Freedom's Phantom Menace?

by
posted on May 21, 2015
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Last December, a press release quietly appeared in journalists’ inboxes announcing the formation of a new national group, American State Legislators for Gun Violence Prevention (ASLGVP), which claimed to have 200 members in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.

But except for eight of them, all Democrats, none of those 200 state legislators would admit membership in the secretive anti-gun group.

The press release contained the usual anti-gun bromides and platitudes—for example, it repeated the phrase “gun violence” a dozen times, which ASLGVP founder Brian Kavanagh, D-N.Y., called “a tragic crisis”—but it gave no indication of:

  • what particular anti-gun legislation those legislators supported;
  • what the organization’s bylaws or articles of incorporation might be;
  • what the group’s IRS 990 tax status might be; or
  • who, or what, the sources of its funding might be.

In other words, a group of 200 state legislators who are sworn to uphold the U.S. Constitution, and obligated to represent the views of the voters who elected them, are actively engaged in attacking the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution—yet refuse to be held accountable for doing so by the people they represent.

What ever happened to Lincoln’s “government of the people, by the people, for the people”?  

What ever happened to openness, responsiveness and accountability in government?

In a world where President Barack Obama can claim to lead “the most transparent administration in U.S. history”—an administration whose attorney general, Eric Holder, gets held in contempt of Congress for stonewalling investigators after smuggling guns to the Mexican drug cartels; whose IRS official, Lois Lerner, mysteriously “loses” thousands of emails after unlawfully targeting groups with “Tea Party” or “Patriot” in their names; and whose secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, can destroy thousands of emails that she says “belong to the State Department”—this kind of secrecy, subterfuge and arrogance may not surprise us. 

But they should arouse suspicion, warrant investigation and provoke unified opposition.

Although ASLGVP isn’t overtly tied to former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s various gun-control groups yet—the group is still too new to have much of a paper trail—the effort appears to have Bloomberg’s fingerprints all over it. The group’s mailing address is a post office box in New York City. Its founder and chairman, New York Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh, of Manhattan, has joined Bloomberg to parrot his anti-gun talking points. And indeed, the organization is built around Bloomberg’s strategy of shifting his anti-gun lobbying efforts from the U.S. Congress to the state legislatures

But after the expensive defeats he suffered last year—from local to national elections—Michael Bloomberg knows he’s more of a liability than an asset to campaigns when voters know about his involvement and agenda for their rights.

So there’s every reason for Bloomberg to conceal any involvement and support.

Sunlight may be the best disinfectant. But apparently, American State Legislators for Gun Violence Prevention prefers to operate under the cover of darkness, secrecy and anonymity:

  • After a search of the IRS website, it appears that the group has not registered as a tax-exempt entity; has not filed a “Political Organization Disclosure” with the IRS; and if it has filed a Form 990 nonprofit tax return, it is not yet available online.
  • A search of the 48,854 filings listed in the “Nonprofit Explorer” at the investigative journalism website propublica.org turns up nothing for the group.
  • Repeated calls for disclosure of the group’s membership—on social media and by investigative journalists—have gone unanswered.
  • Reuters reported that the group had not released information identifying its donors, only that a fundraising campaign was underway.

What we do know is this:

1. ASLGVP’s 200 members—an average of four per state—are in key positions within their respective state legislatures. For example, one admitted member, Washington Democrat State Rep. Laurie Jinkins, chairs her state’s House Judiciary Committee, where she sponsored legislation allowing virtually anyone to call for the confiscation of anyone else’s firearms simply by leveling an accusation of “dangerousness” to authorities.
     
2. ASLGVP members appear willing to engage in the Bloomberg strategy of knowingly, repeatedly, consistently lying about myriad aspects of the gun debate. For example, another admitted member of ASLGVP, Missouri Democrat State Rep. Stacey Newman, recently bragged that 15 years ago on Mother’s Day, she helped organize a 60-member St. Louis delegation to attend Al Gore’s proxy campaign event and anti-gun feel-good festival, the Million Mom March. Since then, Newman claimed, “In the past 15 years, the rate of gun violence has continued to explode.” Yet in reality, according to the Justice Department, the firearm crime rate fell by one-third between 2000 and 2011, and violent crime has continued to fall to the lowest levels in decades, since then.

So you have to ask yourself:

Are your state legislators part of this shadowy, secretive anti-gun organization?

If so, what gives them the right to conceal their alliances and activities from the people who elect them—the people they’re supposed to represent?

And if they feel they can’t trust you to know who’s funding their activities against your constitutional right to keep and bear arms—can you trust them?

Use Your Power

We’ll continue to investigate American State Legislators for Gun Violence Prevention and report to you what we find. In the meantime, you can get customized alerts to warn you of legislative and regulatory attacks on your Second Amendment rights here.

 

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