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Does Violence Policy Center Represent the People?

 

Violence Policy Center (VPC) considers itself to be an influential player in

promoting gun control policies which will ostensibly make the public safer:

Each year, the VPC releases hard-hitting, fact-based studies on a full range

of gun violence issues. Recognizing the VPC’s groundbreaking research

and unique expertise, VPC staff are frequently quoted by the national

news media and relied upon by policymakers. The VPC also works with

national, state, and local advocacy organizations representing affected

constituencies—such as women, children, minorities, consumers, and

public health practitioners—to keep our neighborhoods, homes, schools,

and workplaces safe from gun violence.1

 

The question is: Does Violence Policy Center actually represent the public’s

views?

 

One way to determine if an organization has true public support is to see if they

garner a certain amount of membership dues. For example, if an organization’s total

annual revenues is $1 million and $750,000 of that came from membership dues, then

one can reasonably conclude that since dues represent 75% of revenue, the organization

represents part of the public. Further, if annual dues are $25, then the organization has

about 30,000 members. Such organizations exist to enable groups of like-minded

individuals of average wealth to pool their resources, in order to create greater influence

with policy makers; a democratic aspect of our First Amendment rights, which states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or

prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech,

or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to

petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

 

Philanthropic Research has a web site named GuideStar, which contains tax

returns for many non-profit organizations.2 A basic (free) member of GuideStar can

access the 2003-2005 tax returns of Violence Policy Center.3 Examining these tax forms

highlights some interesting trends.

 

In 2003, VPC reported $1,671,595 in total revenues. The seven top employees,

including Executive Director Josh Sugarman and Legislative Director Kristen Rand,

earned $654,514, or 39.2% of total revenue.

 

In 2004, VPC replaced two of its highest-paid employees with one lower-paid

employee. In 2003, Mathew Nosanchuk earned $129,218 in salary in benefits, and Joseph

Sudbay earned $94,102. In 2004, replacement Fiona Harris earned $53,290 in total

compensation. Nevertheless, the top five employees received 45.8% of total revenue,

because total revenue dropped 41.4% from the 2003 amount.

 

In 2005, revenue dropped again for a total decrease of 53.7% from 2003, so the

same top five employees received 59.6% of total revenues in salary and benefits. This

means that between 2003 and 2005 a handful of people saw their piece of the pie grow

52.1%.

 

In the beginning of this section, the concept of public support was in part defined

by evidence of membership dues being paid to an organization that claims to promote

beneficial public policies. Violence Policy Center’s tax returns included a section entitled

“Schedule A, Part IV-A: Support Schedule.” It includes a line item for membership fees.

For the years 2000 through 2004, the total membership fees received was $0.

 

Propaganda Arm for Elitist, Anti-Rights Money?

 

As revenues decreased, both Sugarman’s and Rand’s salaries increased 5.9% to

reflect the inflation index. But because revenues decreased, these two top earners––each

of whom earned $132,894 in salary and $3,987 in benefits––went from 15.5% of total

revenue in 2003 to 35.4% in 2005, more than doubling their slice of the pie. Having just

two employees taking home over one-third of total revenue may not be a long-term

success strategy for a normal business, but it works when normal profitability concerns

don’t exist. To understand the financial circumstances of VPC, one must understand their

definition of “public support,” which accounted for 85-90% of VPC’s total revenue. And

to understand VPC’s “public support,” one must understand the Joyce Foundation,

because VPC’s main “public donor” is the Joyce Foundation.

 

At the Joyce Foundation site, selecting “Gun Violence” on their “Grant List” page

displays a roster of Who’s Who in gun control: e.g. Violence Policy Center, Mayors Fund

to Advance New York City, Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence. Joyce

Foundation spent $6,650,865 on gun control research in 2005 and 2006.4 By comparison,

the entire gun rights industry contributed a total of $1,291,050 for the two-year 2006

election cycle.5

 

An examination of the Joyce Foundation’s 2005 financial statement shows no line

item for membership dues or individual contributions. Their income is derived from

investments: e.g. stocks, bonds, and real estate.6 The seed money for their grants came

from Beatrice Joyce Kean in the 1970s, when she left the Foundation over $100 million.7

In 2003, of the $1,507,016 in “public support” received by VPC, $500,000, or

33.2%, came from the Joyce Foundation. In 2004, VPC received another $500,000 from

the Joyce Foundation, but due to decreases from other sources of “public support,” the

Foundation’s share rose to 60.1%. In 2005, as revenues decreased again, the Joyce

Foundation chipped in another $450,000, increasing their share of VPC’s “public

support” to 68.1%. In just three years, the Joyce Foundation more than doubled its share

of VPC’s “public support” and nearly doubled its share of VPC’s total revenues from

29.9% in 2003 to 58.2% in 2005.

