NEWTOWN, Conn. – The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI) have filed a motion for a preliminary injunction on behalf of their members against the State of California in Fresno Superior Court to prevent enforcement of the state’s microstamping law. The state statute enacted in 2007, but not made effective until May 2013, requires that all semiautomatic handguns sold in the state not already on the California approved handgun roster incorporate unproven and unreliable microstamping technology.
Under this law, firearms manufacturers would have to micro laser-engrave a gun’s make, model and serial number on two distinct parts of each handgun, including the firing pin so that, in theory, this information would be imprinted on the cartridge casing when the pistol is fired.
“There is no existing microstamping technology that meets the requirement of this ill-considered law. It is not technologically possible to microstamp two locations in the gun and have the required information imprint onto the cartridge casing. In addition, the current state of the technology cannot reliably, consistently and legibly imprint on the cartridge primer the required identifying information from the tip of the firing pin, the only possible location where it is possible to micro-laser engrave the information, said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel.
“The holder of the patent for this technology himself has written that there are problems with it and that further study is warranted before it is mandated. A National Academy of Science review, forensic firearms examiners and a University of California at Davis study reached the same conclusion and the technical experts in the firearms industry agree,” Keane said. “Manufacturers cannot comply with a law the provisions of which are invalid, that cannot be enforced and that will not contribute to improving public safety. Today, we are seeking injunctive relief against this back-door attempt to prevent the sale of new or upgraded semiautomatic handguns to law-abiding citizens in California.”
In 2007, California Assembly Bill 1471 was passed and signed into law requiring microstamping on internal parts of new semiautomatic pistols. The legislation provided that this requirement would only became effective if the California Department of Justice certified that the microstamping technology is available to more than one manufacturer unencumbered by patent restrictions. The California legislature subsequently reorganized certain statutes concerning the regulation of firearms, including the microstamping law in 2010. On May 17, 2013, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris provided such certification.
Smith & Wesson and Sturm Ruger have separately announced that they would no longer be selling new or improved semiautomatic handgun models in California because of the impossibility of complying with the new law.
See additional Fast Facts backgrounder on Microstamping from NSSF.
Former U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke of Arizona has been reprimanded for leaking two classified documents about Operation Fast and Furious, the flawed gun-running sting that allowed illegal firearms to be smuggled across the border.
Burke consented to the reprimand, according to the order (PDF) issued last Thursday. He told the Arizona Republic that the reprimand was a “fair resolution” of the case. “As U.S. attorney, my ultimate client is the United States. At the end of the day, I did not follow the process,” he said. Main Justice and the Associated Press also have stories.
Congress began to investigate the sting operation known as Fast and Furious after two guns sold to smugglers were found near a gun battle in which a U.S. Border Patrol Agent was murdered.
The agreement for discipline says Burke authorized release of the documents in 2011 because he “believed that his office and employees were not being fairly protected” by the U.S. Justice Department and the public was not receiving complete information about Fast and Furious.
When first questioned by Deputy Attorney General James Cole about release of the first document, Burke did not say that his office released the document, the discipline agreement says. He later took responsibility for the release and self-reported the issue to the bar. A few days after Cole admonished Burke for releasing the first document, Burke provided a second document to a reporter.
Burke “contends that these events occurred in a political context in which allegations were being published and made in congressional hearings that the [U.S. Attorney’s Office] had failed to take actions that would have prevented the death of a federal agent,” the agreement says.
This is good article and a very positive trend which we would love to see continue. The trend is on fire with new female gun owners but is also a reflection of gun ownership as a whole. The reason is simple. Women want to protect themselves and their family, and guns are the great equalizer. As more and more women educate and train themselves on the safe and proper use of firearms, the evil and frightening stigma that the media has put on guns dissipates.
As the number of proposed gun-control measures increase rapidly across the country, the amount of women purchasing guns is increasing even faster.
