First, there was a post in The Trace referring to a sealed case involving the NRA and its longtime advertising firm Ackerman McQueen. It turns out all we knew is that the NRA has subpoenaed Tony Makris’ wife Elicia Warner Loughlin. She went to US District Court in South Carolina to quash the subpoena as being “burdensome”. It should be noted at this time that the NRA has settled with Ackerman McQueen for $12 million. Further, Makris’ Under Wild Skies won a judgement for $500,000 +/- in Virginia state courts against the NRA.
Next, the blog NRA In Danger reported on another move to squash a subpoena issued by the NRA. This time it was Makris who went to US District Court in Virginia to squash it. That subpoena had been issued to his CPA firm of Fitzwater and Dean. On August 18th, Magistrate Judge John Anderson ruled in favor of quashing the subpoena. He said it was overbroad, would impose an undue burden, not timely, and that the information could be obtained elsewhere. He also refused to transfer the case to the US District Court in Texas. Judge Anderson did allow the discovery order to remain sealed pending orders from the court in Texas.
Thanks to Judge A. Joe Fish of the US District Court for Northern Texas unsealing the majority of the case on August 25th, we finally have an answer.
The NRA sued Ackerman McQueen and the Mercury Group for breach of contract on September 1, 2022. The complaint which was filed under seal alleges Ack Mac and the Mercury Group violated the terms of the Confidential Settlement Agreement (CSA) because Makris and Under Wild Skies was suing the NRA in Virginia state court. They contend that UWS was an affiliate company and that suit violated the $12 million settlement which was “a broad, mutual general release of all claims (the “Release”) among the parties and their affiliates and/or related companies.”
The complaint goes on to argue that since Tony Makris was a senior executive of Ack Mac and President of Mercury Group, he and Under Wild Skies were precluded from suing the NRA in state court as they were “intertwined” and thus bound by the CSA. AckMac and the Mercury Group are included this suit because they failed to “cooperate in the dismissal of the UWS litigation.” The NRA does acknowledge later in the complaint that UWS is an entity that is solely owned by Tony Makris and is a Virginia corporation.
What is ironic here is the claim by the NRA (or should I say Brewer, Attorneys and Counselors) that they only sued AckMac, the Mercury Group, and Under Wild Skies initially so that they could do their due diligence and comply with concerns of New York regulators.
The NRA is asking for damages in excess of $75,000, attorneys’ fees in both this and the UWS cases, and reimbursement with interest of the damages awarded by the Virginia court.
In response to the NRA’s allegations, AckMac and the Mercury Group acknowledge the CSA, the litigation in Virginia by UWS, and that Tony Makris is an officer of both AckMac and Mercury. There is stops. They say that Under Wild Skies is not an affiliate or related entity of either company. They deny UWS was bound by the CSA. They also say the lawsuit is moot because the Virginia court found UWS was not bound by the CSA and that a jury awarded UWS $550,000 in damages. It is also contended that this lawsuit is “collaterally estopped” due to the rulings of the Virginia court which disposed of the NRA’s argument that the CSA included Under Wild Skies. Given that, this argument cannot be raised again.
Later filings added Tony Makris personally as a defendant in the case. His brief for summary judgement filed in May 2023 argues that he was never a named party to the CSA. Further, that he individually was not a party to the litigation in Virginia between Under Wild Skies and the NRA. It was the corporation that sued the NRA and not Makris personally. He also argues that he was a beneficiary of the CSA and cannot be sued as it granted release from any liability, damages, etc “from the beginning of the world until the date of this release.” Included in that release were all “Ackerman parties” which included any past, present, or future officer, director, shareholder, principal, etc. of Ackerman McQueen and Mercury Group. The NRA explicitly has said that Makris was an officer and executive and thus he personally would be covered by the CSA.
I don’t know how this case will be resolved. However, given there are 171 entries in the docket, attorneys have come and gone from Brewer, Attorneys and Counselors, and there is a lot of back and forth on what can be introduced as evidence or what can be sealed, I think the real winners in this case will be the attorneys.
For the life of me, I cannot see what financial benefit will accrue to the NRA given the legal bills involved in trying to claw back the $550,000 paid to Under Wild Skies and perhaps some of the $12 million in the CSA with AckMac and Mercury Group. I don’t know if the Special Litigation Committee was involved in approving this lawsuit or if the Board was even informed. Regardless, this lawsuit seems more akin to the lawsuit that cost $8 million in legal fees so the NRA could avoid paying Chris Cox the $2 million in severance due him. They lost that case by the way. It just seems a frivolous waste of members’ dues that could have gone to more important things. You know like actually defending the Second Amendment against the predations of the Biden Administration.
