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The Year of the NRA
NEW WEST ^ | 1-07-10 | Bill Schneider

Posted on 01/10/2010 6:11:53 PM PST by neverdem

Is it pure coincidence that the best year ever for the gun lobby happened to be the first year of the Obama administration?

UPDATED, January 8, 10 am. See Update at end of article.

I’ve left 2009 behind, almost. Bear with me for one more look back.

Remember the insane paranoia among gun owners during the 2008 election season and throughout most of 2009?  The gun lobby whipped firearm owners into a fervor before and after the election of Barack Obama and a Democratic Congress with dire predictions about the impending demise of the Second Amendment if not all freedoms we cherish.

I wrote several commentaries saying the opposite--basically that a lot of Democrats are pro-gun, pro-2A, and many others wouldn’t touch the gun issue because it’s a political poison pill.

So, what happened?

Well, I was a bit off in my prediction. Democrats in Congress and many state legislatures did “touch the gun issue,” but ended up posing no threat our right to bear arms. Quite to the contrary, they probably passed more pro-gun laws than any year in history.

Therefore, may I suggest that the National Rifle Association (NRA), probably the most powerful lobby in our country and the architect or facilitator of most new pro-gun laws as well as court victories, should erect a statue of Barack Obama in front of its D.C. headquarters. Obama, with help from his fellow Dems throughout the country, has done more for firearm owners than any President in recent history, including vocally pro-gun Republicans.

And firearms manufacturers? Wow! While the rest of our economy tanked, they thrived, possibly having their best year ever in 2009, so perhaps the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the main trade organization for gun and ammo makers, should also have an Obama statue in front of its office out in Newtown, Connecticut.

What follows is hardly a complete list (yep, there’s more!), but here are a few of the most significant pro-firearm, pro-2A successes of 2009, the Year of the NRA:

Finally, a Real Bipartisan Issue. Are we all getting tired of politicians championing bipartisanship, but never doing it? Well, I say the right to bear arms is emerging from our two-party system as a true bipartisan issue.

Perhaps the most notable testimony to that claim was the amendment to H.R. 627, the so-called ”MasterBlaster Bill,” which reformed credit card regulations. Credit card reform might have been “must-pass,” but the amendment to allow loaded, concealed firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges certainly wasn’t. Nonetheless, Congress easily approved the amendment and President Obama didn’t object to it as he immediately signed the bill.

Nowadays, most politicians are so gunshy about a recordable vote casting them as anti-gun and lowering their NRA grade--therefore making them vulnerable to defeat in the next election--they go to untold lengths to avoid it. But when they can no longer avoid taking a stand, most vote for guns and the 2A, including a lot of those purportedly anti-gun Democrats. On the national park gun amendment, the votes were 67-29 in the Senate and 279-147 in the House, with 27 Democratic Senators and 105 Democratic Representatives joining all but two Republicans in each house to form a veto-proof, pro-gun, bipartisan majority standing up for the 2A.

Having checked the lists, it’s clear that the gun issue is no longer related to which party, but instead, which state. Politicos hailing from urbanized states, mostly on the Left Coast and in the Northeast, still dare to vote against the 2A, but geographically, not in the rest of the country, particularly in southern and western states.

Representatives of populous states like Illinois and New York continue to introduce anti-gun bills, but none have gotten any traction. The 110th Congress, in fact, introduced 8,996 bills, but only 112 (1.3 percent) were signed into law, so clearly, anti-gun bills aren’t making the cut.

But not so with pro-gun bills such as an NRA-backed bill to allow Amtrak travelers to transport firearms in checked baggage, which has already cleared the House. Ditto for a bill prohibiting the Department of Defense from destroying certain outdated and unused military firearms, ammo and components, so they can go back into the marketplace.

States Strengthen Gun Laws. In the past two years, mostly in 2009, according to a nationwide review by The Associated Press, 24 states, mostly in the South and West, passed 47 new pro-gun laws.

