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The Latest Not-Really-Pro-Gun Group

Tomorrow, a new group claiming to represent America’s gun owners will launch that claims to be for “SANE” gun ownership policies. Their goal is to be an alternative to NRA on everything, including safety and firearms education. Yet, they also proudly declare that none of them are experts on firearms handling. That’s not their only disconcerting claim.

R + P CEO Waylan Johnson, a petroleum magnate, tells Whispers he hopes the group will also set itself apart by being more focused on members than the NRA.

“The NRA represents the firearms industry. There’s not a lot of membership input,” Johnson says.

This was a quote, presumably said with a straight face, by a man declared as CEO by an organization that, according to their own “Join” page, doesn’t appear to have a mechanism for the membership to vote on the leadership. Meanwhile, the supposedly firearms industry-run NRA sent out 1,718,786 ballots for NRA members to vote on the organization’s leadership this year.

There are so many over-the-top claims that this group is making, it’s really laughable that any reporter gave their PR girl the time of day. For example, their number one priority for use of member dollars? “Helping to Identify and Get Treatment for the Mentally Ill to prevent firearms abuse” So are they a mental health organization with professionals on staff to identify mentally ill people? Everything I’ve found about the leaders indicate that their backgrounds are in IT, energy, and other business ventures. How will these non-medical professionals designate appropriate treatment that will supposedly focus on preventing firearms abuse? They say the money will be spent on such treatment, so prospective members have a right to know about these programs they claim they fund.

This new American Rifle & Pistol Association says that their number two priority in using member dollars is to “Promoting Programs Aimed at Getting Illegal Guns off the Streets,” yet they tell us nothing about how they define an illegal gun or what those programs look like. Does that mean member dollars will be used to fund gun buybacks that often collect and destroy antiques and collectible firearms? Does it mean to support a registration system for all gun owners? There are all sorts of things such a broad message could mean.

The group wants you to know that they will give members “Representation before Elected Officials on behalf of the Voice of the R+P Membership,” presumably by the leadership team who have never made any donations of any kind to any officials as documented by OpenSecrets.org and the Texas Ethics Commission. In fact, the leaders want members to feel good about the fact that they have no background in lobbying and that they are NOT experts in the new field they will start lobbying in. Talk about convincing members that they are in the very best of hands…

For a group that claims to want to make sure that gun owners are trained in “SANE” handling, they so far refuse to share any information about their supposed “competency training and certification courses” that will presumably be developed by their non-expert leaders who are not actually elected or accountable to members. Unlike NRA-ILA’s library of resources on various issues that explain topics and give a general indication of their positions on the specifics of firearms policies, R+P provides no such information for prospective members. I guess their idea of “member-centric” is to keep prospective members in the dark about their actual planned lobbying efforts so that it’s all a big secret until you hand over the cash.

I’m curious how long the 15 minutes will last for this new astroturf group. I’m also curious as to how long they will continue the Horrible Capitalization Abuse on Their Website.

UPDATE: It turns out that the Enemies Of Proper Capitalization Use are also not such fans of gun ownership as they claim. (Thanks to reader Andrew for the tip.)

Here are the screenshots that show the Connecticut converted to Texan Chairman of American Rifle & Pistol Association who is an Obama supporter who is pushing Bloomberg/MAIG’s gun control campaigns while helping to promote Moms Demand Action, a group trying to pressure companies to ban lawful concealed carry so gun owners can’t carry in public anymore and convince gun retailers to stop selling the most popular guns in the country.

PersonalPhotosRemoved

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Mike Bloomberg isn’t the only gun control supporting New Yorker that Peter Vogt promotes, as evidenced by his repeated sharing of a NY-based website run by people who believe that Senators supporting Second Amendment rights deserve the label of child killers.

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Vogt is also a fan of New York lawmakers who are more interested in name-calling against gun owners than actually trying to have a conversation about concerns for Second Amendment rights.

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These are the publicly shared views of American Rifle & Pistol Association’s leader, and it certainly does not appear to reflect someone who is actually concerned with protecting the individual right to bear arms. These shared materials reflect an ally of groups that would take your guns without a trial, ban licensed concealed carry owners from even getting a cup of coffee at the most common coffee house around, and who thinks that gun owners with concerns about federal legislation are just little jackasses.

Just like the concept of “member-centric,” I don’t think that the leaders of American Rifle & Pistol Association actually understand the concept of being pro-Second Amendment.

