By David Codrea
USA – -(Ammoland.com)- “Stephen Stamboulieh has fought behind enemy lines, in bad states like New Jersey, and won!” the New Jersey Second Amendment Society declared in its endorsement of the attorney and gun owner rights advocate for the National Rifle Association Board of Directors. “When other lawyers failed Stephen stepped up and challenged New Jersey’s draconian laws and has won every single legal battle he filed on behalf of the NJ2AS.”
I’m also endorsing Stamboulieh, with the disclosure that we have been colleagues and, though our communications have been limited to emails and telephone calls, I consider him a trusted advisor and friend. Even so, that’s not enough to earn my endorsement. It’s also been my longstanding policy that any director candidate who receives my vote first needs to give unequivocal answers to questions that leave no wiggle room for weasel-wording your way out. After all, even Dianne Feinstein has claimed to be “a supporter of the Second Amendment BUT…”
Stamboulieh has met the challenge. My questions and his answers follow:
Do you believe that the Constitution is the “supreme law of the land” and that the Bill of Rights acknowledges the birthrights of all Americans?
If so, should these rights be proactively protected from infringement by all levels of government, including city, county and state?
Please give some examples of gun laws you consider constitutional.
I'll have to think about this. I believe “shall not be infringed” is fairly clear.
Please give some examples of gun laws you consider unconstitutional.
Hughes, NFA in all its various forms, gun control act, any assault weapon ban or magazine ban.
Does the right to bear arms include the right for any peaceable citizen to carry them concealed without a permit, as in Vermont?
Do you believe that Americans have a right to own, use and carry weapons of military pattern?
Do you support or oppose Project Exile, and do you agree with current NRA management’s call to “enforce existing gun laws”?
Existing laws should be enforced equally across the board until they are repealed.
Do you support or oppose licensing requirements to own or carry firearms? Why?
I do not support licensing. A license is a privilege, not a right.
What specific gun laws will you work to get repealed?
Hughes. NFA. Suppressor deregulation/registration; I will also work to fix the abomination that is NICS for people that are completely denied their firearms rights through the non-existent NICS appeals process. I have litigated three of these cases already and have worked on federal legislation with a congressman who will soon introduce a bill with some of my language.
If elected to the NRA Board, will you back your words of support for firearms rights up with consistent actions? How?
Yes. My past is a predictor of my future firearms support. I've litigated numerous cases involving the 2A.
Do you agree with the way NRA assigns political ratings? If not, what would you change and why? Who would you have given a different rating to, what would it been and why?
I think Reid deserves an “F.” Not because he isn't pro-gun, but because he is a terrible person. The rating system could change for those that are “A”-rated, but then vote to confirm anti-gun judges. That should change.
Do you disagree with any policies being promulgated by NRA management? What is your biggest area of dissent? Have you offered superior alternatives and worked with others to implement them?
I'm sure we will have disagreements. I believe the NFA and Hughes are patently unconstitutional, and I would spend more time focusing on that area. Also, NJ, CA, and NY need additional help. Some of the old school policies that don't work need to be refocused.
Have you ever publicly spoken out against an NRA position because you thought it was wrong? When, where, and what were the results?
The “violent video games” thing after the school shooting I think really missed the point. I don't believe I spoke out about it, because it just completely missed the mark. I did call them out when I was litigating my machinegun cases in the 3rd and 5th circuits. If you recall, when Hughes was passed in 1986, the NRA said they would challenge it and then there was silence. The Second Amendment protects machineguns. Plain and simple.
What reforms do you think are needed at NRA and why?
We need board members to show up to meetings. We need less celebrities and more people that live and breathe the Second. We need to push the NRA further to suppressors, machineguns, short barrel rifles and shotguns. NFA essentially.
If elected, how will you inform members of your performance and voting record? Will you let us know when you dissent and why?
I will. I will give interviews to whoever asks for one.
Do you agree with Executive VP Wayne LaPierre, who stated: “[W]e believe in absolutely gun-free, zero-tolerance, totally safe schools. That means no guns in America's schools, period … with the rare exception of law enforcement officers or trained security personnel”? If not, what do you plan to do about it?
No. We passed enhanced carry in Mississippi back in 2011 and we can carry in schools with a proper permit. My right to self-defense doesn't end when I'm dropping my kids off at school.
Do you agree that politicians should be held accountable in their NRA grades for immigration actions that undermine the Second Amendment? If “No,” and if falling back on the “single issue” excuse, provide credible and testable evidence – not anecdotes and not just opinions — to show that will not happen.
Short answer- if it in any way affects the 2A, then it should be a graded vote. It will make it more complicated, but will give a more accurate picture of the candidate.
Do you support or oppose the Bylaws amendments? Explain.
It should be easier to replace board members. I ran by petition. Luckily, I am a fairly known quantity in that my litigation is known. I'm sure the “intentions” are good, but as the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Readers now have more information on specifically where Stamboulieh stands on a multitude of concerns than on any of the Nominating Committee candidates. So how can those who like what they see go about voting for him?
As outlined in my last column, the latest issue of the member magazine from the National Rifle Association contains the ballot, which must be received back by April 9. Voting members are those identified in the Bylaws as those with five or more years of consecutive membership and/or those with Life or higher-level memberships. And as Jeff Knox explained in his column on “bullet voting,” your vote has more strength the fewer candidates you vote for.
At this writing, only one candidate has my vote and my endorsement: Stephen Stamboulieh. I just hope that doesn’t hurt his chances.
Also see: AmmoLand “Stamboulieh” archive
About David Codrea:
David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating / defending the RKBA and a long-time gun rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament.
In addition to being a field editor/columnist at GUNS Magazine and associate editor for Oath Keepers, he blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.