“The NRA has a stranglehold on a lot of state legislatures,” Kristin Rand, legislative director the anti-gun Violence Policy Center admitted in the AP report. “They basically have convinced lawmakers they can cost them their seats.”

Here’s a sampling of this success: Arizona, Florida, Louisiana and Utah stopped businesses from barring employees from storing guns in cars parked on company lots….Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, South Carolina and Virginia made some or all handgun permit information confidential….Arizona, Kansas and Montana allowed handgun permits to be issued to people who have had their felony convictions expunged….Montana and Tennessee exempted weapons made and owned in-state from federal restrictions…Tennessee allowed gun owners to take firearms onto sports fields and playgrounds….Montana, Ohio and Texas joined 21 other states in passing the Castle Doctrine, the so-called Stand Your Ground Law, which allows people to defend themselves with firearms from intruders without criminal or civil consequences…and many legislatures allowed firearms to be carried in cars, made it illegal to ask job candidates if they own a gun, and expanded agreements that make permits to carry handguns in one state valid in another state.

“This is all a coordinated approach to respect that human, God-given right of self defense by law-abiding Americans,” NRA chief lobbyist Chris W. Cox told AP. “We’ll rest when all 50 states allow and respect the right of law-abiding people to defend themselves from criminal attack.”

Supreme Victory. In June 2008, the Supreme Court overturned a handgun ban imposed by local government officials in Washington, D.C. and at the same time validated, for the first time, but with a narrow 5-4 vote, an individual’s right to bear arms.

“This is a great moment in American history,” declared NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre after the decision. “It vindicates individual Americans all over this country who have always known that this is their freedom worth protecting. Our founding fathers wrote and intended the Second Amendment to be an individual right.”

The NRA shepherded this historic case through the court system, but to me, the most amazing point was an Amicus Brief supporting Dick Armstrong Heller in his case against the D.C. gun law. Notably, 55 members of the U.S. Senate and 250 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, including nine Democratic Senators and 67 Democratic Representatives, signed the brief.

Even “ObamaCare” Scare Tactic Scores. Those who don’t follow the gun rights issue might not know about the Gun Owners of America (GOA), a group positioned, politically, right of the NRA and often calling themselves “Bitter Clingers.” The GOA was formed because members thought the NRA was too wimpy in its efforts to protect the 2A.

Throughout 2009, the GOA had this fanatical idea about health care reform legislation being a secret Democratic plot against the 2A, even though the 2,000+-page bill didn’t contain the words “gun” or “firearm.” This craziness was little more than an anti-Democrat, anti-Obama campaign, and easily dismissed as such by most, but viola, it still worked!

Although who knows what will come out of the conference committee in the final bill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), specifically to pacify the GOA, inserted last-minute language into the Senate bill stating that no wellness program implemented under health reform could require disclosure or collection of any information relating to gun ownership.

The fact that this occurred and was done by a Democrat should tell us all we need to know about the politics of the gun issue.

More Americans Support Guns, NRA Membership Soars. Remember James Watt, the arch-enemy of the environment appointed as Interior Secretary by President Ronald Reagan? Did he destroy the planet? Nope, but he did double the membership of the , so there’s another good idea for a statue.

Has Barack Obama tried to take away our right to bear arms? Nope, but he did sign the most pro-gun law passed in many years and prompted hundreds of thousands of Americans to join the NRA, now 4 million strong.

In turn, the NRA scored repeatedly in the court of public opinion. At the end of 2009, support for the 2A was higher than it has been in decades. A CNN poll found support for more restrictive gun laws declined from 50 percent in 2007 to 39 percent in 2009. In addition, a 2009 Gallup poll found that 71 percent of Americans now oppose a ban on handguns.

A Lot More People Now Have Guns. According to the NSSF, the number of background checks (required for people buying guns) has gone up 43 percent in 2009, following a 31 percent increase in 2008. One month alone, September 2009, had 1,093,230 background checks.

More guns mean more crime, correct? Nope, All categories of violent crime decreased in 2009, including a 10 percent reduction in murders.

