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If you’ve been reading these pages in the last few months, you’re probably aware that the lefty magazine Mother Jones has been on its own anti-gun jihad of late. Apparently supremely peeved by the lack of anti-RKBA progress — particularly on the national level — in the 18 months since Sandy Hook, the gloves have clearly come off. And, like most members of the Civilian Disarmament Industrial Complex, pro-gun public enemy number one is, was, and always will be the National Rifle Association and its 5 million members. As seen by Second Amendment foes, the NRA is the 800-pound gorilla of gun rights advocacy, the lobbying colossus that bestrides Capitol Hill striking righteous fear into the hearts of any who would presume to oppose them. Which means they must be struck down at any cost. And that explains MoJo’s article recounting NRA general counsel Robert Dowlut’s 1964 murder conviction . . .

In an article titled ‘The NRA’s Murder Mystery,’ author Dave Gilson provides a clear motive,

As the NRA’s top lawyer, he has been a key architect of the gun lobby’s campaign to define the legal interpretation of the Second Amendment. He helped oversee the NRA’s effort to strike down Chicago’s handgun ban in the 2010 Supreme Court case McDonald v. Chicago, and he is the longtime secretary of the organization’s Civil Rights Defense Fund, which has spent millions assisting gun owners in court and sponsoring gun rights researchers. Dowlut’s journal articles have been cited by federal judges and are quoted by pro-gun activists. Chris W. Cox, the executive director of the NRA’s lobbying operation, has praised him as “a longtime distinguished Second Amendment scholar.” Dowlut’s behind-the-scenes legal work may have done as much to tighten the NRA’s grip on gun policy as its blustery talking heads and provocative PR campaigns.

No, that’s not the motive for the shooting, though Gilson naturally provides that, too. Rather, the above passage describes, very succinctly, the reason for all the digging into the past – why Dowlut must be taken down.


MoJo details Dowlut’s 1963 arrest, including the conflicting stories about how he was treated during 20 hours of attorney-free questioning while in police custody and his subsequent trial and conviction for second degree murder. The story’s a little murky on the outcome of charges of assault and battery with intent to kill stemming from an attempt to rob a pawn shop in which the store owner was wounded earlier the same night of the murder.

Though sentenced to life in prison, Dowlut’s conviction was ultimately overturned by the Indiana Supreme Court based on violations of his right against self incrimination during questioning. That decision left the prosecution with virtually no case due to evidence tainted under what would ultimately come to be known as the exclusionary rule.

The piece spends even more time recounting Dowlut’s subsequent Second Amendment scholarship and the invaluable contributions he’s made to gun rights jurisprudence and the sea change his arguments helped to affect in getting courts to view the 2A as an individual right. Gilson’s glee in recounting some of Dowlut’s own arguments against the background of his history with the criminal justice system fairly drips from the page.

In his 1997 article in the Stanford Law & Policy Review, he wrote, “Historically the police have opposed any extension of constitutional rights to individuals under their control.” In his 1983 article, he cited the Supreme Court’s affirmation inMiranda of “the right to remain silent and have counsel present during a custodial interrogation.” He disapprovingly quoted Justice Byron White’s dissent, which predicted that the ruling “will return a killer, a rapist or other criminal to the streets.” 

If the facts of the article are true – and there’s no reason at this point to think otherwise – the relatively low-profile Dowlut’s 50-year-old conviction and eventual release on technical grounds will unquestionably be a black eye for the NRA. It will be an all-too-convenient cudgel for every anti-gunner to use against the gun rights org for the foreseeable future.

But the story is also further evidence of a concerted effort by Mother Jones, Rolling Stone and other opponents of gun rights to use whatever means necessary to damage those who have been most effective in furthering Second Amendment rights and securing American’s natural, civil, constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. They’ve declared all-out war. To others in prominent pro-RKBA positions — particularly those with skeletons in their closets, not matter how old — hang on. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

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  1. Still not sure what they are trying to say.
    If I read this article correctly, he was released for self incriminating himself with no other conclusive evidence? That would mean he is most likely innocent, and presumption of innocence is important.

    • Had he been a poor black man at the time of the crime, MJ would be condemning the legal system (and rightly so) for that sort of psychological beat-down interrogation.

      • But he was a poor white guy, and he’s old and ugly and successful now, so the police were perfectly right to have beaten a confession out of him.

        Boy, how I wish that were the way the law works, I could probably have had the entire editorial staff of Mother Jones sitting in the cooler on child rape and kiddy porn charges by the end of next month.

        Their “technicality” is my “Keystone of freedom, liberty and personal rights.” …whether he is actually guilty or not.

    • The article is saying that because of the way in which they collected the evidence that it could not be used against him. Lets not be infantile here. The evidence was apparently enough for a jury to convict but it was only obtained because of police impropriety. Evidence inadmissible in court for procedural reasons does not cease to be evidence in any logically meaningful way.