48 Responses to “The Latest Not-Really-Pro-Gun Group”

  1. Andy B. says:

    I have observed locally that the “NRA is nothing but an industry lobbying shop” meme seems to have gained a lot of mainstream traction. Whether that translates to anything important, politically, is an open question.

    The problem is, that the “industry lobbying shop” charge is so widely true of so many front/astroturf organizations these days, that it becomes easy for the uninvolved to believe of all of us. It is easier to count the number of organizations that aren’t a front for something else, than the ones that are.

    • SPQR says:

      The gun control organizations keep repeating the lie intentionally. Its part of the PR campaign to repeat that lie over and over.

  2. Wait, isn’t this like a year early. Astroturf gun groups are supposed to be created 2 years before a presidential election.

    What is UP with that?

  3. Archer says:

    “American Rifle & Pistol Association”?

    Does this mean their IT system/website will be referred to as “ARPANET”?

    • north mexico usa vet says:

      AS I read the article it just sounded like Obamacare, just join to find out what our agenda is

  4. Joe says:

    Anyone remember the “American Hunters and Shooters Association”? This looks like a repeat of that.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Hunters_and_Shooters_Association

    The small group that popped out of nowhere and claimed to be for “safe and responsible gun ownership”, had about 150 members, endorsed Obama in 2008, then basically vanished. It wasn’t surprising they were outed pretty quickly for basically being a front for the gun control cartel. The president and the rest of the board either donated to or were outright members of other gun control organizations.

    • Bitter says:

      Of course we recall AHSA.

      I’d like to know more specifically why you think this is the same operation as AHSA. I’m not quite sure it’s quite the case, but good examples could make me see that perspective if it’s there.

      I’m not sure that this is the same case here, but that doesn’t mean I don’t see them as a legit gun rights group. Looking through the website, I think these are more millennial/Gen Xer business types (some are apparently VC-type guys) who are convinced that they just know better than everyone else even though they admit they have no experience politics or expertise in firearms use. Their style is very much along the lines of “if we just drop buzzwords in a slick powerpoint-style presentation, you’ll buy it” without any substance to back it up. I do think they support more gun control, but it’s not clear exactly what types since they try to keep people in the dark about their actual positions. It may not be as much as AHSA did, but it may be more.

      In looking over it with Sebastian, we also agreed that it’s potentially just a money-making scheme for younger gun owners who don’t feel like NRA is very in touch with them. The vagueness on any kind of policy, promotion of the concept of being outsiders who refuse to work with any industry members or experts, and focus on technology-based “benefits” certainly fits that possibility.

      I suspect the case could be made for many possible motivations, but the astroturf label is still applicable since this “member-centric” group doesn’t actually appear to allow any kind of member involvement in holding leadership accountable.

      • Andy B. says:

        Perhaps they are Young (but mostly undirected) Turks being encouraged by some pol telling them how smart they are, who wants to keep them on his party line, doing something that won’t help but probably won’t hurt, until they can be steered into the real stuff.

  5. Badbartimus says:

    Hmmm… last time I checked, I was a real gun owner. As such, I am a proud endowment member of the NRA, an organization that I think represents my interests just fine. (I’m sure I don’t agree with them on everything, but the only person I agree with 100% of the time is God.)

    • Joe says:

      And as a life member, I’m pretty sure we both receive ballots in the mail every year to vote on the rotating board of director positions. While I understand the very tippy top of the organization is fairly insulated, I at least have a say in how the overall leadership is comprised.

      Notice how even though they claim to simply be a “non-partisan NRA”, their first three bullets absolutely reek of gun control, and it’s almost like they sprinkled the conceal carry and sporting event bullets in there to not be too obvious of their intentions.

      • Bitter says:

        Actually, while it would take extreme coordination, dedication, and the perfect mix of people, it is possible to change out 1/3 of the board in one election. That’s not a majority, but that’s enough to keep the other 2/3 on their toes. In a second election, 2/3 of the board could be changed and that’s a majority to do things like oust every board-appointed staffer. Is it likely to ever happen that way? No. But the power does rest in the hands of the members, which this group is absolutely spreading outright lies about.

        Oh, they also seem to shave an extra million members off NRA’s member rolls in their interview, so I guess those little people aren’t good enough for R+P recognition, either. At the very least, the theme of their interview and website is arrogant condescension toward gun owners.

        • Joe says:

          While it may not be likely, it still remains possible, and honestly that’s all that really matters when the other side is making claims that the avenue doesn’t exist at all, AKA their “front for the gun industry” and “aren’t for the regular guy” argument. I also believe I’ve seen the NRA refute that whole line of attack by saying that industry donations make up a very small number of total donations to the organization, well in the single digits if I recall.