A survey conducted by the National Shooting Sports Foundation found that 73 percent of gun dealers reported an increase in female customers in 2011, as well as the previous two years. In 2005, just 13 percent of gun owners were women. Today, that number is 23 percent–a 77 percent increase in 7 years.
While folks in the media are blaming the spike on the guns-and-glam advertising (ahem Piers Morgan), women–including myself–have a different reason: It’s self-defense, stupid.
The math isn’t surprising and the logic is simple: Women want to protect themselves and their family, and guns are the great equalizer between sexes in crimes against women. The facts are there to prove it.
Over the last ten years, as gun sales have increased, the level of crime has decreased, especially violent crime. Statistics, provided by our very own Department of Justice, show “total violent crime” in the last ten years decreased from 42.1 percent to 39.2 percent. In fact, “serious violent crime” decreased even more dramatically, down to 42.9 percent from 47.5 percent in the beginning of the decade.
Among the “serious violent crime” data is rape and sexual assault—both of which predominantly affect women. It is estimated that 1 in 5 women are a victim of sexual assault in America. But, over the last decade rape and sexual assault decreased from 26.1 percent to 24.1 percent. Robberies also decreased from 56.5 percent to 51.7 percent.
Being hit on is nothing new to me or any woman in the world. However guns guys have a very special way about how they go about flirting or hitting on a girl. It’s no surprise that seeing a girl (a cute girl) at the gun range is still something of a novelty. Here are some of the gems I have gotten working at a range.
1) “I bet you are deadly with your hands, aren’t you?”
Now aside from that being very silly question, it makes me wonder in what way would I use my hands to actually kill you? Thinking about killing you isn’t the best impression to make. The answer to that is “Yes I am, poison is how I’d kill you.” 😉
2) “You’re way too pretty to be shooting guns.”
I actually have no words for this. I do wonder what else I’m too pretty do be doing? Maybe helping you? One thing I do know is that I’m not too pretty to stop talking you seriously.
And what kind of backhanded compliment is this, anyway? Is Jessie Harrison to pretty to be shooting guns?
3) “What’s the barrel length again? Oh, I don’t know but I’m 12 inches.”
WOW just wow.. just as a heads up ( pun totally NOT intended) any time you reference you penis in size or capability it’s not attractive. Please stop, on behalf of every woman everywhere please stop.
4) “So you must be the range mistress around here.”
As much as I enjoy my job helping providing people with their second amendment rights; Yes, I do have to command a certain level of authority because peoples safety and the shops licences are at risk. I prefer to keep my kink out of my guns.
5) “Thank you very much for your help and I wanted you to know your ass looks great in those pants.”
I get that we are in a gun range, I get that I work in a dudes world,I know that I have a great butt. HOWEVER, this is inappropriate on so many levels. I’m at my place of work and my butt has nothing to do with my work.
There ya have it, the best of the worst. So please guys! the next time you see a pretty girl at the gun shop or range please remember being rude, crude and a jackass it’s never attractive. Be nice, polite and gun puns are always funny. We maybe girls in YOUR world but we can still kick you ass and we’ll look good doing it.
Captain Obvious says to use common sense
when talking to girls at the range
“[The] ATF’s decision to classify the Stabilizer Brake as a ‘firearm silencer’ is ‘arbitrary and capricious’ for at least two reasons: the agency failed to ‘articulate a satisfactory explanation’ for its decision and the agency failed to ‘examine the relevant data’ before coming to a final conclusion. For these reasons, the agency action was ‘arbitrary and capricious,’ and must be set aside under the APA,” according to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruling against the ATF’s classification of the Innovator Enterprises Inc.
The Court found that the ATF did not provide an explanation for why it classified the Innovator Stabilizer Brake as a silencer and further slapped the company for not even bothering to check and see if the brake even decreased noise in the first place.