 

Conclusion

With an increasing share of financial support despite overall decreasing revenue,

it stands to reason that the Violence Policy Center is the public mouthpiece of the Joyce

Foundation’s agenda regarding your gun rights. It is also clear that their agenda

represents the wishes of a few well-paid VPC employees and the Joyce Foundation’s

board of directors. This is undemocratic.

 

 

About the Author

Howard Nemerov is a columnist for Texas State Rifle Association’s TSRA

Sportsman and “unofficial” investigative analyst for NRA News. He can be reached at

HNemerov [at sign] Netvista.net.

Endnotes

1 About the Violence Policy Center, copyright © 2006. http://www.vpc.org/aboutvpc.htm

2 GuideStar, Philanthropic Research, Inc. http://www.guidestar.org/

3 Internal Revenue Service Form 990: Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax.

2003: http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2003...1571442-1-9.pdf

2004: http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2004...2004-521571442-

01b82729-9.pdf

2005: http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2004...2004-521571442-

01b82729-9.pdf

4 Joyce Foundation, Grant List. http://www.joycefdn.org/GrantList/Default.aspx

5 Open Secrets, Gun Rights: Long-Term Contributions, The Center for Responsive

Politics. http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/indus.asp?Ind=Q13

6 Joyce Foundation, Financial Statements 2005.

http://www.joycefdn.org/pdf/JF_05AR_Financials.pdf

7 The Joyce Foundation, About Us. http://www.joycefdn.org/AboutUs/History.aspx

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I always wondered if people knew that the "evil gun lobby (NRA) working for the gun companies" is actually made up of thousands of people paying dues.

 

 

Not really. The NRA is made up of MILLIONS of Americans paying dues.

Sorry, I went to a public school. I was taught that when talking about gun owners to divide the number by 1,000. :thumbsup:

So does that mean we had more than "dozens" of people at the SAFR, because the news said otherwise!

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You can go to the ICHV website to read this (i refuse to hotlink these fools). :thumbsup:

 

ICHV Insights: Guest Column by Elliot Fineman

 

April 1st, 2009

 

My active involvement in gun control issues began on the morning of December 31, 2006. A policewoman came to the door and wanted to talk to me. My first reaction was that something had happened to my daughter, who lived in Evanston. But it was my son Michael. The policewoman told me my son had been murdered in a restaurant in San Diego the night before while dining with his wife.

 

It was, and still is, incomprehensible. My son was indestructible – a combat medic with the Special Forces who had been in secret missions in the most dangerous places in the world. He had survived everything But that evening a paranoid schizophrenic came into the restaurant with a gun he had legally obtained and shot my son four times in the head.

 

I know that nothing I’ll ever do can bring Michael back. But I have decided to dedicate my life to helping as many parents as possible from having to go through this devastating, life-altering experience.

 

David vs. Goliath

 

Trying to pass sensible gun control legislation is a David vs. Goliath battle.

 

The NRA has an annual budget of $200 million and employs 600 people. By contrast, the Brady Campaign has a budget of $7 million and employs 30 people. It’s a stunning mismatch.

 

As I researched the issue I discovered that the NRA is nothing more than a marketing group for the gun industry. They are remarkably good at what they do. They disguise their real purpose by focusing on Second Amendment rights, democracy, freedom, and rights of self-defense.

 

They promote the myth that sensible gun laws will deprive law-abiding citizens of their guns and that only criminals will have guns. But it is all a smoke screen.

 

Their real purpose is to help the gun industry sell more guns and ammunition.

 

This propaganda has allowed the 4 million NRA members and other gun rights advocates to stymie the passage of sensible gun laws for over 25 years — the very laws that would keep criminals from getting guns.

 

The Silent Majority

 

Surveys show there are over 100 million people in this country who support sensible gun laws — and that includes many gun owners. Yet the NRA with only 4 million members controls the legislative process. Why?

 

Because they are a highly organized fanatical group dedicated to an ideology that in reality fronts a highly sophisticated marketing scheme. They prevail over the silent majority largely because that group of 100 million people is made up of citizens for whom gun control is not their end-all and be-all.

 

Further the common perception of many in the silent majority is that gun violence is an inner-city and minority problem. That’s not true. In more than 2 out of 5 gun homicides the victims are white and, nine times out of ten, they have been murdered by a white person.

