Mission statement:

Armed and Safe is a gun rights advocacy blog, with the mission of debunking the "logic" of the enemies of the Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms.

I can be reached at 45superman@gmail.com.You can follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/45superman.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Follow the money--a look at the Gun Guys' sugar daddies

Anyone who reads this blog semi-regularly has probably noticed that I really enjoy picking on the Gun Guys website. There's just something about the hysterical dissemination of outright lies (such as "where there is a firearm, there will be firearms violence."--the kind of thing they say all the time, and about as honest as saying "where there are children and parents, there will be child abuse.") that bothers me. Today, though, instead of making fun of the Gun Guys directly (which was kind of fun for awhile, but way too easy), I thought it would be interesting to take a look at their funding. Comments from 1957 Human provided much of the inspiration for this little project--thanks '57.

The Gun Guys are part of the cynically named "Freedom States Alliance" (that name might be the biggest lie of all), which also boasts such paragons of internet wisdom as 50 Caliber Terror--about the "horrific threat" of .50 caliber rifles (tell me, guys, have you uncovered a single case of someone in the U.S. being killed with one of those yet--get back to me when you do), License to Murder--which is their catchy name (they do like lurid sensationalism, don't they?) for laws that explicitly state that the burden of proof that a self-defense shooting was not self-defense lies with the prosecution (apparently, the whole concept of the presumption of innocence pending proof of guilt offends them), and (I'm not kidding here) Newspaper Loophole (apparently, the mythical "gunshow loophole" isn't quite silly enough for these geniuses, so now they're trying to make it impossible for people to place classified ads to sell their used guns).

Of all the Freedom States Alliance websites, the Gun Guys would seem to be the flagship--at least it gets updated regularly--the rest seem to be pretty static. The Freedom States Alliance, in turn, is apparently part of, or managed by Mark Karlin and Associates, a Chicago based public relations firm. The funding, or at least a vast chunk of it, comes from the Joyce Foundation. According to this, in 2006, the Joyce Foundation gave $650,000 to the Mark Karlin group, for the Freedom States Alliance (they also gave $185,000 to the same PR firm in 2003, "to help raise the media presence and capacity of Midwest gun violence prevention groups," although this may have been before the Freedom States Alliance was formed). Actually, a look on the Joyce Foundation's list of grants for public policy dealing with "gun violence" is something of a who's who of anti-gun groups--and the money involved is huge: $500,000 to the Violence Policy Center, a staggering $1,795,000, since July, 2004, to the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence (here, here, here, and here)--and that's just a sampling--in all, there's over six and a quarter million dollars devoted just to pushing more restrictive gun laws (according to this)--and that doesn't count all the money for firearms "research."

Something I found interesting is that over half a million dollars (here and here) of that money has gone to the International Association of Chiefs of Police, just in the last year. That certainly sounds impressive, (or would--if one believes that an international group should have a say in U.S. public policy). The Gun Guys, by the way, quote the IACP all the time--apparently, half a million dollars in one year buys quite a lot of support for one's position to strip Americans of their Constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms.

In fairness, attacking the Second Amendment isn't the Joyce Foundation's only passion--they also seem to have it in for the First Amendment, as seen here by their monetary support for the McCain-Feingold Act of 2002

Joyce helped fund several of the groups that provided critical research and advocacy on behalf of state and federal campaign finance reforms. After Congress passed the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (McCain-Feingold) in 2002, Joyce provided funding to the Brennan Center at New York University, Democracy 21, the Campaign Legal Center, and the Public Citizen Litigation Group to help defend the act against lawsuits challenging its constitutionality. The Supreme Court upheld BCRA in 2003.
Does anyone besides me find it ironic that they would use money to support legislation ostensibly aimed at "keeping money out of politics"?

So it seems that the Gun Guys and their pals are well funded. You'd think with all that money, they could afford a word processing program with a spell check feature, or am I just not clever enough to have encountered the word, "renowed" before? Update: I guess they dropped in, learned of their spelling problem, and fixed it--hey Gun Guys, how about sending some of that Joyce Foundation money this way, if you're going to use my proofreading service?

EDITED TO ADD: Living as I do (unfortunately) in the self-defense denied state of Illinois, I kind of left out the Joyce Foundation's contributions to self-defense suppression in other states--to give an idea, since 2003, they've given $1,270,000 to WAVE Educational Fund, $112,000 to Citizens for a Safer Minnesota Education Fund, $350,000 to Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, and $250,000 to Iowans for the Prevention of Gun Violence. Basically, if you're a gun rights deprivation advocacy group in the Midwest, the Joyce Foundation has a big stack of blank checks for you.

