Project Gestapo: putting gun owners in jail in record numbers

by Dudley Brown, Executive Director

Project Gestapo is a private/public partnership designed to do one thing: prosecute ANY firearms violations at the highest level possible and with the most resources at the prosecutor's disposal.

Gestapo Billboard in DenverWe have dubbed Project Exile with a more accurate moniker: Project Gestapo (credit goes to KHNC's witty talk show host and great American Mark Call).

NOTE: Project Exile has now changed it's name to "Project Safe Neighborhoods".

Some gun owners have bought into the Project Gestapo trap, banging the "don't pass new laws, just enforce those we have now." Much of Project Exile is an attitude about gun laws -- that violating these laws cannot be tolerated in any form. But banging that gong is dangerous, since it empowers bureaucrats to launch a witch hunt for gun owners.

To many gun owners (undoubtedly including some of the readers of this diatribe) Project Gestapo is an appeasement to the gun control monster. This attitude -- I don't have that kind of weapon, so I don't care if they make it illegal" is widely prevalent in America's shooting culture, and may even be held by a majority of competitive shooters, who care so deeply about their sport that they are willing to throw a bone to the gun ban crowd in order to protect their specific, cherished method of shooting. Winston Churchill said "An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last."

Why call it Project Gestapo? Simple: its program encourages citizens to stick their nose into their neighbors business and rat on them for "illegal firearms." The secret police of the Nazi regime used these kinds of tactics not only to corner those in disfavor with the state but also to inflame a populace against a particular group in their society.

Where does Project Gestapo get its money? It has numerous sources, including leftist foundations and corporations, but it's most prominent donors will surprise many.

The most alarming sources of Project Gestapo's funding are the NRA and Sarah Brady's gun-grabbing organization. In February of 2000 the NRA's Wayne LaPierre joined James Brady and a bevy of lawmakers (including Tom Tancredo, Bill Ritter and Tom Strickland) at a Denver news conference to unveil the launching of Project Gestapo in Colorado. They showed TV advertisements, billboards and other tools used to get citizens to turn in their neighbors for "illegal guns."

Gestapo Billboard in Colorado

Why would the NRA fund this kind of project? The NRA is terribly sensitive to the media and the perception of politicians. They desperately want to avoid being branded as the radicals on the issue, and so they dabble in projects that bolster their image with these two groups.  LEAA, which is the NRA's shill organization for law enforcement officers, is just one example, while Project Gestapo may be the most damaging example.

Colorado's Attorney General, John Suthers, publicly supports the program (when he as the U.S. Attorney).  You can read about that here.

If you think you are insulated from this type of case because you don't touch illegal guns, think again. Project Gestapo wants hides hung on the barn, and care little if they only prosecute paperwork violations. That retractable stock you may own, for instance, could be used on a rifle that isn't allowed to have one, making you a target for prosecution. One prominent Denver attorney estimates that Denver's federal bench is using 70% of its time to prosecute "gun crimes." As a gun owner, expect to be vilified.



Now that Project Exile has changed it's name to Project Safe Neighborhoods, we're starting to see advertising by the new name.

Traveling the country, and visiting cop shops in even small towns, is a Project Safe Neighborhoods van.  This vehicle is adorned with graphics of a handgun that is locked (making it useless when a burglar breaks into your home), and plastered with advertising for the National Shooting Sports Foundation , an organization which cloaks itself in pro-freedom language but in fact has supported gun control routinely.  This is yet another example.

For more information about Project Gestapo, click here.

RMGO will work tirelessly to strip the funding for Project Gestapo and others like it, but we need your help.

If you aren't a member of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, you can join by clicking here.

You can also make a simple, anonymous donation from that location.

If you have digital pictures of Project Exile billboards, bus benches, or any kind of ad, you can e-mail them to us by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


What Tuesday’s Election Results Mean to Colorado Gun Owners

Before we become too ecstatic over widespread Republican election victories, it is worth a quick analysis of Tuesday’s election – with a wary eye cast at both parties.

Colorado Legislature

Contrary to some “gun groups” reporting that Republicans taking control of the Colorado Senate means we have a pro-gun majority, the Senate hasn’t moved sharply to the right.  While Sen. President-elect John Andrews is an incredible improvement over Sen. Stan Matsunaka, Andrews still has a number of squishy GOP senators in his 18 member caucus.  That means that one GOP defector changes the dynamics of any vote (since there are a total of 35 state senators), and empowers the left.  A Democrat Senator today remarked in the Rocky Mountain News that Dem senators would be working hand-in-hand with GOP “moderates” (we call them liberals) to pass reasonable legislation (read: gun control).  Also consider that with a Republican House and Senate, and Governor Gun Control, the legislature is likely to pass a concealed carry bill that all three like.  That means a concealed carry bill that weakens the current law.  More about that later.

The Senate actually lost one conservative when Marilyn Musgrave ran for Congress and her seat was redistricted into another senate seat.  The Senate’s conservative caucus consists of Bruce Cairns (R – Aurora), Doug Lamborn (R – Colo. Springs), John Andrews (R – Centennial), Mark Hillman (R – Burlington), and Jim Dyer (R – Littleton).

