Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Day With Mike Vanderboegh at the NRA Annual Meeting

I arrived at the NRA Annual Meeting in Nashville late on Thursday, the 9th of April, so I was able to get to the press room only a little after they opened on Friday morning.  Mike Vanderboegh was there.  I had met Mike a couple of years ago.  He looked and acted a lot healthier than he had in Houston in 2013, and he did not have to use a wheel chair.  He is someone who I have admired ever since I learned of his activities and the Sipsey Street Irregulars a few years ago.  I do not count attending the open carry event across the river from D.C. on April 19, 2010, at the 'Restore the Constitution Rally', as a meeting, as I do not recall talking to Mike at that time.  He was a featured speaker at that event.  A lot of water has flowed down the Potomac since then.  That was before Mike and David Codrea broke the Fast and Furious story.

Mike was breaking another story at the NRA meeting.  He considers this one to be just as important, in a different way, than the Fast and Furious story. 

The details of the story involve a secret deal involving the NRA, the Congressional leadership, and the BATF.   The point, as explained by Mike, was to extricate the BATF from a regulatory corner that they had painted themselves into.  The NRA would be able to claim that they had 'rescued' millions of law abiding gun owners from being instant felons, and the item that had the disarmists from both parties salivating was a 'tweak' to the sporting purposes language that would grant much more power to the BATF to ban items at will.

The deal was to introduce the 'tweak' as language in a rider to a must pass bill, get it passed without fanfare or debate, then declare victory all around.  It was most important that this be done in secret, because the 'sporting purposes' tweak would not bear close inspection.

The Democrats are said to be the ones who brokered the deal.  An added fillip would be a ban on tracer ammunition; that was said to be a throw-away if it were needed.  Better that I quote Mike on some of the details.  From Sipsey Street Irregulars:
As explained by sources here and in the nation's capitol, the outlines of what one called "this cynical deal with the Devil" are as follows:

1. The ATF will be let off the hook by broadening the "sporting purposes" language and legislatively negating their own determination that millions of heretofore legal pistol-grip shotguns produced over the past decades by companies like Mossberg are "destructive devices."

2. The NRA will get to claim credit for, as one source said, "riding in out of the storm on a white horse and claiming to have saved millions of firearm owners from federal prison, even though," he added, "everybody in the room with an IQ above room temperature understands that politically and legally there is no (expletive deleted) way that ATF can enforce this ruling on anybody. They can't and they won't . . so" he concluded, "the NRA will claim to have saved their members from a boogeyman that never really existed."

3. In return for allowing NRA to claim the credit, the Democrats demanded another ammunition import ban on "specialty ammunition," to include tracers. Some sources agreed that this last "gimme" was a "throwaway," in the words of one. "Look, their M.O. is to always demand more than they know they can get in to get the thing they really value. They'd like to get it but what they really covet is knocking a bigger hole in the Constitution by (widening the 'sporting purposes' language) . . . this deal will give them one big enough to drive Diane Feinstein's limousine through."
Mike and I have a lot in common, and we hit it off.  I spent quite a bit of time with him at the NRA meeting, and I am convinced that he has credible sources to back up the claims in the article.   I could not help but overhear fragments of his phone conversations.  As to be expected with events of this political sensitivity, he has to be very careful not to reveal who he is getting information from.

Mike wanted to get the NRA on record about the story, even if it was "no comment".   He asked me if I had a device that could take video.  I had a couple, and we tested my trusty Sony to see if we could easily transfer video files.  I use it almost exclusively for still shots, but I had done a couple of videos over the years.   We could make it work, but the camera has a timed shut off, so we could not leave it on all the time.  When the opportunity popped up, Mike and I were walking toward an exit.  We went by Chris Cox and his entourage.  This was too good an opportunity to pass up.  I took off the lens cap, powered up the camera, and missed the opening remarks.   I would have loved to get a picture of Mike shaking Chris Cox' hand, but I was not fast enough.  Fortunately, I got the video going and the pair pretty well centered long enough to get the main thrust of the action.

Link to article with the video

I have to look at an upgrade in equipment and some backup solutions to do this right.  But, as they say in the military, a good plan executed now beats a perfect plan executed too late.    I can not say whether Chris Cox knew about the deal that Mike and David uncovered.  But I can say that no such deal will be possible now that Chris Cox has made an emphatic public denial of the story, and admitted that he read it.  It is funny that someone in the NRA seems to be claiming that a false "internet rumor" is floating about.  From

Thank you for contacting NRA-ILA regarding recent negotiations between the National Rifle Association and the BATFE.

The NRA-ILA is not sure where this internet rumor started or by whom, but it is completely untrue. I have attached the NRA-ILA sign up for legislative alerts. This is the best way to stay informed of the legislative activity within the NRA-ILA. We will continue to fight for your 2nd Amendment rights day in and day out.
NRA-ILA Alert Sign Up
Nick C
Some interesting misinformation there.  Notice that the reply is about an "internet rumor", not a couple of articles by the people who broke Fast and Furious.  Nor did the articles claim that there were direct negotiations between the NRA and the BATF.  They claimed that the deal involved the NRA, the BATF, and politicians of both parties:
Last week, a secret deal involving the National Rifle Association lobbying arm and brokered by politicians of both national political parties was struck in Washington DC that would save the ATF from the political and legal consequences of its own regulatory errors.
The wording is precise.   We have Chris Cox on video admitting that he read the article, and "categorically denying it".    It is hard to see where the "internet rumor" language comes from. 

The NRA did good work in stopping the "background check" legislation.  They need to learn that you cannot keep membership by playing these word games.  You have to play it straight.   The new media is unforgiving of falsehoods.  Probably 70 percent of the people walking about have recording devices on them at any given time.  The article should be enough for them to investigate and clean house, if they need too.  And I do not mean firing a few people that they suspect might be sources for those intrepid investigative reporters, Mike Vanderboegh and David Codrea.

 Definition of  disarmist 

 ©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch

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