I promised all y’all an update on the situation with Jews for Preservation of Firearms Ownership, now under the umbrella of the Second Amendment Foundation. The transfer required a three-person board of directors to be named. As of now, that board consists of Alan Gottlieb, Miko Tempski, and Ohad Lowy. Gottlieb is the founder of SAF, Tempski is general counsel for the same group, and Lowy is a practicing lawyer in the US who was born in Israel.
Two of the three are Jewish, and I for one think that’s important. The “J” had been missing from JPFO for a while. Until the takeover, there hadn’t been a Jewish hand at the tiller of JPFO since Charles Heller left his position as executive director a couple of years ago. The board that continued the mission in the interim was made up entirely of righteous Gentiles. (The capital R term Righteous Gentiles is reserved for those who worked to rescue Jews during the Holocaust. These three good men were born too late to do that. But they went to considerable personal expense and effort to keep the late JPFO founder Aaron Zelman’s brainchild alive and on course, and that sounds pretty damn righteous to me.)
I think the strongest moral imperative of JPFO grew from the lesson of the Holocaust, that gun registration led to gun confiscation and the creation of helpless victims of government-instituted genocide. A Second Amendment Sisters run by men, or a Pink Pistols run by straights, would simply lack credibility in its core message. It was important to re-solidify JPFO’s Jewish identity.
Non-Jews, of course, remain welcome. They have long constituted a majority of JPFO membership. Hell, I remember when Aaron Zelman and I used to joke about me being the token Arab member.
I’m happy to report that Rabbi Dovid Bendory remains with JPFO, and that the dynamic Charles Heller is back, as director of media relations for JPFO. Search is underway for a new executive director.
The announcement of JPFO coming under the SAF umbrella was met with enthusiastic applause from the hundreds of gun owners’ civil rights activists attending the Gun Rights Policy Conference in Chicago this past weekend. Ditto SAF’s tribute to Aaron Zelman. Some folks had called for mass resignation from JPFO, and SAF received a flurry of nasty-grams, but as of last week only ONE actual dues-paying member had resigned and requested a refund. (I’m told the dues refund was sent.) In fact, there has been a small spike in membership renewals and new member sign-ups.
Right now, the entire gun rights community is focused on the critical mid-term elections. SAF’s sister organization, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, headquartered in Washington State, is also working overtime to fight the egregious I-594 initiative there. There are also transferred records to be sorted out, and other such mundane administrative matters. For those reasons, I don’t expect the “new” JPFO ball to really get rolling until after the first of next year.
I’ve personally told the two new JPFO directors who were in attendance in Chicago that I’d like to see Zelman’s ground-breaking books on the desks of every Senator, Congressman, and legislative aide on Capitol Hill. The JPFO message needs to be more widely broadcast, and I have every reason to believe we’ll see exactly that in the coming year. SAF is well positioned to make it happen.