Backing up, what is the Stabilizer Brake? It’s a pretty complicated device, with two internal ported manifolds that redirect gas perpendicular to the bore encapsulated by two outer shells that direct the blast forward. At the end of the brake is a device that adds turbulence to the forward-expanding gasses, which we presume reduces increased felt recoil as a result of dumping the pressurized gas forward.
The idea here is to redirect, not reduce, overall noise. The Stabilizer Brake pushes the noise and blast of the internal brake components forward of the shooter.
It is similar to the Ferfrans Concussion Reduction Device, but more complex.
The ATF ruled that the brake’s components were analogous to a ported inner tube, an expansion chamber and an end cap, “Which are characteristics of known firearm silencers.”
The ruling flatly states that the decision to classify the Stabilizer Brake “are solely upon the physical characteristics of the device under examination” and that “Although the FTB (Firearms Technology Branch) utilizes state-of-the-art sound metering equipment, these tests do not affect the classification of any item.”
In affect, a silencer is what the ATF says a silencer is, even if it doesn’t make a gun quieter.
Judge John Bates found otherwise.
A major part of this decision is based on the Administrative Procedure Act, which requires that courts overturn discretionary findings or rulings by government agencies if they are not backed up with standards, investigation or procedure.
While the ATF has the responsibility to define a silencer, the “because we say so” approach to the decision, the court was required to throw out the ATF’s classification.
On top of that, the Court found that the ATF’s admission that they have the equipment to test silencers but choose not to to be the final nail in the coffin. The ATF ruling was “‘arbitrary and capricious.”
The ruling, however, goes much deeper than that.
The judge went out of his way to find every flaw in the ATFs methods and went so far as to question whether or not the ATF even has the ability to define what a silencer is.
Bates criticized the ATF for relying solely on physical characteristics, because like in this case, they can be used to classify a device as a silencer even if it had no capacity to muffle a firearm.
“A bullhorn might redirect noise away from a speaker’s mouth, but nobody would say it was for ‘diminishing’ the sound produced by the speaker — just the opposite.”
He also criticized the ATF for not checking the device for any muffling capacity, saying, “imagine a device designed for the sole purpose of muffling all sound emitted by a gunshot, and that was 100 percent effective at doing so — in other words, the world’s greatest silencer. If this device relied on a novel or innovative design that did not contain many ‘physical characteristics’ that are ‘characteristics of known firearm silencers’ … the agency would apparently not classify it as a silencer — despite the fact that it eliminates all noise produced by a gunshot.
“… Even if this general approach of relying ‘solely’ on physical characteristics were sound, the agency did not perform a scientific or rigorous comparison of physical characteristics. Instead, it consulted a list of six characteristics that are allegedly common to ‘known silencers,’ and then, if the submitted device has some (unstated) number of those characteristics (here, three out of six was enough), it is a ‘firearm silencer.’ But where did that list of six characteristics come from? The agency never explains whether those six characteristics are present in all (or most?) silencers. The agency never explains whether there are other common characteristics that do not appear on its list. And the agency never explains how many characteristics in common are necessary to be classified as a ‘firearm silencer.’
“… The agency’s approach leaves Innovator (as well as other regulated parties, and reviewing courts) guessing.”
The ATF’s position was that the Court simply did not have the ability to review its decisions in this case, known as the “administrative defense,” which holds that Congress gave the ATF the right and responsibility to enforce the law, and its decisions are final; its policies are de-facto legal and that courts are required to enforce its law.
Bates dismissed the ATF’s defense citing Chevron, which holds that “First, always, is the question whether Congress has spoken directly to the precise question at issue. If the intent of Congress is clear, that is the end of the matter; for the court as well as the agency must give effect to the unambiguously expressed intent of Congress.”
“If the Court determines Congress has not directly addressed the precise question at issue, the court does not simply impose its own construction of the statute … Rather, if the statute is silent or ambiguous with respect to the specific question, the issue for the court is whether the agency’s answer is based on a permissible construction of the statute.”
This is called the two-step test.