UPDATE: When I was looking into the Joyce Foundation's list of grants to human rights suppression groups, I ignored the "firearms research" category, and looked only at "improving public policy." That was a mistake on my part, because in addition to the $500,000 I already mentioned coming from the Foundation to the VPC for "improving public policy," it has donated another $1,650,000 to them (here, here, and here) for "research."


Anonymous said...


"Congressman B. Carroll Reece, Chairman of the House Special Committee to Investigate Tax-Exempt Foundations, shows how the United States taxpayer is being used to further Communist aims. Reece was Chairman of the Republican National Committee (1946-1948).

Tax-exempt philanthropic foundations clearly have become one principle source of Communist influence infiltration and subversion in the United States.
Inquiry by four committees of Congress since 1952 has demonstrated beyond all question that eleemosynary foundations -- however laudably described in their charters -- are accountable in history for all their works.
As one promising approach, the Senate Internal Security subcommittee (of the Committee on the Judiciary) recommended on February 28, 1957, that Congress withdraw the tax-exempt status from any organization "contributing funds to a Communist or Communist-front organization, or for Communist purposes." Such a law would apply to all foundations those definitions already established in the Federal Code by the Subversive Activities Control Act. Tax-exempt foundations then would be subject to citation by the SACB whenever their operations were determined to he tainted by Communist inspiration, purpose, or direction.
The House Committee on Tax Exempt Foundations reports there are about 7,000 foundations in the United States today. Their combined trust funds aggregate $7.5 billion, with total annual income approximating $675 million. Some 500 of the larger foundations, those holding more than $10 million each, control roughly 56 percent of the total endowments, and collect approximately 32 percent of all foundation income.
Some fifty foundations were named in the hearings as supporters of studies or programs contributing to Communist purposes in the United States."


Number of foundations? Unknown! ("In fact, because the files are only partially computerized, state regulators don't even know how many foundations there are. Neither does the Internal Revenue Service." http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2003/12/29/foundations_tax_returns_left_unchecked/ )

Number of 501(c) entities (which include foundations, as well as others such as churches, charities, etc.: over 1.6 million!


Would have to guess that Congressman Reece was not wrong.

NotClauswitz said...

Good grief, those "Gun Guys" are maroons - however I did get a chance to update my Freedom States Alliance "Alerts" as fidelcastro@islandjail.com

Anonymous said...

"tell me, guys, have you uncovered a single case of someone in the U.S. being killed with one of those yet--get back to me when you do"

The URL [url]http://www.vpc.org/snipercrime.htm[/url] is filled with lies about the 50 BMG. Almost every case they list just an associstion with a 50 BMG, not that they were ever fired (or even intended to be fired).

The one in KC is a lie. I work 1 mile from where that happended. I never heard/read anything about a 50 BMG.

If the Davidians had 50 BMGs why was there no threat to helicopters. The site claims they are such a threat to aircraft which is hogwash.

If those armored car drivers were shot with 50 BMG they would be more than wounded.

Kurt '45superman' Hofmann said...

Yeah, I've read the "information" at that VPC link before, and I noticed right away that not a single case listed there actually comes out and says that a person was killed with such a rifle.

Seems to me that they would have been quick to point out such a case, had it occurred.

T said...

The Joyce Foundation was inspired by the work they and the Pew Foundation did pushing campaign finance reform. See here for a summary of how that went down.

The big difference is the organization of gun rights groups. No group was specifically organized to fight campaign finance reform. Many groups are organized to fight encroachment on gun rights. They have a harder job this time, but it just means we have to keep after them as the liars they are.

Kurt '45superman' Hofmann said...

Good information! Thanks, T.

Anonymous said...

The IRA did use a rifle to kill a British serviceman, but it was at a "much shorter distance" than 1000 yards.

They seem to try to pick on Barrett a lot when numerous other countries produce similar rifles.

Kevin said...

I maintain a Wikipedia page on the Joyce Foundation here:

Note the staggering number of anti-gun groups that are bankrolled by the Joyce Foundation. It is my opinion that what is left of the organized anti-gun movement is being essentially funded by the Joyce Foundation.

Kevin said...

Wikipedia page on Joyce Foundation

Kurt '45superman' Hofmann said...

I'd never thought to check Wikipedia--nice work, Kevin--thanks.

Flash Gordon said...

Does anyone besides me find it ironic that they would use money to support legislation ostensibly aimed at "keeping money out of politics"?

They see no irony at all since it is only the money of their opposition that they seek to keep out of politics. They assume that they can continue to violate any new laws with impunity as they have been violating the old laws.

Anonymous said...

On a side note Barack Obama was on the Joyce Foundations board of directors.



This may be the best hammer to hit him with if he wins the nomination.

Kurt '45superman' Hofmann said...

On a side note Barack Obama was on the Joyce Foundations board of directors.

Now that is news to me. Thanks, Jack.