This is alarming, quite alarming. [H/T Collin Rugg] In a recent J6 case it has been revealed that Liberty Safe Co. gave the FBI background access codes to the safe and vault owned by the investigative target of the FBI, Nathan Hughes.
As the story is told, the FBI (federal govt) contacted the safe manufacturer and asked for a secret code that would open the safe. The FBI had a search warrant for the premises. Liberty Safe Co. gave the FBI the access code that would allow them to open the safe, without relying on (or asking) the owner to open it.
This is alarming on a few levels. First, why does Liberty even hold an override code for their safes. Second, why didn’t Liberty just tell the FBI they do not own the safe, therefore the issue of compliance is between the owner and the FBI?
Liberty Safe Co. responded:
This is a ridiculous position easily avoided by saying, “we don’t own the safe.” The bottom line is to avoid all the Liberty Safe products that allow them to access your private holdings, including gun safes and personal papers. If you own a Liberty Safe, just get rid of it. It’s compromised. Write it off to a lesson learned and forget about it.
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) used a Monday post on X to call for a buyback of AR-15s and firearms that Democrats refer to as “assault weapons.”
He also wants a ban in place to keep future AR-15s from being manufactured or sold.
The attacker that struck the Jacksonville Dollar General on Saturday was armed with a Glock handgun and an AR-15-style rifle. Therefore, banning the rifle would not have prevented the attack from occurring.
Moreover, on October 10, 2022, Breitbart News reported FBI data showing more than twice as many people were killed with knives and other cutting tools than were killed with rifles in 2021.
Additionally, on October 11, 2022, Breitbart News pointed to FBI data showing more people were beaten to death with fists and feet in 2021 than were killed with rifles.
It is important to understand that the rifle category includes rifles of every kind: lever action, pump action, single shot, semi-automatic, bolt action, and the rifles that Democrats refer to as “assault weapons.”
The latest figures from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) show there were more AR/AK-style firearms in circulation “than Ford F-Series trucks on the road” as of July 21, 2022. The NSSF estimate, published by Breitbart News, showed nearly 24.5 million such firearms were in circulation at the time.
AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio and a Turning Point USA Ambassador. He was a Visiting Fellow at the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal in 2010, a speaker at the 2023 Western Conservative Summit, and he holds a Ph.D. in Military History, with a focus on the Vietnam War (brown water navy), U.S. Navy since Inception, the Civil War, and Early Modern Europe. Follow him on Instagram: @awr_hawkins. You can sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
———————————————————————————- Just remember that this is the same guy who was boffing a RED CHINESE SPY FORVER!
Contact with suspected Chinese spy
In December 2020, Swalwell was named in an Axios story about suspected Chinese spy Fang Fang or Christine Fang, who had since at least 2012 been cultivating contacts with California politicians who the Chinese government believed had promising futures in politics. Axios reported that Fang participated in fundraising for Swalwell’s 2014 congressional election bid, met Swalwell at events, and helped place an intern inside his congressional office.
Swalwell ended ties with Fang in 2015 after U.S. intelligence briefed him and top members of Congress on concerns that Chinese agents were attempting to infiltrate Congress. Axios reported that Swalwell was not accused of any impropriety and that officials did not believe that Fang obtained classified information from her contacts. Also in December 2020, the San Francisco Chronicle quoted an unnamed FBI official familiar with the investigation as saying that “Swalwell was completely cooperative and under no suspicion of wrongdoing”.
In March 2021, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy moved to remove Swalwell from his seat on the House Intelligence Committee, which was tabled 218–200–3 on a party-line vote. Swalwell suggested that someone in the Trump administration may have leaked the information to the press, as he had been a vocal critic of Trump and served on two committees involved in Trump’s impeachment.
The December 2020 Axios story said Fang had had sexual relations with two unidentified Midwestern mayors, but not with Swalwell, though allegations persisted he was a national security threat by being associated with Fang. Since the report, Swalwell has received death and rape threats against him and his family. After McCarthy became Speaker in January 2023, he announced he would remove Swalwell from the Intelligence committee, saying, “If you got the briefing I got from the FBI, you wouldn’t have Swalwell on any committee.” Swalwell characterized McCarthy’s action as “purely vengeance”. Intelligence Committee members are term-limited and Swalwell’s membership expired in January 2023.
Where the Answers are Made Up and the Second Amendment Doesn’t Matter
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, we have a problem. The President is on the loose again, uttering nonsense about the Second Amendment.
President Joe Biden spoke to a collection of political donors as he’s gearing up his 2024 re-election campaign and used his gun control grindstone to churn out well-worn and discredited Second Amendment tropes. The problem is – it’s all malarky. No kidding, man.