In Innovator Enterprises v. the ATF, Bates challenged the very notion that the ATF is enforcing any Congressional mandate at all.
“Indeed, it is difficult to determine what exactly Congress was concerned about in deciding to regulate silencers at the federal level,” referring to the 2007 study “Criminal Use of Firearm Silencers” which cites “The 1934 congressional debates [over what became the National Firearms Act] provide no explanation about why silencers were licensed.”
Because Congress was so vague in regulating silencers under the NFA and failed to outline what a silencer was for, the ATF can’t claim that they’re just doing what Congress told them to. This, combined with the fact that the ATF doesn’t have a test for what makes a silencer, just a list of parts that are common to silencer construction, is why the ATF failed the two-step test.
Ultimately this ruling doesn’t challenge the notion that the ATF has the lawful mandate to regulate silencers. Neither does it say that the Stabilizer Brake isn’t a silencer. It simply states that if the ATF can’t prove that this device is a silencer, then the ATF can’t classify it as one.
The Stabilizer Brake is what Innovator Enterprises says it is.
The news stunned those who follow politics and government in California. The FBI is charging State Sen. Leland Yee with conspiracy to traffic in firearms and public corruption as part of a major investigation centered in San Francisco, the city he represents. Term limited from running again for what had been his safe state Senate seat, the arrest ends Yee’s quest to become California secretary of state.
Yee is alleged to have met on several occasions with an undercover FBI agent, soliciting campaign contributions in return for setting up a sale with international arms dealers. This is the same Yee who sponsored numerous pieces of anti-gun legislation that have seriously infringed the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding California citizens.
Specifically, Yee is charged with conspiracy to traffic in firearms and to illegally import firearms, as well as six counts of attempting to defraud citizens. Each corruption count is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000, while conviction on the gun-trafficking count could mean five years in federal prison and another $250,000 fine.
Federal prosecutors should throw the book at Yee and his co-conspirators, including well-known Chinatown gangsters among them the infamous Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow One incredulous California newspaper reported, “The charges are particularly shocking given that Yee has been among the state Senate’s most outspoken advocates both of gun control and of good-government initiatives.” Good start, but there’s more involved here than Olympic-level hypocrisy, fooling the voters and hoodwinking political reporters.
We are reminded of the concept strongly held by our founding fathers, but perhaps best expressed by John Adams that “the only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.”
Yee endangered the public liberty while simultaneously endangering the public safety. Indeed, history shows that the two are inextricably linked. There are many who well understand that the exercise of our right to keep and bear arms helps to ensure our liberty while enhancing our safety. This connection is little appreciated in the State Capitol in Sacramento, however, where short-term politics and theatrics intended to impress low-information voters prevail.
One can debate whether power corrupts or it is the power that attracts the corruptible. Both propositions are true. So, we will henceforth remember that Leland Yee once corruptly wielded power and freely exercised undue influence over citizens while secretly plotting with criminals.
For our part, we will work proudly with those citizens seeking to restore their Constitutional rights in the Golden State through the courts and at the polls. Alas, that inevitably means a struggle against those “with the power to endanger the public liberty.”
Brownells is proud to announce its continuing support for the American Pistolsmith Guild Gunsmith Scholarship Program. Since the program began in 2010, Brownells has donated $12,000, helping 12 recipients fund their educations at gunsmithing schools across the U.S.
“Brownells has been instrumental in the growth of the pistolsmith and gunsmith trade for decades by providing top quality tools and supplies,” said APG President John Yanek. “This generous program provides much needed resources for those who aspire to be pistolsmiths. The American Pistolsmiths Guild is very grateful for the support we have received from Brownells.”
Students who are selected receive $1,500 from the APG and an additional $1,000 from Brownells, and may spend the money on anything they need, including tuition, housing needs and transportation to and from school. Recipients are also automatically listed as a “student member” of the APG.
