Op-Ed Articles

7/06 A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing

A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing

by
Chris Chumita

If you can't beat them, join them. Or at least make them think that you did. That seems to be the latest game plan of the gun-grabbers. The anti-gun and anti-hunting organizations are changing their tactics after a series of humiliating defeats at the hands of gun owners.

What better way to defeat the gun lobby than to fool unsuspecting gun owners into thinking that you are one of them? Not only will you being taking monetary donations from real pro-gun organizations, but you could get gun owners to vote for anti-gun candidates by making some key endorsements. That appears to be the strategy of at least one organization, the American Hunters and Shooter's Association (AHSA). The scary part is that it might work.

When you first look at their web site, the AHSA appears to be a pro-gun organization. However, the devil is in the details. Not only do you not get a clear picture on how they stand on many gun issues, the entire web site is filled with "code" words that set off red flags in the minds of Second Amendment activists. Here are some examples from their web site (emphasis added):

AHSA is committed to advancing common-sense gun policy initiatives that will have an immediate impact on violence, crime, accidental injury and death and make our country safer."
AHSA vigorously defends the constitutional right to keep and bear arms, promotes safe and responsible gun use, and supports reasonable public policies, so that all Americans can enjoy the benefits of this crucial and historic liberty.

How often do we hear the Brady Campaign, International Network of Small Arms (IANSA) and other gun-grabber organizations use the terms such as "common sense gun policies" or "reasonable public policies?" Those "common sense" or "reasonable" policies are usually what most Second Amendment activists would consider to be draconian.

As a long time shooter, conservationist and gun safety advocate, I believe most law abiding Americans have a right to own a gun to protect themselves and their families, to hunt and to enjoy the shooting sports.

What do they mean "most law abiding Americans"? I would like to know how AHSA decides which law-abiding Americans have a right to use a gun for self-defense. Do they feel that only the elite of our society has that right?

On their web site, the AHSA puts on their game face and publicly states that they support pro-gun legislation such as the Protection of Lawful Commerce, and repealing the DC Gun Ban. However, they also support many of the anti-gun laws that most pro-gun control advocates support. For example, they support treating .50 caliber rifles like "machine guns" under the National Firearms Act (NFA), and closing the gun show "loophole."

Their web site only addresses a few issues, and it is unknown where AHSA stands on many other Second Amendment and hunting issues. Emails to the AHSA asking their stance went unanswered. Maybe there is a reason for that.

Don't be fooled by pictures of their leaders in camouflage or talks of their hunting trips. The leadership of AHSA has a long history of spitting on the Second Amendment. The leadership makes claims about conservation issues, yet they have not spent one dime on any conservation project in Ohio. Let's take a look at their leadership:

Ray Schoenke, President of ASHA

Ray Schoenke played professional football, and was once a candidate for the Governor of Maryland. The AHSA web site states that he is a gun owner, hunter, and that he owns a 300-acre hunting preserve on Maryland's Chesapeake Bay.

However, Schoenke has some skeletons in his closet. He has been a strong supporter of numerous anti-Second Amendment candidates. According to Gun Law News, Schoenke has made political donations to Diane Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, Al Gore, Bill Clinton, John Kerry, and Edward Kennedy.

Bob "Benedict Arnold" Ricker, Executive Director, AHSA

Bob "Benedict Arnold" Ricker once valiantly fought for our Second Amendment rights. The AHSA web site proudly discusses Ricker's pro-Second Amendment activities. He served as the Assistant General Counsel for the NRA, and helped develop the California Rifle and Pistol Association's legislative advocacy program. Early in his career, he made some positive contributions to the fight for our Second Amendment rights.

Ricker has since betrayed the NRA and the Second Amendment. Today, the AHSA web site proudly promotes that he negotiated an agreement between the Clinton administration and Smith and Wesson (S&W) concerning a voluntary child safety lock program.

The agreement was not just about trigger locks and serial numbers. It also would have severely limited gun sales, required mandatory skill testing prior to purchasing a gun, and required impractical changes to gun design. The agreement also pledged that licensed dealers would refrain from selling semi-automatic rifles, prohibit the sale of guns at gun shows that allow private sells, and require gun dealers to include anti-gun literature with every gun sale. The agreement created a huge controversy in the firearm industry and it eventually led to a boycott of S&W. S&W has since come to their senses, and the agreement is a dark spot in the history of a great company.

According to the NRA-ILA, Ricker has also lobbied to further increase gun regulation and to shut down gun shows. With "friends" like Ricker, we don't need enemies.

John E. Rosenthal, President, AHSA Foundation

John E. Rosenthal is practically the male version of Sarah Brady. He is one of the founding members of Stop Handgun Violence, an anti-Second Amendment organization in Massachusetts. Stop Handgun Violence has played a role in making Massachusetts a gun-grabber's paradise. Rosenthal is trying to use AHSA to spread his anti-gun views to other states.

Joseph J. Vince Jr., Board of Directors, AHSA

Joseph J. Vince Jr. retired from the BATFE and is an "expert" with Crime Gun Solutions. He helped write the analysis on the impact of the Clinton assault rifle ban that was used by the Brady Campaign and openly supported its reauthorization. Vince also signed a letter asking the senators to oppose the Protection of Lawful Commerce Act.

Jody Powell, Co-Chairman, AHSA Advisory Board

Jody Powell was President Jimmy Carter's press secretary.

Considering who the leaders of AHSA are, Rebecca Peters from IANSA would be a perfect addition to their advisory board.

The true nature of AHSA may be old news, but most gun owners are unaware of their true nature. We often take what we know for granted, and assume that it's common knowledge. It is important that we spread the word to prevent unsuspecting gun owners from falling into their trap. AHSA is trying to hide who they truly are until they are ready to strike. They are a perfect example of the phrase "A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing."

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Editor's Note: a number of years ago, GOA Executive Director Larry Pratt debated Joseph J. Vince Jr. on National Public Radio. As Larry puts it, "He's about as pro-gun as Sarah Brady."