In conclusion, you might not agree with all the NRA does or how it does things, but you have to agree that the gun lobby gets the job done for gun owners and puts up an almost impenetrable defense of the Second Amendment.

This brings me back to my Big Bet. In an earlier commentary, I promised to re-join the NRA if President Obama or the new, blue Congress passed any major anti-gun laws, such as a reauthorization of the Assault Weapon Ban. If I win, I hope all the gun guys who thought I was merely a crazy, left-handed “Fudd” would take up a collection and buy me an AR-15. Regrettably, no commitment on that, but actually, I’ll be satisfied with just being right, even if I have to buy my own AR.

I have three years to go before declaring victory, but what happened in 2009 makes me mighty comfortable that I made the right wager. And even though gun rights advocates must remain vigilant, after what happened--and didn’t happen--in 2009, they need not stress so much because they obviously have the Force within them. It’s called the NRA.

Footnote: For more NewWest.Net articles and commentary on guns and the NRA, click here.

UPDATE (January 8, 10 am): In the above commentary, I noted that “there’s more,” and readers helped me verify this by providing this additional testimony that the NRA is getting the job done for firearm owners.

More on “ObamaCare. The NRA, not just the GOA as I indicated, worked on the ObamaCare issue. The NRA worked with Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to draft the pro-gun amendment inserted into the Senate bill by Senator Reid. It’s very unlikely the House will try to remove this pro-gun amendment, given the politics of the gun issue.

Congressional Opposition to AWB. In March 2009, 65 Democratic congressmen signed a letter sent to Attorney General Eric Holder expressing their opposition to his call for reenactment of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban, that expired in 2004.

The Ensign Amendment. With this amendment, the Senate repealed the D.C. gun registration statute on a 63-36 vote, including 23 Democrats.

The Thune-Vitter Amendment. This National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act scored 58 votes, including 20 Democrats, but two short of the 60 votes needed for passage. Only 39 Senators voted against it; three Senators were absent.

Pro-Gun Appropriations Riders. All pro-gun appropriations riders, most on the Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill, were adopted even though three of them were not included in the President’s Budget. The Wicker amendment (allowing Amtrak passengers to include an unloaded firearm in checked luggage) was included in the Transportation-HUD appropriations bill. A provision reversing the proposed federal regulation designating all “assisted or one-handed opening” folding knives was included in the Homeland Security appropriations bill. New protection for ammunition components and spent brass was included in the Defense appropriations bill.

DeFazio-Dent Amendment. Congress approved this amendment, which improved the armed commercial airline pilots program.

Price Amendment The House Financial Services Committee voted 38-31, including 13 Democrats, to protect the 2A rights of residents of public housing. Previously, the lawful possession or use of firearms in federally assisted housing had been prohibited.

Omnibus Public Land Bill. Congress inserted a “sportsmen protection” provision in this massive bill to protect hunting, fishing trapping and recreational shooting.

Anti-Gun Efforts Go Nowhere. Lawmakers spiked several, anti-gun provisions from various bills, including a call for Senate ratification of the anti-gun CIFTA (Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials) Treaty.

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Editorial; Front Page News; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 2009review; banglist; bho44; bhobanglist; democrats; nra; obama; rkba; shallnotbeinfringed
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The rats woke up to the fact that the Second Amendment is a winner, but they went crazy with the rest of their agenda.
1 posted on 01/10/2010 6:11:53 PM PST by neverdem
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To: neverdem

Please donate to the Brown Campaign(R) Mass. No donation too small, I donated today. Monday is a planned Money Bomb day. Send shock waves through the RAT party. Link to contribute in my signature line. I donated today. Election on 1/19/2010. Donate to Free Republic too, while you are at it.

2 posted on 01/10/2010 6:20:18 PM PST by MtnClimber (Contribute to Scott Brown for US Senate in Mass.
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To: neverdem


3 posted on 01/10/2010 6:22:45 PM PST by Jet Jaguar
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To: neverdem

....forget about 9-11...the future of Muslim mass murder is Ft Hood...we can’t depend on the government to stop every lone wolf assassin...we will have to defend ourselves...take a gun safety class and get your concealed carry permit!...don’t put it and your family’s life may depend on it.

