Cross posted from PAGunRights.com
One candidate for Bucks County District Attorney has deep ties to an outfit that pushed such extreme gun control that it would create a database of gun owners and also risk putting ammunition manufacturers out of business.
Democratic candidateÂ Chris Asplen is the Vice President of Gordon, Thomas, Honeywellâ€™s Governmental Affairs Division (GTH), a position he has heldÂ since 2002. In 2007,Â Asplenâ€™s office was hired to manage the legislative strategy of Ammunition Coding Services, the company that created a patent for bullet serialization, but could not make the technology work. Instead of finding a consumer for their technology, the companyâ€™s founders â€“ lead by investor Russ Ford â€“ hired GTH to pass laws in more than a dozen states to mandate the unworkable technology.
TheÂ â€œmodel legislationâ€ pushed by Asplenâ€™s office would have been a nightmare burden for ammunition makers and serious shooters. Â The price hikes and lack of supply would all but kill off casual shooters.
The technology is so complex that the companyâ€™s founder Russ Ford even agreed with Cam Edwards during an NRA News interview in 2008 that they had been unable to do large scale testing, the only test examples were created by hand, and they didnâ€™t even have evidence it would work to support the needs of not only the civilian market, but also police and military.
Cam Edwards: People have said, people in the know, people in the industry have said this is unworkable. Thatâ€™s it. That is their answer. It doesnâ€™t work. Now, if you think that it does, itâ€™s up to you to prove it. But you have been unable to do so. And youâ€™re pushing legislation that would again mandate this, legislation that ammunition manufacturers say would cause them to either go out of business or stop selling to the states that pass this. Thatâ€™s you doing this.
Russ Ford of Ammunition Coding Systems: Thank you for highlighting that, Cam.
The legislation that Ford hired Asplenâ€™s company to push would have not only mandated these markings that the industry said it cannot produce, but it also would have required gun owners to forfeit all non-encoded ammunition in their possession by making possession of regular ammunition illegal. For precision shooters or even casual plinkers trying to save a few dollars, reloading would have been completely outlawed if GTH had their way in Harrisburg.
Currently, shooters go through about 8 billion rounds of newly manufactured ammunition a year. But the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturing InstituteÂ estimates it would take three to four weeks to produce ammunition currently produced in a single day. Supplies would dwindle and prices would skyrocket.
Interestingly, Asplenâ€™s client Russ Ford admitted in an interview that as the holder to the patent for the process, his goal was to make money off of these new mandates on the backs of lawful sport shooters & hunters.
Cam Edwards: On the Ammunition Accountability website, and on the Ammunition Coding Systems website, you mention a license fee, per round that would be charged to the manufacturerâ€™s and then passed on to the consumers. What type of license fee are you looking at per round?
Russ Ford: Uh, we have discussed, uh, with, and this is where the, the wheels come off, huh, of the capitalist society. We have been entertained by financial planners, stock brokers, bond brokers, uh, business valuation people, and quite frankly, for me for me, itâ€™s like looking at hieroglyphs on the side of a pyramid. I donâ€™t understand all these parameters. We have talked about, uh, a tenth of a penny to a fifth of a penny a round for royalties. Whether that pans out is completely in speculation.
Itâ€™d be, Itâ€™d be nice to make money on this. It really would. This is America, we believe in capitalism, uh, uh, it would be nice to have a return on the investment and for the years weâ€™ve put in on this.
Mr. Fordâ€™s candor in admitting to make untold fortunes off of the backs of gun owners every year is refreshing, if not humorous in the NRA News interview. Â However, at one point he justifies such â€œhonestyâ€ as an effort to be transparent and have a real discussion about gun control issues. Â Cam Edwards calls him out on the fact that the lobbying website GTH created to promote the mandates,Â AmmunitionAccountability.org, has no link or public connection to the companyâ€™s for-profit site,Â AmmoCoding.com. Â Rather than addressing the point, Mr. Ford tries to pick an argument over links with Cam during the questioning. Â But, as SebastianÂ pointed out at the time, the lack of transparency in the operation is a much bigger problem:
And to think, Russell Ford said on Camâ€™s show he wants this whole thing to be as transparent as possible.Â Transparent as in we hire a lobbying firm to anonymously set up a web site to push for model legislation, and to lobby key legislators that have been quietly bought off, in order to be able to skim off the top of every one of the eight billion rounds of ammunition produced each year.Â You have to admit, thatâ€™s quite an ingenious scam, that would make even the most talented con artist jealous.
There is certainly nothing illegal about the actions, but it is hardly a model of transparency.
Though Asplenâ€™s group tried to make the argument that ammunition registries would be an important tool to law enforcement, a hearing in California cleared up that misconception very quickly. Â The Law Enforcement Alliance of America, California Police Chiefsâ€™ Association, California Peace Officersâ€™ Association, Association of Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs and Los Angeles Police Protective League all urged lawmakers to vote it down. Â In Hawaii, the Attorney General called the system â€œunduly burdensomeâ€ and unworkable.
In fact, according to Mr. Ford, the only support that Chris Asplenâ€™s company could find for the laws came from gun control groups such as the Brady Campaign and their Million Mom March division.
As a leader at GTH, it is fair to ask whether Mr. Asplen continues to support his clientâ€™s goals, especially in light of the public confessions that the technology is unproven, unworkable, and even detrimental to law enforcement.
NRA does not typically endorse in local races, so it is unlikely we will see a firm grade issued for either candidate in the Bucks County District Attorneyâ€™s race. Â But consider this post an opportunity for Mr. Asplen to clarify his support for gun owner registries, ammunition encoding, and bans on reloading for competitive shooters.