The state House saw Republicans lose one seat, splitting the legislature 37-28.  New faces Greg Brophy (R – Wray), Tom Wiens (R – Sedalia) and Michael May (R – Parker) are likely candidates to join the existing solid conservative caucus of Ted Harvey (R – Highlands Ranch), Mark Cloer (R – Colo. Springs), Dave Schultheis (R – Colo. Springs), Pam Rhodes (R – Thornton), Bill Crane (R – Arvada), Don Lee (R – Littleton) and Lauri Clapp (R – Englewood).  Though the jury is still out, these new faces are also candidates to join the House’s real pro-gun group: Ray Rose (R – Montrose), Kevin Lundberg (R – Loveland) and Bob McCluskey (R – Fort Collins).  The loss of longtime stalwart Rep. Mark Paschall (R – Arvada), who was term-limited, will force younger conservatives to step up to the plate and do the dirty work Paschall had been counted upon for.

Colorado Congressional Delegation

Though Republicans enjoyed a major shift in power in Congress, the real story in Colorado is the election of St. Sen. Marilyn Musgrave to Colorado’s 4th Congressional District.  Musgrave set the standard in the legislature for conservative votes, leading conservatives during her stints in both the State House and State Senate.

Bob Beauprez, now considered the victor in the 7th Congressional District, is a mixed bag.  Beauprez signed the SAFE gun control ballot initiative in 2000 (the Boulder Daily Camera has a nice interview with him where he proudly supports this insidious gun control scheme), and more importantly, discouraged solid pro-gun candidates from running for office when he served as GOP State Party chairman.  While he clearly will vote better than Mike Feeley, Beauprez will be a questionable vote on virtually every gun issue – including the reauthorization of the assault weapons ban, which will take place in the next 2 years.  Gun owners in the 7th district should be very cautious of Beauprez.


Why wouldn’t gun owners be excited about passing ANY concealed carry bill, you might ask?  First, understand that virtually every sheriff now issues permits.  With the election of new sheriffs in Jefferson, Adams, Douglas and Arapahoe Counties, even more sheriffs will be issuing permits.  The problem remains Denver – which is the only major county in Colorado that refuses to issue permits.  So, the question remains: should we pass a bill that weakens current law (current law only requires fingerprints and a background check – no mandatory training, no needs requirement, etc, but individual sheriffs place their own requirements on issuing) just so that Denver residents can get a permit?

Our opinion is that any ccw law must be an improvement over existing law – which means the current rights of citizens should not be infringed.

Newly re-elected Gov. Bill Owens, Sen. Ken Chlouber, and the NRA are already banging the gong to pass a bill that has expensive and cumbersome government-mandated training requirements as well as a centralized database of gun owners and criminal safezones (specifically K-12 schools, which is a bald-faced sell-out to the teachers union).  All three of these items weaken current law.

In Congress, there are concerns with having a GOP controlled executive and legislative branch as well.  Much of the “Homeland Defense” legislation, which tramples on the rights of citizens, can be expected to pass easily.  We’ll have to remain hyper vigilant with this issue, as well as the issue that will define our movement for decades to come: the reauthorization of the Feinstein Assault Weapons ban, which must take place by Sept. 2004 or be sunsetted.

In both the State Legislature and Congress, gun owners should remember that our founding fathers created checks and balances – termed “gridlock” now – to deny those who would destroy the fabric of our freedoms.  Put simply, gridlock is our friend.

Ballistic Fingerprinting: A New Tool for Gun Opponents

by Larry Pratt
Executive Director, Gun Owners of America

A killer is on the loose in the Washington area, and once again, gun haters are using the Beltway shootings as an excuse for more gun control.

Ballistic fingerprinting will hardly ever solve a crime, but it will accomplish something else -- a gun registry tied to the owners of the guns.

The latest weapon in the gun haters' arsenal is the registration of firearms. Specifically, they want to register the unique "ballistic fingerprint" that each firearm leaves on a bullet or cartridge case after it is fired, and trace it back to the original buyer of the gun.

Ballistic fingerprinting will not work for a number of reasons. Probably foremost is that crooks do not use valid identification to buy guns in stores. That means the evidence chain will rarely connect back to the crook.

Second, the signature changes with successive firings of the gun. The changes are most pronounced when the gun is new. Moreover, it is not difficult to intentionally disfigure the lands and grooves in the barrel to change the signature.

Third, barrels and firing pins can be replaced, creating a new signature that does not exist in anybody's database.

Gun owners oppose registration because governments have a habit of changing the rules at some future date and using the database of gun owners to demand surrender of the newly banned guns. This is what happened in New York City.

For 25 years, all rifles and shotguns were registered. The city's politicians insisted that crime fighting, not confiscation, was the goal. Then the law was changed, and many of the previously legal guns were on the prohibited list. Those that were not surrendered were confiscated during raids on owners' homes using registration lists.

Opposition to registration is hardly the paranoia that gun control supporters want people to believe. Often these same gun control advocates are (rightly) suspicious of the government when Fourth Amendment rights, rather than Second Amendment rights, are involved.

Many supporters of gun control (rightly) opposed the Patriot Act and Attorney General John Ashcroft's inability to limit his actions within constitutional boundaries. They do not call themselves paranoid when opposing the Patriot Act, which authorizes massive invasions of personal privacy. However, they call gun owners paranoid for opposing registration.

Some proponents of keeping a registry of bullet signatures insist that this is not gun control, just a crime tool. If you study the debates over every piece of gun control legislation in the past, you will find the same argument being made.

Gun control has always been advanced as just crime control. But gun control costs lives, it does not save them.


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