“Serving and helping gunsmiths is what Brownells was founded on,” said Brownells President/COO Matt Buckingham. “We’re happy to help deserving students finish their schooling on their way to becoming full-fledged, well-trained gunsmiths.”
Only students who have completed most of their coursework and are in the top 10-percent of their class are eligible to apply for the scholarship. Applicants must submit recommendations from at least two professors, along with their academic transcripts and a letter describing why they should receive a scholarship. APG awards a maximum of five scholarships per year.
For more information about APG/Brownells scholarship program, visit the American Pistolsmiths Guild Scholarships Program webpage.
The December 2013 report In the Business Outside the Law by anti-gun group Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) is a fitting successor to its November 2011 predecessor, Point, Click, Fire: An Investigation of Illegal Online Gun Sales.
Both have a breathless quality, intended no doubt to provoke the reader to rise up immediately out of his or her chair to declare “this is out of control — something must be done!”
But neither report is long on balanced treatment of the world of Internet-based sales of guns. Both, through purposeful omission of substantive discussion of the Internet’s largest site for online gun sales, GunBroker.com, and through use of hand-picked and poorly explained statistics, cumulatively result in an extremely misleading picture for the reader.
First, the statistics. Both reports, the first on the subject of illegal online gun sales and the second focused on abuse of the system by private sellers (i.e. sellers without federal firearms licenses, or FFLs), use the statistic that “an estimated 40 percent of gun transfers – 6.6 million transfers in 2012 – are conducted by private sellers with no background check.”
Neither report provided a citation for this assertion, but it was possible to track it down to a 1997 report by the National Institute of Justice, entitled “Guns in America: National Survey on Private Ownership and Use of Firearms.”
This NIJ report relied wholly on Chilton Research Services’ 1994 survey of some 2,500 adults by means of telephone calls. The 40 percent figure appears to derive from the polling query: “Where did you get your gun?” The responses were: gun stores (43 percent), pawnshops (6), other stores (11), gun shows (4), through the mail (3), member of the family (17), friend or acquaintance (12), and other (4). Where to start? The 40 percent figure is obviously the result of adding together the three first figures, leaving the rest as the “private seller” number, representative of the “gun sale Wild West” as not being subject to background checks.
But should transfers among family members be included in a figure for suspect transfers? Clearly not, bringing us up to 77 percent non-suspect transfers. Then, what percentage of that 12 percent is truly “friends,” who would likely provide each other with firearms from time to time regardless of whether universal background checks were to be enacted?
“In the mail” is another oddity, as it may include many transfers through FFLs if the firearm were mailed originally from seller to the FFL for transfer. Finally, the omission of an “I don’t remember/not sure” would seem to make their entire result rather questionable, given norms of modern polling and the human memory.
A more honest rendering of this survey would seem to lead to a better answer of 4 percent (gun shows), plus 4 percent (1/3 of friend/acquaintance), plus 4 percent (other), for a grand total of 12 percent of transfers, conservatively estimated.
The next fuzzy statistic was in the 2013 report, where that 40 percent was reflected as “6.6 million transfers in 2012.” This number too is clearly not correct; the FBI reported that the NICS background check procedure, used by all FFLs, was used 19,592,303 times in 2012, an all-time record.
It would appear the writers of the report derived the 6.6 million from another uncited source, as another 40 percent on top of 19.6 million would yield a total transfer number of 32.6 million (or, for 40 percent of this, 13.4 million instead of 6.6 million).
Nonetheless, using a more realistic figure of 12 percent, we get a far lower number of 2.6 million transfers without background checks for 2012 – and this in a record-setting year. Thus, we see that the MAIG inflated their percentage of transfers without background checks at least by a factor of three, and their raw number of 6.6 million by another factor of three, all for attempted shock value.
Now, turning to the online marketplaces for guns, we see that MAIG spilled a lot of ink on Armslist.com and its ilk, as their investigations led to a conclusion that “private sellers” (non- FFL holders) are routinely exceeding the bounds of the law on that and many smaller Web sites, by selling a variety of firearms on a continuous basis without a dealer license.
