By F. Paul Valone
February 22, 2017
Dear Gun Rights Supporter:
Unfortunately, the operatives from the long-discredited “National Association for Gun Rights” (appropriately enough, “NAGR”) are at it again.
The culprits are Noel Fritsch and Ryan O’Neal, both “formerly” of NAGR (but likely still working on NAGR’s behalf). And their playbook -- straight from NAGR -- is not to actually pass legislation, but rather to tell lies about pro-gun legislators and organizations, branding them “not pro-gun enough.” Why? To raise money, of course.
Recently, North Carolina Gun Rights (“NCGR”, which is likely a deliberately misleading anagram of GRNC) and one of O’Neal’s other entities, “firstinfreedomdaily,” have obliquely referred to GRNC as a “fraudulent gun rights organization,” attempted to bill brand House Bill 69 for constitutional carry as “compromise carry,” and lied about veterans supposedly being denied their rights under the bill.
To give you the flavor of the two operatives involved, O’Neal, formerly a campaign manager for Greg Brannon’s US Senate bid, and also formerly a Ron Paul campaign staffer (in conjunction with NAGR, whose principals consulted for Paul), has reportedly been disavowed by Brannon.
In addition to other dubious fundraising organizations on a variety of issues here in North Carolina, O’Neal was the subject of ethics complaints for his “Defense of Liberty PAC” (“DOLPAC”) in Maine and has been caught doing predatory fundraising in Louisiana.
Then we have Mr. Fritsch. Considered by some as responsible for sinking the US Senate bid by pro-gun Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel, for whom he served as communications director, Fritsch was reportedly a subject of a grand jury investigation into whether he or others paid someone to lie about vote buying by McDaniel’s opponent. Indeed, Fritsch was so “popular” in Mississippi during the debate over constitutional carry there that his own bill sponsor threatened to call capitol police on him.
To give you a feel for Fritsch’s stability, one Mississippi reporter called Fritsch’s propensity to yell at and then hang up on reporters -- later calling them back as if they were old friends -- “Sybil-like.”
But a Mississippi legislator said it best: “I think this is just a fundraising group — a shield, a sham, a ruse," Gipson said…They're doing what they've done in other states, going after the most conservative, pro-gun rights people…”
The most recent (among many) fundraising letter from “The Boys From NAGR” makes a number of assertions about HB 69 which range from selectively misleading to downright false.
Scam #1: “…H.B. 69 includes numerous statutes that strip law-abiding North Carolina citizens of their God-given right to keep and bear arms guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”
Truth: HB 69 does not create any new restrictions. In order to be narrowly crafted (and more likely passed into law), the new Section 54C mirrors language in our existing concealed handgun statute, differing only in that people would no longer need permits. Meanwhile, GRNC has drafted language and recruited sponsors to remove many restrictions in OTHER legislation.
Scam #2: “…under H.B. 69, a veteran who gets a divorce or is found guilty of committing adultery could be DENIED their right to carry in North Carolina…”
Truth: Nice try, fellas, but wrong again. Under NC’s original concealed handgun statute, flawed language bars applicants who were discharged from the military under “other than honorable” conditions. GRNC has been the ONLY organization involved in trying to get that language changed as recently as the last session of the legislature, and will do so again this year. However, HB 69 does NOT MIRROR THIS LANGUAGE, instead applying only to people who were DISHONORABLY discharged, a category which does not include adultery or other minor offenses, but instead only serious crimes subject to courts martial.
Scam #3: The Boys from NAGR intimate that a new, better constitutional carry bill will be introduced by Rep. Chris Millis at their behest.
Truth: As Hertz commercials put it, “Not exactly.” While Rep. Millis (R-Onslow, Pender, GRNC ****) does plan to introduce legislation (which, presuming it is well crafted, GRNC will support), according to Millis, “The Boys from NAGR” had nothing to do with it. If Millis introduces a good bill, what will likely happen is that bits and pieces of both bills will be melded into a committee substitute which is acceptable to enough parties to secure passage. (Expect to hear lots of Fritsch-like wailing when that happens.)
Straight out of the NAGR playbook (and following what they’ve done in Mississippi and elsewhere), the single and only thing The Boys from NAGR are doing is to push a “petition” for which they claim a ridiculously inflated number of signatures.
But here is their dirty little secret: While we may disagree on the effectiveness of petitions as political weapons (many argue they are too easily ignored), a petition makes an excellent ruse for predatory fundraising.
You see, the scammers are also spammers. If you sign their petition, you will receive endless spam dunning you for money. And if The Boys from NAGR are anything like the folks who trained them, the “thanks” you receive for signing or contributing will likely be to have your email sold to other spammers.
Our problem is that HB 69 is currently assigned to the NC House Judiciary I Committee, chaired by Rep. Ted Davis (R-New Hanover, GRNC *), who will likely deny it a hearing, killing it. Accordingly, we need to move the bill to the Judiciary II Committee, chaired by Rep. John Blust (R-Guilford, ***) who, thanks to your input in response to GRNC’s alert last weekend, has promised to give the bill a hearing.
To get HB 69 moved to J-2, please contact Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland, ****) and Rules Chair David Lewis (R-Harnett, ***) and tell them to re-assign the bill.
• Since 1994, only one truly “no-compromise” North Carolina gun rights organization has defended your rights;
• One organization has been primarily responsible for passing concealed carry, concealed handgun reciprocity, the purchase permit bypass, Castle Doctrine/Stand Your Ground, expansion of concealed carry into parks, restaurants, public assemblies and elsewhere;
• One organization has killed scores of proposed anti-gun bills;
• One organization sued Winston-Salem and forced dozens of municipalities to repeal illegal anti-gun ordinances and remove posting signs from parks and elsewhere;
• One organization forced hundreds of stores and restaurants to remove “no firearms signs”
• One NC organization has sued to overturn NC’s “state of emergency” gun ban, reinforcing your right to self protection during riots and natural disasters ...
...and only one organization can get constitutional carry passed in North Carolina.
That organization is Grass Roots North Carolina.
And unlike the poseurs, GRNC vows to put your money to use more efficiently and effectively than any other organization in defending your rights.
Armatissimi e liberissimi,
F. Paul Valone
President, Grass Roots North Carolina
Executive Director, Rights Watch International
P.S. I realize money is tight, but $100, $50 or even $25 will help GRNC defend your rights and pass constitutional carry!