 

The Impact of Sensible Gun Laws

 

In England, which has the most sensible gun laws of any developed country and has a culture similar to ours (they hunt, they collect guns, marksmanship is a sport etc.) there are 75 gun homicides per year. Since our population is 5 times theirs (300 million vs. 60 million), we can see that if we had England’s sensible gun laws, we should expect 5 times as many gun homicides or 375 per year. But 12,000 people are murdered by guns every year in the US.

 

The difference between 375 gun homicides and 12,000 is caused by our not having sensible gun laws.

 

Why don’t we have sensible gun laws? I attribute this directly to the NRA and other pro-gun groups. It’s all about their commitment to marketing.

 

The reality is that law-abiding citizens do not help murderers get guns. But this is precisely what the NRA does – it helps murderers get guns.

 

They do this by blocking every proposed sensible gun law. For example, the requirement for a background check when a private handgun sale takes place was narrowly defeated in the Illinois legislature on Wednesday, March 25. This was a direct result of extensive lobbying by the NRA.

 

This means that criminals and murderers can continue to get all the guns they want without background checks. That is beyond absurd.

 

In point of fact, the NRA continually promotes, and in many cases cause the passage of, the most irrational gun laws. This is a critical component of their marketing strategy.

 

Brand NRA

 

The reality of pro-gun groups is that they are nothing more than a brand. Brand NRA is just like brand Maxwell House.

 

To market their brand these groups have sold a number of myths and untruths. For example, they spread the myth that sensible gun laws will take guns away from law-abiding citizens and that only criminals will have guns. That is not the English experience.

 

The NRA spreads the myth that you are safer if you have a gun in the house. However, facts show that if you have a gun in the house, the chance of someone being killed by a gun (suicide, accident, and murder) is twenty-two times greater than if there were no gun in the house. The NRA spreads false information in order to market their brand.

 

Another myth is that people have a right to self-defense and that by carrying concealed guns they will be safer. The reality, however, is that trained police carrying guns are not able to protect themselves when criminals surprise them by shooting first. Earlier this month, we saw the real-life consequences of this scenario when four police officers were shot and killed in Oakland, California.

 

Trained, fully armed secret service that protect the President and are constantly looking for any signs of danger could not stop President Reagan, one secret service member and Jim Brady from being shot by an untrained attacker, armed with a $47 pistol.

 

The notion that carrying a gun will protect you from a would-be attacker is a myth of colossal proportions.

 

By blocking sensible guns laws, Brand NRA keeps open the door that allows criminals to obtain guns. The solution they offer for people to protect themselves from armed criminals, is that they buy guns — and plenty of them.

 

Brand NRA’s answer to every high-profile shooting, like Virginia Tech or NIU, is that everyone should have been carrying guns. It’s like a contractor burning down your house and then offering to rebuild it. It is clever marketing but it is dishonest. It is manufactured, false advertising, built on blatant sleight of hand.

 

A Current Irrational Gun Law Being Promoted in Illinois by Brand NRA

 

In Illinois, Brand NRA is currently trying to pass a law that says law abiding citizens should be allowed to carry loaded concealed weapons wherever they go. How would you feel if you were at a movie theatre or at a supermarket and someone next to you had a loaded gun?

 

It should be noted that law-abiding citizens are only law-abiding until they lose their temper. How often do people with guns lose their temper? The statistics show that over half of all gun homicides are the result of people getting angry and losing control.

 

Imagine that happening at a crowded movie theatre, or at a supermarket and how many innocent people, including children would be killed. Now consider what the NRA wants: The NRA wants the gun industry to sell more guns and ammunition. When people buy weapons and then carry concealed weapons, they are acting in a way that is consistent with Brand NRA’s goals.

 

I have worked for many years in the field of strategic marketing, and it is very clear what the NRA is doing. The Brand NRA’s strategy is to prevent sensible gun laws from being passed – and to keep arguing that that everyone needs to be armed.

 

Why Does Brand NRA Fear Sensible Gun Laws?

 

To understand why, one only has to understand that the manufacture and sale of guns and ammunition is an incredibly profitable business. I have studied annual reports of gun manufacturers. I learned that their profit before taxes is typically 18%.

 

That means for every $1,000 they sell after they pay all expenses they are left with $180. Contrast that with a super market. They typically make 1% profit before tax. For very $1,000 they sell after they pay all expenses, they are left with $10. And don’t for a minute think that the NRA and their senior execs don’t get a piece of this action. No wonder they do what they do to promote Brand NRA. Follow the money.