President Joe Biden might just be the lying dog-face pony soldier he accuses others of being.
F-16s and AR-15s
The president belittled Americans who agree that the Second Amendment exists to prevent a tyrannical government from usurping power from the people.
“You know, I love these guys who say the Second Amendment is — you know, the tree of liberty is water with the blood of patriots. Well, if [you] want to do that, you want to work against the government, you need an F-16. You need something else than just an AR-15,” said President Biden, according to Fox News.
Aside from the veiled threat to use actual weapons of war against the American people, President Biden’s swipe at Americans who value their rights was intended to target the lawful ownership of Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs). There are over 24.4 million MSRs in circulation today. They’re the most popular-selling centerfire rifle in America.
Second Amendment Second Thoughts
“We have to change,” President Biden said. “There’s a lot of things we can change because the American people, by and large, agree you don’t need a weapon of war. I’m a Second Amendment guy. I taught it for four years, six years in law school. And guess what? It doesn’t say that you can own any weapon you want. It says there are certain weapons that you just can’t own. Even when it was passed, you couldn’t own a cannon. You can’t own a machine gun.… No, I’m serious.”
First, he’s overselling his authority as a law professor. President Biden briefly served as Benjamin Franklin Presidential Professor of the Practice at the University of Pennsylvania for two years between his terms as vice president and his campaign for The White House, according to a fact check by the Austin American-Statesman. He was paid $900,000, and his duties “involved no regular classes and around a dozen public appearances on campus, mostly in big, ticketed events,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
His description as a “Second Amendment guy” might come as a surprise to other “Second Amendment guys.” That doesn’t normally include ideas like universal background checks that would require a national firearm owner registry, restrictions that would ban entire classes of firearms, repealing the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) to allow frivolous lawsuits against firearm manufacturers for the criminal misuse of lawfully sold firearms by remote third parties or – as the president points out here – a clear ignorance of the National Firearms Act.
Fox News reported correctly, that the Second Amendment makes no mention of firearm restrictions. Gun control laws at the federal level didn’t start until 1934, when the National Firearms Act was signed by President Franklin Roosevelt. That’s 143 years later.
Americans can legally own machine guns, although it is extremely restricted. No automatic firearm produced after May 1986 is available for commercial sale, but those produced before then can be – and are – legally owned. Owners have to pay a $200 tax stamp and register them with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
When it comes to cannons, well, President Biden blasted that one too. It was legal to own a cannon when the Second Amendment was ratified in 1791. It’s still legal to own one today.
President Biden made the same erroneous claim in April 2022 and in June of 2021, when The Washington Post fact checked him on that one. He earned “Four Pinocchios,” writing, “Biden has already been fact-checked on this claim — and it’s been deemed false. We have no idea where he conjured up this notion about a ban on cannon ownership in the early days of the Republic, but he needs to stop making this claim.”
None of this is new. President Biden, who claims to own two shotguns, is hardly the Second Amendment expert he presents himself to be. He once told his wife she should “fire two blasts” of a shotgun blindly into the air if she felt threatened. That’s terrible and dangerous legal advice. Among the four fundamental firearm safety rules is to know your target and what is beyond.
This advice was actually invoked in a court case, where the accused, Jeffrey Barton, was charged with aggravated assault. Prosecutors ended up dropping those charges and instead charged him with police obstruction, of which he was convicted.
President Biden once argued to ban 9 mm Glocks, claiming in an interview with Charlie Rose that he could kill more people with a .38-caliber revolver. He also oddly told police they should shoot “unarmed” attacking criminals wielding knives “in the leg.” Police ripped that suggestion. Fox News reported the Fraternal Order of Police said it was “completely ridiculous,” “unrealistic” and a “pandering talking point.”
President Biden didn’t stop there. He believes that 9 mm handguns are especially dangerous.
“A 9 mm bullet blows the lung out of the body,” President Biden said. “The idea of a high caliber weapon, there is simply no rational basis for it in terms of self-protection, hunting.”
The president’s 9 mm claim was debunked as “bullsh*t,” by a federal agent with 15 years of service. Another with 20 years said, “Not possible.” A 21-year veteran of the U.S. Marshal fugitive recovery task force told Breitbart that President Biden’s claim is, “… not even in the realm of possibility.”
That’s the problem with President Biden. He’s living in a fantasy world of utter nonsense.
About The National Shooting Sports Foundation
NSSF is the trade association for the firearm industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of thousands of manufacturers, distributors, firearm retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations, and publishers nationwide. For more information, visit nssf.org