First, it must be said that law-abiding firearms owners and dealers have always supported more brisk enforcement of the existing laws regarding licensure of true firearms dealers, regardless of the media involved. But beyond that, the portrait drawn by MAIG in their two reports of the online market for firearms is broadly misleading due to a misplaced emphasis, and indeed due to omission of certain key facts.
The 2013 MAIG report portrays the online market for firearms as basically a lawless zone, stating that “in January 2001 … the Justice Department estimated that 80 firearms auction sites and around 4,000 other sites featured guns for sale. In the dozen years since, the number of such sites has grown immeasurably.”
If the 2013 report were a securities disclosure document, its writer could be indicted for misleading the public. A more accurate portrayal would state that since its inception as “first mover” after eBay’s exit in 1999, GunBroker.com established itself as the Internet’s dominant gun sales and auction site, having by its own estimates over 75 percent of the market for online firearms auctions and third party sales in 2014.
GunBroker.com usually has at any given time over 660,000 unique items for sale or auction, while GunBroker’s own surveys of Armslist.com and its other competitors have disclosed that, like the classified ads found in newspapers 15 years ago, many listed items have already been sold, rendering meaningless the statistics in the 2013 report and elsewhere regarding number of firearms being sold on these sites.
Perhaps the dominance of GunBroker.com would not be meaningful in the context of the 2013 reports but for the key characteristics of the site: GunBroker.com not only requires procedures in excess of the requirements of law for transactions on its site, it applies industry-leading identity verification as an anti-fraud measure for all its users, and has established an online “culture of compliance.”
Unlike its major competitors (as well as the various upstart sites, which come and go on the Internet), GunBroker.com requires universal background checks for any firearms transaction among its users, even where not required by applicable federal law as intrastate transfers among non-dealers.
Of course, this would have been the result of the bill passed by the U.S. Senate in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy if it had become law – do the writers at MAIG not know that this rule is already in effect on the “go-to” site for firearms sales and auctions in America?
It is also notable that these rules are not only enforced by technical measures on the site designed to detect non-compliance, but given that over 80 percent of sellers on GunBroker.com are FFL holders, interested in strict compliance with the law, the odd would-be rule-breaker is commonly reported and terminated as a user on GunBroker.com.
All told, the two reports of the MAIG provided a very misleading picture of the state of the online marketplace for firearms. There will always be fly-by-night lawbreakers, but in point of fact, the majority of buyers and sellers in this thriving marketplace are not only complying with U.S. law, but complying with rules in excess of the requirements of U.S. law.
While lawful supporters of the Second Amendment have no objection to appropriate prosecution of lawbreakers on online marketplaces and elsewhere, it is far from clear that the Internet gun marketplace represents the menace portrayed by MAIG and others.
Since the late 1930s, hunters, target shooters and the firearms industry have been the nation’s largest contributors to conservation, paying for programs that benefit America’s wildlife and all who love the outdoors.
In fact, the U.S. Department of Interior just announced that firearms and ammunition manufacturers contributed a record $760.9 million in excise taxes in 2013 through the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Program.
NSSF has created a new infographic, “How Wildlife is Thriving Because of Guns and Hunting,” to illustrate how we as an industry and as sportsmen are the greatest contributors to wildlife conservation in America, providing nearly $9 billion over the past 76 years.
Please spread this message far and wide. Share it on social media, post it to your websites — let the world know about America’s original and largest contributors to conservation: hunters, shooters and the firearms industry.
Editor’s Note: This feature first appeared yesterday in The Archery Wire (www.archerywire.com).
Does the nation’s largest anti-hunting and animal rights organization solicit contributions from the public under dubious pretense during times of national disaster, only to funnel those assets to further its agenda to end certain types of legal hunting and agricultural practices?
The Attorney General of Oklahoma apparently suspects that might be the case.
