the tool, somebody shoots me in the foot with a gun, or slashes my throat with a knife (A slightly-dull knife is even worse as ragged wounds are harder to close) we know what is worse...

    "Unless and until I decide to join the Brady Campaign"

    Wanna show me how? I tried to do it a few years ago...I couldn't figure out how! I only managed to sign up for their email news letter. Try that with the NRA, they won't make you hunt. Also try to find a membership number for the Brady's...Likewise with the NRA. Let's just say the NRA pays the bills by people like myself who pay my annual dues, and donate out of good will...while the Brady Campaign gets most of its money from foundations, political campaigns, and a handful of political benefactors.

    "Like Brit Girl said, you guys are obviously responsible gun owners and you are probably representative of your groups."

    I'd say both are fair statements, but be mindful, while most of us are more-or-less responsible, it isn't ALL of us...thankfully most irresponsible behavior with guns will take the guns away FOREVER.

    "let's just talk about criminals with guns. Reducing their number sounds right to me. I say white collar criminals get out of jail and violent repeat offenders do not. How's that sound?"

    That sounds like a plan. A great plan actually. Around here most of the convicted murders are on parole from their last violent crime. Had they been in prison they wouldn't be killing anything but other convicts (and that should be kept to a minimum, I'm not cool with the horrible stuff that happens in prison).

    White-collar crimes should not exempt you from gun ownership (as it does today), as we KNOW they may not be the best people in the world, but they can't be proven to be violent.

    Serious violet offenders (violent rape (I'm up for debate on statutory and Date Rape...its all circumstances, and I'm looking for the violence), Murder, and VERY bad assault cases) should be put away forever (I'd say executed, as forever is forever, so why keep feeding them for 50+ years?)

    For the barroom brawlers, and the wife beaters and other people who never learned to "Use their words" (as we used to scold the kids in the Daycare where I used to work) I don't see a simple drunken brawl warranting the same treatment as somebody who killed, or has been brawling every day until the cops caught up with them, so I'd say sentence them, and release them, and ban them from owning guns (they can always petition to have their records sealed with evidence of lasting good behavior), those released from "minor" violent crime will forever be on watch, if they're sentenced again now they're a repeat offender, and maybe "Away for Good" will work.

    Again this is all up for talk, I definitely see somebody who just keeps throwing punches when they're drunk or when an argument goes too far as just really impulsive than malicious...and eventually they'll take a swing at the wrong person and get shot... Of course somebody who gets in an argument with a "buddy" then grabs a kitchen knife...I see that as no different than if they grab a Machine gun, its a malicious act that shows the desire to cause lasting harm.

    But I'd say we're on the right page now. None of us wants to see gang-bangers with guns, but frankly, I can't see any way to reduce those guns without taking them from us...and note that I said "Reduce" and not "Eliminate", crooks with guns, vs. Lawful people without them is never good...and then we're still not talking about knives, pipes, chains, sticks, bricks, steel-toed boots et al. Remember, a big dude like me might be able to work somebody over with a pipe easy enough, but how about my wife who has next to no upper body strength? How about my 80 year old 4'10" Grandmother with osteoporosis and emphysema? How about somebody in a wheelchair?

    By taking guns away you're giving the strong more rights than those of the weak.

    I definitely think the best solution is to run the world on Merit. I've never assaulted anybody, I've never had a restraining order, I've never raped...hell the ONLY crimes I've committed were motor vehicle violations (and note all were speed and traffic violations, none "Road Rage") So the fact that I have a shitload of guns and ammo shouldn't scare anybody...meanwhile Thugsly the crack dealer in Boston, who has a rap sheet as thick as my wrist, him with a cheap, Chinese-made Bette Crocker Chopping knife should be something none of us want to see face-to-face.

    So let's stop pretending its about the guns : ]

  16. Weer'd,

    You bum!! (joking)

    Your reply was exactly where I was going with the questions I asked Mike.

    Great commentary and explanations.