          Also, their shaving of a million members off the NRA rolls just shows even more how they are using the EXACT same line of attack as gun control groups have. Remember right after Sandy Hook, when articles started popping up on the usual anti-gun and other pretentious websites, claiming the NRA might be inflating their member list by using life members who’ve passed away and such? They could never prove it, just make the accusations.

          • Bitter says:

            So we just came across evidence that their leadership is actually supporting MAIG & other gun control groups. Screenshots will be posted shortly.

            • Patrick H says:

              I’m not surprised. Just something felt funny about the organization. The big red flag is that the NRA is a gun industry group.

            • HappyWarrior6 says:

              It would not surprise me in the least if it’s not the other way around… I believe this could be a group funded by MAIG. At the very least it’s a “you scratch mine, I’ll scratch yours” sort of deal.

              • Bitter says:

                I’m not sure if it’s MAIG-funded or not, but I would also believe that these guys are just convinced they are so much smarter than everyone else without actually knowing anything about the baggage they are tying themselves to with MAIG.

        • Zermoid says:

          Anyone else notice that the R+P is stealing the trademark of Remington ammo? The headstamp I always read as RIP, cuz that’s what it does to critters it is fired at!

  6. Petroleum magnate? It is true that Johnson is the CEO of Aztec Oil and Gas. However, they are listed on the OTC/BBS Pink Sheets which is where “penny stocks” are sold. His company sells for about 12 cents a share.

    http://www.aztecoil-gas.com/management

    He is as much a petroleum magnate as was J.R. Ewing.

  7. Jack says:

    I find it interesting that even an astroturf group of “questionable” commitment to gun rights has to at least pay lip service to CCW and women shooters.

    It shows a bit more self awareness than those that try to go “Well, we’re not after your huntin’ guns!”

  8. Ian Argent says:

    The “funded by the gun industry” meme is “supported” by the FACT (breathlessly repeated) that various firearms manufacturers do donate to the NRA (hardly surprising) and an unsurprising innumeracy where $BIGNUM$=$BIGNUM$ regardless of actual magnitude.

    The existence of the NSSF is completely ignored

    • Ish says:

      And even the NSSF is more responsive to the needs of the general public than most Leftist interest groups… Something about wanting to keep uo with changes/demands from the “free market,” which we all know is a raaacist code word invented by George Bush to, um, er… Monsanto!!!

  9. Jim says:

    I’m sure there was a time in the past where such tactics worked. The evolution of the information superhighway is truly remarkable. These cockroaches cannot hide anymore. Astroturfing is not as easy as it used to be. Fantastic work!

  10. Don Gwinn says:

    Hmmmm . . . I dunno . . . . I might not join up.

  11. Derp says:

    Take note of where dear little Peter is from. Stamford, Connecticut.

  12. Brad says:

    Just read some of the claptrap from that group. It’s full of the favorite buzzwords that riddle the contemporary agit-prop of the gun-control movement. So yeah, it is an astro-turf group.

    I believe its primary goal is to weaken the NRA rather than promote gun-control, by supporting the false accusation that the NRA is an “extremist” organization that does not really represent the voice of american gun owners.

    • Andy B. says:

      I’m just blurting out loud, so don’t no one get too mad: Maybe if another group lured away all the Fudds, it would be doing the NRA (and us) a huge favor!

      • Ish says:

        This isn’t 1994 anymore, the Fudds are almost all on onboard with opposing these extremes or are simply choosing not to pay attention to politics (“rational ignorance,” look it up) but can be readily swayed by having friends or the NRA supplying them with relevant facts.

        AR-15 sales, alone, should be enough to convince you that the “Fudd” belongs to the ash heap of gun culture memes, like “melting Glocks,” “poodle shooters,” and flintlocks.

  13. SPQR says:

    His pages are full of faked statistics too.

  14. Rob says:

    Your second link appears to be linked the wrong screenshot.

  15. Gerald says:

    My guess is this group was formed to support anti-gun representatives in the 2014 elections, much like AHSA was formed to support Obama in 2008. Just wait and see.

  16. jfh says:

    Thanks for getting this up, Bitter. I’m running a share over at my FB page, and there your readers can find a MNGOCRA meme about ARPA resized to work on a FB hi-res setting page–e.g., 1920×1080.

    https://www.facebook.com/jim.hanson.779205?ref=tn_tnmn

  17. Hank Archer says:

    New NY Times anti-gun column by Nick Kristof

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/04/opinion/kristof-how-could-we-blow-this-one.html?_r=0

    Could use some construction comments.