 

Think of the irony: In terms of profit before taxes, the sellers of death (guns) make 18 times more than what the sellers of food make.

 

Studies indicate that at the end of 2007, there were 280 million guns in the U.S. for a population of 306 million people. In fact our citizens own more than a third of all the guns owned worldwide. Brand NRA has enabled legislation to be passed that exempts firearms—they are virtually the only consumer product exempt from health and safety standards despite their inherent lethality.

 

Thanks to the gun industry's mass production and mass marketing of firearms, approximately 4.5 million new guns are bought in the United States annually - more than half of the 8 million manufactured worldwide.

 

Unlike cars or toasters that wear out, guns do not wear out. Studies show that the average gun is only fired 24 times each year and can last over 400 years. Therefore to increase sales it is imperative that the NRA block sensible gun laws and keep coming up with new marketing campaigns. For example conceal and carry guns must be smaller than regular pistols and have special design features. Get 4 million people to buy them, and ammunition, and there is an astonishing increase in sales.

 

Motivating the 100 Million Silent Majority

 

What I have found to be the most effective way to motivate people that are part of the 100 million that want sensible gun laws, is to reveal how crazy the current gun laws are.

 

If a terrorist wants to fly from Chicago to Miami, he can’t get on the plane. But if that same terrorist goes to a gun show they can legally buy weaponry that can bring down planes as they take off or land. And if the transaction is not completed at the gun show, they can get it done in a private sale (without a background check) in the gun show’s parking lot.

 

If a gun dealer has violated federal law by selling guns to anyone (even those that eventually use those guns to commit murder) without doing the required Brady background checks, their punishment is not jail plus big fines and confiscation of their inventory. No, the punishment is that they lose their gun dealer license, keep their entire inventory and can sell it (and newly acquired inventory) in private sales.

 

These are just two of numerous examples of how crazy current gun laws are. When people start to understand this reality, I see visceral reactions from them; they are ready to support the passing of sensible gun laws by electing legislators, at both the state and federal level, who support sensible gun laws.

 

The Bottom Line

 

The bottom line is that we have to have better ways of getting out the message. Treating gun violence as a public health issue is clever, but look at what happened with seat belts as a public health issue. It took 25 years to get seat belt laws passed. If we have to wait 25 years to pass sensible gun laws, another 750,000 Americans will die from guns; 300,000 will be murdered, 425,000 will be suicides and 25,000 will lose their lives due to accidents.

 

And why will this happen? So that Brand NRA can sell more guns and ammunition. It is money over lives. It is callous indifference to lives and the suffering of those that have lost loved ones. Brand NRA is a hideous cancer and it must be cut out.

 

We need to show the world what Brand NRA really stands for. Brand NRA opposes registration, opposes police access to gun purchase information and does not want to allow background checks at gun shows or for private gun sales. What do all of these things have in common?

 

Answer: In all of these cases, Brand NRA-sponsored policies help criminals and murderers get guns.

 

The NRA is big on using the phrase “law-abiding citizens.” But law-abiding citizens do not help murderers get guns. We must move forward on this issue and push for sensible gun laws. We know what is at stake.

 

When we hear the phrase “law-abiding” citizens from the NRA, let’s get the message out. We are law-abiding citizens – law-abiding American citizens who demand sensible gun laws.

 

Elliot Fineman is a strategic marketing professional in Chicago who advocates on gun violence reduction strategies.

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I was not surprised to learn the author of that was Howard Nemerov. He's a former (reformed) gun control supporter. Thankfully, an intellectually honest one.

 

For the record, between 2003-2007, Joyce foundation donated $2,850,000 to the Violence Policy Center.

 

I just wish this information would go "really public."

 

Generally and for the most part, it is clear that the gun control movement in the United States is one being backed by a few, rich elites (call them social engineers, if you wish), while the gun rights movement in the US is being backed by millions and millions of average American citizens who care about their rights.

 

"We the People."

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I propose that we use the above VPC article as a handout at every opportunity. At IGOLD, SAFR, Town Hall meetings, and the county fair booths. Everywhere we can to show that it's not about "common-sense gun laws" or "saving one life" or even "the children." It's blood money flowing from the coffers of the Joyce Foundation and other wealthy liberals that are buying public policy at the cost of lives.
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  • 3 weeks later...

Just got this and admin can move it where it deserves

 

Guess our national leaders didn't expect this, hmm? On Thursday, Darrell Scott, the father of Rachel Scott, a victim of the Columbine High School shootings in Littleton , Colorado , was invited to address the House Judiciary Committee's subcommittee. What he said to our national leaders during this special session of Congress was painfully truthful.