4 posted on 01/10/2010 6:23:59 PM PST by STONEWALLS
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To: neverdem
"The rats woke up to the fact that the Second Amendment is a winner, but they went crazy with the rest of their agenda."

No they haven't. If they thought they could get away with it, they'd pass anti-gun laws in a "New York second". The victories Schneider touts are the result of damned hard work on the part of gun owners, not any "enlightenment" on the part of Democrats. The new crop of supposed "Blue Dog" Democrats adopted pro-gun camouflage to get elected---but watch how they vote if given the opportunity.

5 posted on 01/10/2010 6:26:29 PM PST by Wonder Warthog
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To: neverdem
More on “ObamaCare.

The NRA, not just the GOA as I indicated, worked on the ObamaCare issue. The NRA worked with Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to draft the pro-gun amendment inserted into the Senate bill by Senator Reid. It’s very unlikely the House will try to remove this pro-gun amendment, given the politics of the gun issue.

It appears the goa has yet to do a single thing on their own. Maybe it's time the members start demanding something for their dues. Lawsuits such as the ones the NRA and the SAF have filed?

6 posted on 01/10/2010 6:29:26 PM PST by Shooter 2.5 (NRA /Patron - TSRA- IDPA)
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To: neverdem
The NRA shepherded this historic case through the court system,

This is incorrect. The NRA did everything they could to sabotage the Heller case and only came to the table when they realized that the plaintiffs weren't buying the NRA's 'go along to get along' bullsh**.

7 posted on 01/10/2010 6:30:05 PM PST by Lurker (The avalanche has begun. The pebbles no longer have a vote.)
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To: Lurker

The NRA tried to stop Parker which at the time, we would have lost. It wasn’t until it changed to Heller and the nomination of Alito and Roberts did the NRA come on board.

8 posted on 01/10/2010 6:59:33 PM PST by Shooter 2.5 (NRA /Patron - TSRA- IDPA)
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To: Shooter 2.5
The NRA tried to stop Parker which at the time, we would have lost

Prove that assertion if you please.

9 posted on 01/10/2010 7:37:12 PM PST by Lurker (The avalanche has begun. The pebbles no longer have a vote.)
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To: Wonder Warthog
The new crop of supposed "Blue Dog" Democrats adopted pro-gun camouflage to get elected---but watch how they vote if given the opportunity.

I've been watching. It's been very rare that they cross the NRA. I don't recall any in the House except the committed gun grabbers. In the Senate, there's Gillibrand and shaky Pryor.

Other Democrats, such as Pennsylvania's Bob Casey and Colorado's Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, were said to have been willing to vote "no" if necessary.

10 posted on 01/10/2010 7:48:52 PM PST by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: neverdem

Well duh. They are playing us republicans like a fiddle. As long as they let us keep our guns, they’ve figured out they can get away with anything.

By they time they’re done, we’ll be poor starving serfs with guns. Outdated guns I might add.

Meanwhile, the government will have atomic powered lasers, masers, and rasers...mounted on fully autonomous miniature flying robots that can ID you from a thousand yards away through concrete walls.

The government wont care about our pathetic bolt action rifles and ten round capacity handguns.

11 posted on 01/10/2010 8:03:30 PM PST by mamelukesabre (Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum (If you want peace prepare for war))
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To: Lurker; Shooter 2.5
Roberts went to SCOTUS in 2005 and Alito in 2006. The NRA submitted an amicus brief for the 2007 decision in Parker. Here's Alan Gura's side of the story, excerpted.

Overview: Parker v. District of Columbia, et al.

In February, 2003, we filed our complaint against the District of Columbia and then-Mayor Anthony Williams in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The complaint challenges the constitutionality, under the Second Amendment, of the District’s prohibition on the home possession of functional firearms and handguns, and the requirement of an unavailable license to move firearms within a house.