    • Brad says:

      I read that column and some of the comments. I noted two things. First that Kristof uses the usual BS propaganda techniques, minimizing real terrorism while trying to gin up “gun violence” as terrorism. It’s clear that his objective (like many anti-gun people) is to redefine American gun owners as terrorists and launch a war against us at least as vigorous as the ‘war on drugs’. His favorable reference to Australian gun-policy was very very notable.

      Secondly the comments to his column you could easily break down by what area or State the commenter was from. West Coast States and North East States vs almost everywhere else. Clearly the ideological division in America in beginning to mirror the geographical division. Shades of the Civil War and the division of the Free States vs the Slave States! Though in this case we might call it the Free States vs the Blue States.

  18. mtman2 says:

    SO WHO GONNA SUPPORT THESE PRETENTIOUS ‘DO-GOODERS’ FROM NOWHERE?

  19. Adam says:

    It appears they’ve read this page: Confessions of a Former MAIG Supporter

    It’s extremely condescending, and makes bloggers seem illegitimate and uneducated. Sounds a lot like MAIG, but whereas MAIG says what they support, these guys like it to be a secret.

    • Brad says:

      Very condescending. I caught the crack where they try to link their critics to ‘birthers’. And from other content I noted it is a seeming rebuttal to this very post by Bitter.

  20. Bartholomew Roberts says:

    Interesting that they chose July 4 to launch – the exact same day as a bunch of other coordinated anti-gun efforts from MAIG, Giffords, the NYT Editorial Board, etc.

    Why you might almost be forgiven for thinking it was all a bunch of bullshit propaganda.

  21. Russel Yeaman says:

    Who is the idiot that decided the NRA doesn’t listen to the members? I’m a life and benefactor member of the NRA and know for a fact the NRA listens to its members. Yes they do get some funding for legal fights from gun manufacture, but the members that want their rights protected also give generously to the legal fund. The NRA has always been the one that we can always count on to protect us from the over reaching liberal gun grabbers in government.

  22. Erik F says:

    I ran an FEC check on President Robert Gelinas, and it gets interesting.

    In the late 1990’s, he donated extensively to Joe Hoeffel’s campaign. Hoeffel was F-rated by the NRA and quite proud of it.

    Gelinas also donated $500 to Bob Casey for Senate Inc. in 2012. Casey jumped the fence after Newtown and started pushing for gun control. He was one of the ones spouting the guilt-and-shame rhetoric after the vote failed on S. 649.

    There are also records of contributions of $500 to Obama for America and another $500 to the Obama Victory Fund. Neither of those can really be said to help the 2nd Amendment.

    I’m smelling the AHSA in this; I just can’t prove the connection.

  23. Vick says:

    There’s already another great gun organization apart from the NRA. It’s called Gun Owners Of America.

    • Steve Mauldin says:

      Where does their funding come from?

      They have some big cornermen:

      R+P’s corporate council is Coplen & Banks, P.C., Houston, TX
      R+P’s accounting firm is BDO USA, LLP

  24. J.S.Bridges says:

    “American Rifle & Pistol Association”?

    So…no shotgunners or revolver-folks* need apply, hey?…

    Much less those archaic muzzle-stuffer smoothbore people.

    Right, got it.

    “It was and is not intended to be yet another “me too” echo of every other gun-rights organization out there. It is meant to be an online forum, a public square where true deliberation and debate can take place in an atmosphere of civility and reason…”

    Yeh, sure –

    Pull the other one, Petey – it’s got jingle-bells on it…

    (*the set of “all handguns” contains “pistols” – i.e., semi-automatic handguns, both single- and double-action – as a substantial sub-set, but does not, of course, come close to being “all the handguns” – just like “all the rifles” is not the whole of “all the long-guns”, etc…)

  25. The Watcher says:

    During VietNam I was chairman of a Selective Service local Draft Board. We were restricted in making a medical diagnosis of a handicapped person.

    For instance: If when seeking a medical deferment, a young man were wheeled in on a gurney missing one leg and the foot on the other,no arms, one eye and deaf we were NOT allowed to declare him 4-F (medically unfit for service) because we were NOT MD’s and had no medical expertise. Therefore we were unqualified to pass judgement on the man’s request for deferment.

    With the non-Psychiatric or Psychologic expertise of this organization, what qualifies THEM to make a pshchological judgement?

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