Mr. Oliver North,
In April 2018 I became aware of the Red Flag laws. I found it in my research on the anti-2nd Amendment policies being proposed and promoted by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and various organizations across the nation. I was amazed that these “Extreme Risk Protection Orders” were able to destroy so many of the Rights and freedoms that are the cornerstone of our country. With these one set of laws, American citizens are denied their Second Amendment, Fourth Amendment, and Due Process. With so many liberties being shut down, learning the fact that 11 States have some form of the law was almost unbelievable.
I was greatly dismayed to find that another 7 States are in the process of adopting this Red Flag legislation. One of those States included my own, New York. That news almost escaped my notice, until I ran into the news that Gov. Cuomo was using the focus on the U.S.-North Korean Summit to advance the Red Flag, or ERPO, Bill A11148 in the NY State Assembly. I could not let that stand, and thus took to social media, a political commentary blog I have run for a decade, and a political podcast I created just a few years ago. I presented my research to news stations, news talk radio, elected officials, and peers in my local community. I also reached out to a number of Second Amendment and constitutional organizations. I quickly found that virtually none of them was aware of this legislation; or in the few cases that some were aware, how little was known about the scope and imminent nature of the legislation.
I mention this as I tripped across the news that the National Rifle Association, as of June 13, 2018 – after the NY Assembly had passed Bill A11148 – was opposed to the Red Flag laws. But almost at the same time I found articles leading to video, in March 2018, that the NRA was willing to support at least some version of Extreme Risk Protection Orders at a national level. This is both confusing and upsetting.
Thus I searched for where my local elected official stood on this matter. That revealed, for the first time, that in fact 5 ERPO Bills exist and are in various stages of the NY State legislative process. Again, this is information the news media had not conveyed to the public. Of those 5 Bills, 2 had passed the Assembly – A11148 and A08976.
When I looked at the names of the Assembly members that voted Yea, that voted to deny the public the 2nd Amendment, the 4th Amendment and Due Process, I was shocked to see several people that the NRA rated with A’s and B’s and rated their positions on firearm policy as 90 and 100%. An example is Anthony Brindisi, Assemblyman of the 119th District. And Donna Lupardo, of the 123rd Assembly District. And Clifford Crouch, a Republican for the 122nd District.
In fact, Assemblyman Brindisi, who is running for the NY-22 congressional seat, has publicly declined to answer if he will support gun restriction legislation in interviews and at town halls. He allowed, in 2015, a Bill to repeal the SAFE Act to die in the Assembly committee so it could never get to the floor for a vote. He has even been caught on video advocating for anti-2nd Amendment policy. And now there is his 2 votes supporting Extreme Risk Protection Orders.
How does anything I just described equate to a 100% NRA rating on firearms – that some less informed voters and the Brindisi campaign will use to try to get him elected. Imagine that he does get elected, do you have 100% confidence that the record just described will vote against firearm bans like HR 5087? That such a voting record would decline to enact ERPO’s on a national level? That such an elected official will support or destroy the 2nd Amendment as a growing number of Democrats are publicly advocating. Again, is this record 100% sure? Because that is what the NRA has said to voters.
I don’t need to go through the voting records of 11 NY Assembly members individually to make this same point. We can just look at the Red Flag Bills that passed the Assembly. These are the highest NRA rated members that voted FOR the freedom-killing, anti-2nd Amendment, ERPO: Dean Murray, Andrew Raia, Michael Montesano, Michael Miller, Aileen Gunther, William Magee, Gary Finch, Al Stirpe, and the 3 members already mentioned in this letter.
Mr. North, I would love for clarity on where exactly the NRA stands on the issue of Extreme Risk Protection Orders. But even moreso, given that we are in the middle of the petition season, and soon to be facing the 2018 election, voters deserve honest ratings from the NRA that reflect the words, actions, and votes of elected officials. Therefore I come to the point and reason for this Open Letter.
I request that each of the Assembly members that voted for ANY Red Flag legislation have their NRA rating eliminated. If that is not appropriate, somehow, then at the very least the rating should reflect the failure to be honest with constituents, and to uphold the most critical Rights detailed in the Constitution. In my mind again that brings me to a 0% ratting, an F, an honest reflection.
The only other thing that I could add to this, would be that the NRA makes it crystal clear that ANY Assembly member or State Senator that votes for a Red Flag law, will be immediately rated at the very worst rating possible and NO funding or support will be provided to their campaigns – directly or indirectly. I believe that virtually every member of the NRA, with the exception of elected officials, will appreciate this policy and its expeditious implementation.
I thank you for your time and attention.
Michael “Vass” Vasquez
President – M V Consulting, Inc.