Two days later, the Mayor’s spokesperson, and the Deputy Mayor for Justice and Public Safety, gave a front-page newspaper interview proclaiming the city’s zealous opposition to our lawsuit, and vowed that the laws would be enforced to the hilt against our clients. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss our case, claiming the Second Amendment secures only a “collective right.” We followed shortly with a motion for summary judgment.

Despite the various proclamations by city officials, the city abandoned its defense against our lawsuit, claiming that the case somehow “slipped through the cracks.” The defendants failed to oppose our motion for summary judgment, and failed to reply to our opposition to their motion to dismiss. Our case stood ready for resolution by the court within two months of its filing.

Before the court could rule in our case, the National Rifle Association sponsored a copycat lawsuit, entitled Seegars v. Ashcroft (subsequently Gonzales), and immediately sought to have their lawsuit joined with ours. The NRA had tried to dissuade the filing of Parker. Having failed in that effort, they lobbied unsuccessfully to alter our litigation strategy. Seegars was designed to raise issues we had rejected in our case, in an attempt to have the courts avoid interpretation of the Second Amendment. Seegars counsel was an attorney who had been involved in the early stages of our case, but who was not retained to proceed with us further.

It was not a coincidence that the NRA had failed to defend the Second Amendment rights of Washington, D.C. residents in court for over twenty-five years, but suddenly sponsored a copycat action immediately upon our having filed suit. We successfully defeated the NRA’s attempt to use Seegars as a vehicle to muscle in on our litigation. The District Court agreed with us that the behavior of Seegars' counsel raised substantial ethical and attorney-client issues that would delay and complicate the litigation. Each case proceeded independently, on separate tracks before separate judges.

The NRA’s tactics in Seegars triggered the defendants in that case to raise substantial standing issues which were not raised by the defendants in our case, or their amici. Consequently, at oral argument in Parker, in October, 2003, the court asked the parties to submit additional briefing on the question of standing. However, during the course of the argument, the defendants’ attorney vowed that our clients would be prosecuted if they were to break the law.

In January, 2004, the District Court ruled that all but one of the Seegars plaintiffs lacked standing to bring their action. With regard to the one plaintiff that had standing, the court proceeded to adopt the so-called “collective rights” theory of the Second Amendment.

Two months later, the District Court in Parker rejected without comment all claims that our clients lacked standing to bring their action. The District Court further commended us for “extol[ing] many thought-provoking and historically interesting arguments,” but adopted the so-called “collective rights” theory and ruled against our clients.

Both cases were appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Because the Seegars case was decided earlier, the D.C. Court of Appeals held the Parker appeal in abeyance pending its resolution of Seegars. In February 2005, the appellate court held that all Seegars plaintiffs lacked standing because they could not demonstrate any specific likelihood that they would be prosecuted for violating the gun laws. The District Court’s substantive holding in Seegars, adopting the “collective right” theory of the Second Amendment, was vacated.

Given the lengthy record of specific threats against our clients, we filed a motion to have the appellate court hear our case notwithstanding the outcome in Seegars. The city and its mayor requested summary affirmance. Both motions were held in abeyance, as the appellate court considered whether to re-hear Seegars.

In June 2005, the appellate court declined to re-hear the Seegars matter and ordered the parties in Parker to again brief the question of how the case should proceed.

In November 2005, the appellate court denied the defendants' motions to dismiss our appeal or summarily affirm the judgment, and granted our motions to set the case for argument on the merits. Following extensive briefing, the D.C. Circuit heard oral argument on December 7, 2006.

On March 9, 2007, the appellate court reversed the lower court's opinion, and struck down all three laws challenged by the plaintiffs as violations of the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. The city and its new Mayor, Adrian Fenty, have asked the Supreme Court to hear the case. We look forward to vindicating the Second Amendment rights of all Americans before the Supreme Court should it decide to hear the case.

12 posted on 01/10/2010 8:29:08 PM PST by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: Shooter 2.5
It appears the goa has yet to do a single thing on their own. Maybe it's time the members start demanding something for their dues...

