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Carl, you’re such a compromiser!

And here all this time everybody thought Carl Bussjaeger was a principled radical. But here he is, suggesting a compromise on gun rights!

Except … well, it’s a compromise that makes a lot of sense.


And a gentle suggestion for concerned JPFO members

If you’re a JPFO member and you really, really object to the SAF merger you might start independently exploring your options. Emails have been good. Petition signatures, too. But so far there’s no sign any of that is going to prevent the travesty.

Smart people are trying. But ruthless people with lawyers on the payroll have a habit of winning. In other words, don’t think a handful of overtaxed volunteers with too little time, aided by determined letter writers, can stop this. It may take much more.

Have the board members fulfilled their contractural duties? Do you want your recent donations refunded? Have any “ts” gone uncrossed and “is” gone undotted? Would you like to get a look at JPFO’s “paperwork” for yourself?

Entirely up to you, but the more eyes and brains on these things, the better. And ultimately individual donors and dues-paying members have the power.

(H/T CB & CS)


  1. Laird
    Laird August 26, 2014 8:05 pm

    Well, I see that you’ve already done what I tried to do — search the Wisconsin corporate records to see if JPFO is current and in good standing (it appears that it is; it’s also on record with the IRS as a 501c3 public charity). Unfortunately you can’t get the annual report on-line; you have to order a copy from the state (for a fee). And I can’t find their articles of incorporation or bylaws on-line, either.

    The logical thing to do would be to try to get your hands on a copy of the bylaws to determine whether the Board’s actions were properly taken (and, for that matter whether the Board members have been properly elected). Does the Board have the power to enter into a binding merger agreement without approval by the membership? I can’t tell. JPFO is a non-stock corporation, but I can’t tell if it has “members” or not (Wisconsin law permits both types.) The JPFO website solicits what it calls “memberships”, but I don’t know if those constitute “memberships” for corporate legal purposes. If it is a membership corporation it is required to hold annual meetings of the members (mostly to elect the directors); do you know if any have been held? Also, if it’s a membership corporation the members are required to vote on any merger (by 2/3rds majority unless the bylaws specify otherwise; see Wisc. Code 181.1103). But if it’s not a membership corporation then not only does the Board elect its own membership but it also has the power to approve mergers.

    The key is to get your hands on the bylaws to see what the members’ rights are (if any). Do you have access to them? If the Board isn’t following the bylaws and/or applicable law it may be possible to get an injunction against the merger, or even have it invalidated after the fact. You’d need to have local (Wisconsin) counsel for any of that.

  2. Laird
    Laird August 26, 2014 8:16 pm

    Oh, and Carl’s “compromise” is brilliant. Unfortunately, I doubt that those other groups would agree to it, because it carves back their areas of responsibility. Most of the people who run organizations of any sort (including these) are seeking to expand their authority, not diminish it. It’s an ego thing, and egos are not to be trifled with. Too bad.

  3. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty August 27, 2014 6:47 am

    Carl’s plan is about as close to perfect as I can imagine. And yes, Laird, it’s not going to happen because the people in control of these organizations – as it stands now – have no intention of giving up an iota of that power and always lust for more. That’s the same dynamic as any political organization, including any sort of government, of course.

    Yes, the organizations do some good work. There are plenty of problems to go around. But maybe it is past time for individuals to take on more of the work that we’ve been asking the organizations to do… as individuals and small voluntary groups. Maybe bigness and national attention are more of a hazard than a help. Maybe we need both.

    In any case, we need to do more than write checks (or letters to congresgaitors) and hope those others will take care of things…

  4. Paul Bonneau
    Paul Bonneau August 27, 2014 8:29 am

    It’s called the bureaucratic imperative. Carl is right, but it’s not going to happen.

    Fortunately it doesn’t matter, as gun control is dead. While it remains the wet dream of politicians everywhere, the peons are abandoning it in ever-increasing numbers. Look at gun sales, including lots of new “liberals with guns”. Noncompliance is rampant, as well it should be.