    I also want to point out, that by reducing the number of criminal that we can reduce the number of guns in criminals hands without violating the rights of the law abiding. Isn't that important Mike?

    Consider the 1st amendment, have people been libeled, defamed, extorted because of words have been written?
    If so, let's reduce the number of blogs, newspapers, magazines, in half.

    Since we are going after a total reduction of the medium used, we have to address writing in college- half the published papers, reports. Half the literature; poetry, songs (if you could start with Rap songs, I wouldn't mind), short stories, etc.

    Is that fair to all the writers that don't libel?

    Now apply it to firearm owners and you'll see our point better.

    Once again, Great job Weer'd

  17. Thanks, Mike. I guess I decided you aren't an idiot either.

    I'm particularly proud of the ATF/FBI plant they foisted on us Constitutional Militia types that I helped make go away. He had money, cocaine, and meth legal problems and was going to get a break by being a spy and instigator and he tried to involve myself and two others in the illicit manufacture of automatic weapons and silencers. Odd thing to do because I'm primarily a hunting rifle fellow, even if I have a few Evil Black Rifles, so I started sniffing around on him a bit. People don't usually show up from Denver to the largest and least populous county of the whole state of Colorado and immediately start trying to get people to break Federal Firearms Law.

    I told him if that's what he wanted to do, he could do it on his own. I was friendly with the LOCAL law enforcement that were pretty straight shooters. He ended up with non-concurrent Federal and State Prison terms because of breaking both State and Federal firearms laws because some of us rode herd on it and forced the issue. They were gonna give him a pass for trying to work for them and maybe a year state prison slap on the wrist but we weren't having any of that.

    Last I heard he's still in the Fed Complex in Canon City and when he gets out of there he gets to move down the street to the Colorado State Penitentiary, conveniently located in the same vicinity for another 8 years. Still makes me smile to think about it.

    That's the way the Federales and the FiBBers/BATFEces play the game but we can play their game too, without even breaking laws, just by making them enforce ALL of their laws, not just selective political enforcement.

  18. Now Weer'd, you're tempting me with this remark: "I can't see any way to reduce those guns without taking them from us." I thought we had established that removing your guns, or even 50% of them would not help much with the criminals. I was moving in the direction of accepting that and concentrating on the bad guys with guns. But, are you now admitting to me that reducing guns across the board WOULD help?

  19. I'm an honest fellow, Mike, yeah guns on the streets right now are mostly stolen legal property. Make all the guns in legal hands disapear FUTURE guns on the street won't show up from that source. That's the truth....still the guns CURRENTLY on the streets won't do jack-shit, as they are already illigal and have been welcomed with open arms to be turned in for gift cards and gimicks, As well as now there would be a market for people like this:

    And This:

    And with no means of personal protection even crooks with crude weapons will make short work of us. So it will plug one small hole in the Dyke (and it is a small one) while opening others, and totally ignoring the flood waters

    "Boston EMS crews arrived at the scene and took the victim to Boston Medical Center where he died.

    Police said they have no suspects or motive for the murder. The victim’s name was not immediately released."

    Note in the article the weapon used.

    So I can't on a good conscience say that it would help a bit.

  20. Mike,

    This is the point we've been trying to make. Theory is nice but how do you execute it:

    "I can't see any way to reduce those guns without taking them from us."

    Registration, licensing, back ground checks; all the current laws don't reduce criminals use of firearms without violating our rights. In the simplest possible terms, we shouldn't have to pay a fee to exercise our rights. Especially because of the actions of others. Would you want to be licensed as a blogger?
    Have to only submit one post per month?

    Those are the infringements on our rights that others have suggested or implemented.

    I think the approach from the other side is best, reduce the number of criminals. It's harder to address issues of culture, of values, of principles; but we loose precious freedoms if we don't.

  21. Weer'd, That link to the Kyber pass gun market was just amazing. I can see how you'd enjoy that, but at the same time isn't it a turnoff? I mean, those people are cave men, literally and figuratively.