Oh I forgot its ‘ole 2.5, the GOA hating NRA member…

Here is a thread where you spewed your typical, and not very enlightened, rant without listening to a word someone else says… Typical 2.5 whining rant about the GOA.

and here you are in another thread and using your typical whining rant with me… 2.5 gets the real facts and then gets caught in a couple of, well let’s say factual distortions.

...and after getting your butt severely kicked to the curb, you then resorted to distortions, twisting everyone’s words and then out right lying about your actions in attempting to defend your weak bias.

Many people have answered your stupid questions MANY times; you just refuse to see it. Point is if you can’t have an honest debate fighting a common enemy, then do everyone else a favor… stay on the sidelines and argue with yourself, don’t try to distort the focus of this fight.

Every 2A group, no matter what you may think of them should be WELCOMED to the struggle we are facing, many former NRA members, myself included, who definitely have no love for the NRA leadership have been going back into the group because the stakes are so high, don’t let your petty bias cloud the big picture.

AOV sends with warmest regards.

13 posted on 01/11/2010 2:59:45 AM PST by AvOrdVet ("Put the wagons in a circle for all the good it'll do")
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To: harpseal; TexasCowboy; nunya bidness; AAABEST; Travis McGee; Squantos; Shooter 2.5; wku man; SLB; ..
Click the Gadsden flag for pro-gun resources!
14 posted on 01/11/2010 4:50:48 AM PST by Joe Brower (Sheep have three speeds: "graze", "stampede" and "cower".)
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To: All
Please keep in mind the organization born right here on FreeRepublic: Second Amendment Sisters.

While we will never be the mighty NRA--or even the GOA (although most of us belong to those organizations), we are introducing women to shooting, and in many cases, taking away their fear of guns.

By the time they have finished one of our "Ladies Learn to Shoot" days, we've pretty well gotten them hooked on shooting.

We do give them some background in the politics of the 2A--and give them a bit of history in the left wing/right wing approach to our right to keep and bear arms, along with very serious, intensive safety lessons.

We try to keep everything as inexpensive as possible for our classes--going around and asking for donations of ammo--ear and eye protection, and the loan of lots of guns for the ladies to try out. We even are often able to get a gun range to donate us a few hours to hold one of our classes.

Our aim is to get them excited about shooting, and the politics will follow in most cases. If we can just make them aware of the struggle we have to maintain our rights, we have a new convert to the cause. Of course, one of the joys of doing what we do is seeing women learn to take responsibility for their own self-defense. Many of these women who first shoot a gun at one of classes go on to take shooting and self defense very seriously, and become quite proficient shooters.

If anyone here would like to join us and help in our fight to save the Second Amendment, we welcome you. We need all the volunteers we can get!

15 posted on 01/11/2010 8:15:43 AM PST by basil (It's time to rid the country of "Gun Free Zones" aka "Killing Fields")
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To: neverdem

All well and good here on this issue BUT NEVER, EVER let your guard down.

Complacency has destroyed us more often than not on this issue. Read, the late Reagan and Bush years.

We are just one tragedy away from draconian laws on this issue.

16 posted on 01/11/2010 10:29:09 AM PST by headstamp 2
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To: AvOrdVet

And it’s old copy and paste AvOrdVet who still can’t relate a single thing the goa has ever done in it’s history.

Name a single thing the goa has every done in it’s history on their own.

17 posted on 01/11/2010 2:25:14 PM PST by Shooter 2.5 (NRA /Patron - TSRA- IDPA)
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To: basil

SAS has the prettiest, sexiest pro gun women in the world as their founders and members.

Basil, I’m baaaack.

18 posted on 01/12/2010 1:54:34 AM PST by Badray
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To: Badray

Welcome back! It’s always nice to have such discerning men on board-—LOL!

19 posted on 01/12/2010 6:42:45 AM PST by basil (It's time to rid the country of "Gun Free Zones" aka "Killing Fields")
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To: basil

Thanks Sweetie.

20 posted on 01/12/2010 12:53:33 PM PST by Badray
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