  5. Dana
    Dana August 27, 2014 12:21 pm

    I think there are strong parallels between the current turmoil at Market Basket and JPFO. (For readers outside of New England, Market Basket is a regional supermarket chain.)

    Both battles essentially amount to “The Board of Directors (BOD)” vs. “Everyone Else on the Planet.”

    As far as I can tell, it looks like “Everyone Else on the Planet” (MB edition) isn’t doing so badly, particularly given full page newspaper ads taken out by customers and the truckdriver fund.

    So back to JPFO. If it’s going to “take much more” (Claire’s words) to fix this, then perhaps the MB battle (twitter updates here) can serve as a case study of what that can look like.

  6. Bear
    Bear August 27, 2014 1:10 pm

    Dana, I’d say there are some parallels between the MB fiasco and the SAF/JPFO situation, but there are major differences, too.

    MB family members/shareholders ousted Artie T (for those not watching, there are two Demoulases named “Arthur Demoulas” (Artie T, ousted CEO whom “everyone else on the planet” wants back; and Artie S, now in co-power) because they wanted to make more money and thought Artie T’s 4% customer discount and decent pay for employees was horrible (that’s the official line).

    Naturally, to fix things the Artie S faction brought in Gooch, the man who helped drive the final stake into the nearly-dead Radio Shack. (Could have been worse; they could have hired Carly Fiorina, another ex-CEO infamous in the area for destroying a company.)

    Reportedly/rumor has it that Artie S has purely by coincidence invested heavily in a competing grocery chain which happens to be attempting to buy out MB. The fact that MB’s sales are now down some 98% only makes MB more affordable for that competitor. But that’s coincidence. There couldn’t possibly be any other reason for the board to be refusing Artie T’s $1.5 Billion offer. (Supposedly they’re “considering” his offer, but they keep cancelling scheduled negotiations.)

    To equate MB to SAF/JPFO, JPFO would have to be a large, well-financed operation in which Gottlieb was paying off at least one director to underhandedly gain control. I don’t like Gottlieb, but that is most definitely NOT what’s happening.

    The clash of personalities, though… Oh, yeah.

    (Disclosure: I used to be a MB customer. It was well run, with good employees. I was reasonably comfortable in there despite my agoraphobia. I support the employees who want Artie T back.)

  7. Claire
    Claire August 27, 2014 1:20 pm

    Thank you, Dana and Bear. I’ve been hearing about the Market Basket standoff from afar & think it’s an amazing and wonderful thing that people are taking such a stand!

  8. Felinenation
    Felinenation August 27, 2014 2:01 pm

    If JPFO was, when Aaron Zelman was alive, essentially a one-person operation, then it would not be surprising if the Articles of Incorporation and bylaws were carefully crafted to preclude the possibility of members taking over control of the organization. Yes, that can be legal, depending on state law. If that’s the case, then the chances of the grassroots preventing the merger are slim.

    And I can understand why Aaron would have done that. I have been in the non-profit realm myself, and sadly, treachery and ignorance abound there. What if there were a membership move to merge with SAF? Give the members control, and they could have kicked Aaron out.

    I have seen too much BS in the non-profit world. People who donate 10 bucks and think they own you, or are entitled to speak on behalf of the organization. People who join when the issue is “hot and sexy,” then when it isn’t anymore (but the threat/need is still there), want you to drop what you are doing and work on their pet project.

    So I wouldn’t be surprised if Aaron had been careful to keep JPFO under his control. Which, after his death, may be used against what he worked to build.

  9. Roberta X
    Roberta X September 1, 2014 9:40 am

    I like Carl’s proposal, but he missed on additional function of the NRA: serving as a “lightning rod.” People who hate civil gun ownership LOATHE the NRA with a white-hot passion, whereas they wouldn’t know SAF, GOA or JFPO if they walked up and bit ’em. I suspect the fact that they take 90% of the incoming fire *and* have the largest membership by far leads to the NRA’s assumption of leadership, even on issues where other groups do most of the work. Uncle Wayne makes a dandy lightning rod, despite a growing tendency to end up with his feet in his mouth.

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