 

 

 

They were not prepared for what he was to say, nor was it received well. It needs to be heard by every parent, every teacher, every politician, every sociologist, every psychologist, and every so-called expert! These courageous words spoken by Darrell Scott are powerful, penetrating, and deeply personal. There is no doubt that God sent this man as a voice crying in the wilderness. The following is a portion of the transcript:

 

"Since the dawn of creation there has been both good & evil in the hearts of men and women. We all contain the seeds of kindness or the seeds of violence. The death of my wonderful daughter, Rachel Joy Scott, and the deaths of that heroic teacher, and the other eleven children who died must not be in vain. Their blood cries out for answers.

 

"The first recorded act of violence was when Cain slew his brother Abel out in the field. The villain was not the club he used.. Neither was it the NCA, the National Club Association. The true killer was Cain, and the reason for the murder could only be found in Cain's heart.

 

"In the days that followed the Columbine tragedy, I was amazed at how quickly fingers began to be pointed at groups such as the NRA. I am not a member of the NRA. I am not a hunter. I do not even own a gun. I am not here to represent or defend the NRA - because I don't believe that they are responsible for my daughter's death. Therefore I do not believe that they need to be defended. If I believed they had anything to do with Rachel's murder I would be their strongest opponent.

 

I am here today to declare that Columbine was not just a tragedy -- it was a spiritual event that should be forcing us to look at where the real blame lies! Much of the blame lies here in this room. Much of the blame lies behind the pointing fingers of the accusers themselves. I wrote a poem just four nights ago that expresses my feelings best.. This was written way before I knew I would be speaking here today:

 

Your laws ignore our deepest needs,

Your words are empty air.

You've stripped away our heritage,

You've outlawed simple prayer.

Now gunshots fill our classrooms,

And precious children die.

You seek for answers everywhere,

And ask the question "Why?"

You regulate restrictive laws,

Through legislative creed.

And yet you fail to understand,

That God is what we need!

 

 

 

"Men and women are three-part beings. We all consist of body, mind, and spirit. When we refuse to acknowledge a third part of our make-up, we create a void that allows evil, prejudice, and hatred to rush in and wreak havoc. Spiritual presences were present within our educational

systems for most of our nation's history. Many of our major colleges began as theological seminaries. This is a historical fact. What has happened to us as a nation? We have refused to honor God, and in so doing, we open the doors to hatred and violence. And when something as terrible as Columbine's tragedy occurs -- politicians immediately look for a scapegoat such as the NRA... They immediately seek to pass more restrictive laws that contribute to erode away our personal and private liberties. We do not need more restrictive laws. Eric and Dylan would not have been stopped by metal detectors. No amount of gun laws can stop someone who spends months planning this type of massacre. The real villain lies within our own hearts.

 

"As my son Craig lay under that table in the school library and saw his two friends murdered before his very eyes, he did not hesitate to pray in school. I defy any law or politician to deny him that right! I challenge every young person in America , and around the world, to realize that on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School prayer was brought back to our schools. Do not let the many prayers offered by those students be in vain. Dare to move into the new millennium with a sacred disregard for legislation that violates your God-given right to communicate with Him. To those of you who would point your finger at the NRA -- I give to you a sincere challenge. Dare to examine your

own heart before casting the first stone!

 

My daughter's death will not be in vain! The young people of this country will not allow that to happen!"

 

Do what the media did not - - let the nation hear this man's speech.. Please send this out to everyone you can.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Smersh - that is one great analysis. Nothing I didn't know or expect but do you have a link to the original source?

 

Does Violence Policy Center represent the People? (Part 1)

April 30, 11:09 AM

 

http://www.examiner.com/x-2879-Austin-Gun-...e-People-Part-1

 

Does Violence Policy Center represent the People? (Part 2)

May 1, 2:17 PM

 

http://www.examiner.com/x-2879-Austin-Gun-...e-People-Part-2

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  • 1 month later...
I propose that we use the above VPC article as a handout at every opportunity. At IGOLD, SAFR, Town Hall meetings, and the county fair booths. Everywhere we can to show that it's not about "common-sense gun laws" or "saving one life" or even "the children." It's blood money flowing from the coffers of the Joyce Foundation and other wealthy liberals that are buying public policy at the cost of lives.

I was just wondering, since we were honored by the presence by Father Pflegar and friends at SAFR, did we have any copies of the above article to counter his poster claiming the NRA was just a corporate gun dealer?

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