In a statement issued March 12, AG Scott Pruitt issued a warning to Oklahomans regarding solicitations and advertisements by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), an organization known well by hunting groups and animal farming interests. Pruitt said he was concerned HSUS gave Oklahomans the mistaken impression their donations are assisting Oklahoma animal shelters, when in fact the donations of Oklahomans may go toward unrelated efforts like lobbying in other states or at the federal level.
Archery Wire readers may recall our feature appearing earlier this month, “Ballot Measure Threatens Black Bear Archery Hunting in Maine,” in which we detailed the effort to prohibit the hunting of bears using bait, hounds or traps through the voter initiative process. The primary organization bankrolling the issue is – you guessed it – HSUS.
It marks the second attempt to ban bear hunting in Maine – the most bear-rich state in the lower 48 – in the past ten years using the ballot box and an emotion-driven campaign. For its ultimately unsuccessful 2004 effort, Washington DC-based HSUS ponied up nearly a half-million dollars.
In Oklahoma, the Attorney General said he is specifically looking into concerns over fundraising advertisements in the wake of the devastating and deadly May 2013 tornadoes that struck the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore. Pruitt contends HSUS advertising and public relations gave Oklahomans the deceptive impression their donations would help pets and other animals displaced by the storm, as well as support local shelters impacted by the storm.
But that was not the case, Pruitt’s office discovered.
Through consultation with central Oklahoma animal shelters in the region most affected by the 2013 tornados, the AG’s office could not find any that indicated they received financial or in-kind assistance from any national animal welfare groups, much less HSUS.
Not surprisingly, HSUS conducted a strikingly similar widespread public relations and advertising campaign on the heels of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, seeking memberships and donations to allegedly aid displaced pets in and around New Orleans.
“Oklahomans are caring people and gave generously to assist our friends and neighbors devastated by the deadly May 2013 tornadoes,” Pruitt said. “The concern is the donations of Oklahomans made to national animal welfare organizations in the wake of the tornadoes may have gone instead to lobbying activities. We all want the best for displaced animals and appreciate the work animal welfare organizations do to provide care for dogs, cats and other animals. But it’s important to ensure Oklahomans are not being deceived, and that the donations they made to help Oklahoma-based animal shelters are doing just that.”
The $64,000 Question remains, did the generous (but naïve) animal lovers who felt compelled to write checks to HSUS based on its pleas for the 4-legged victims of Oklahoma and Katrina actually help fund its recent lobbying campaign to ban lead-component ammunition and outlaw bobcat trapping in California and attempt to block state agency wolf management practices in Michigan?
If you believe it, you have plenty of company.
Days after Pruitt’s announcement, billboards began appearing around the Oklahoma City metropolitan area sponsored by The Center for Consumer Freedom, a noted HSUS adversary and lobbying group for the food industry. While praising Pruitt’s actions in an accompanying press release, the billboards read: “The Humane Society of the United States deceives donors with tear-jerking and manipulative images of dogs and cats, and then funnels the money to push a radical animal liberation agenda aimed at attacking farmers.”
We would add “hunters, conservationists and wildlife managers.”
In his March 12 statement, Pruitt encouraged Oklahomans to donate directly to state-based causes and organizations to ensure their money goes to help local animal welfare organizations and not to other states or programs.
“The best way to ensure your donation is assisting the charity or organization you intended is to give directly to that organization,” Attorney General Pruitt said. “If anyone suspects they have been the victim of false or misleading fundraising efforts by national animal welfare groups, they should contact the Attorney General’s Office. As the state’s top consumer advocate, I will continue to review these concerns to ensure no one is taking advantage of the generosity of Oklahomans.”
Further, the Attorney General’s Public Protection Unit provided a list of tips to avoid charity fraud, and a couple were particularly relevant to HSUS and its notorious track record:
– Be leery of charities with names similar to well-known organizations;
– Beware of appeals that are long on emotion, but short on fact.