      • Nonsense. Evidence obtained through police impropriety is suspect, just as testimony obtained through torture. Eventually the victim of the impropriety will do almost anything and say almost anything to get the questioning to stop. Often, the suspect will sign a statement written by a police officer, or write down what is dictated to him by a police officer. And that is why it is inadmissible: it is not reliable evidence of anything.
        For example, in one of the convictions overturned by the Innocence Project, a mentally deficient young black male w questioned by the sheriff for hours without the benefit of counsel, and the young man eventually confessed. The Innocence Project demonstrated, through DNA evidence, that it was impossible for this man to have been the perpetrator, his supposed confession notwithstanding. This same scenario has played out thousands of times in the U.S., where once the police have identified a person they believe to be the perpetrator, they will ignore any and all contrary evidence to “get their man,” inevitably railroading suspects into false confessions and convictions. Police officers are well aware that where there are no eyewitnesses, or the eye witness identifications are soft (not an unusual circumstance), and there is no physical evidence connecting the suspect to the crime, often the only way to get a conviction is with a confession.
        Does this happen in most cases? No. But enough so that the Innocence Project has expanded its work from those on death row for crimes they did not commit, to persons serving life sentences, again for crimes the physical evidence that can be adduced today the convict did not commit.

    • What they are doing is called an “ad hominem” attack. An ad hominem (Latin for “to the man” or “to the person”), short for argumentum ad hominem, is a general category of fallacies in which a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the author of or the person presenting the claim or argument. [Wikipdeia]

      In other words, they can’t win the 2nd Amendment argument on the facts, so they attack the people on the other side with irrelevant nastiness.

      “Oh yeah? You’re just a poopyhead!” pretty well captures the substance of the MJ article.

  2. At this point they really have to go into full retard mode. With violent crime stats plummeting in the US before too long no one at all about gun control. They gambled, assuming that after the AWB elapsed that there would be rivers of blood in the streets. That didn’t happen, that isn’t about to happen, and their argument rings more and more hollow. That is why they have to go as full tilt against gun owners as they can now.

    • Ignorance is the biggest enemy.
      Idiots with an anti gun agenda get voted by people who don’t care about politics.

      • Along with agenda dripping media whores. The mainstream media truly is an evil machine, puking twisted lies while manipulating the brainless masses who continue to embrace them with misplaced faith.

    • So much of the energy behind the AWB was fueled by overt racism. Reports and images of CA gangs parading around with evil MAC 10’s and Tec 9’s paired with Tippers high profile war on rap music got all the privileged white suburbanites in a tizzy.

      The AWB was more about minorities with guns than simply guns themselves. Not an “assault weapons ban” but a “gangster weapons ban.”

      At the rate the anti’s position is devolving I expect them to start sticking scary photos of minorities with guns in their tweets and bloggings soon enough.

      • The AWB was more about minorities with guns than simply guns themselves. Not an “assault weapons ban” but a “gangster weapons ban.”

        All gun control for the past 150 years has been more about minorities with guns (particularly blacks) than simply guns themselves.

      • Even though I was very young and not remotely interested in politics I remember the Clinton campaign. I remember the push for young voters and how the dems ran away with the young vote. I remember thinking “didn’t the wife of the running mate of this Clinton guy try to have the music these young voters love so much banned or censored?” It never made sense to me.

    • Defamation requires the publication of a false fact. Since the story is apparently true, there has been no defamation as a matter of law. Truth is a complete defense to defamation.

    • Smells like Bloomberg money at work. He said he would take down the NRA, and this is too much detailed and specialized historical digging for a “journalist” to do (most cut and paste anymore).

  3. So…. The cops (whom the left love like no other) screwed up the investigation, the guy went on to become an attorney, and as a result, NRA=evil. Got it. At this point the NRA could hold a bake sale benefitting the Little Sisters of the Poor, while finding homes for orphaned puppies and kittens, and still the left would cry about the evilnessosity of this mysterious shadow organization. Nothing to see here, move along.

    • If the NRA did do a little non gun community outreach it would be a very minor financial expense and give them some ammo against their detractors. Just sayin.

      • they would say the same thing they did about colin noir that he was a phony contracted by the NRA to look hip to black audiences. (when colin had been recording videos years before he was seen by the NRA)

      • No.

        I donate money to the NRA so that they will use whatever clout they have to oppose anti gun legislation, not win popularity contests. (I know, I know, they spend that money on lots of other things too, like Wayne’s salary.)
        There is no possible about of money the NRA could spend that would buy them any good press in the mainstream media.

        Second Amendment supporters will always be hated by those libs, just turn off your TV and deal with it.

  4. Mother Jones herself went to the WV coal fields to help the miners unionize by force bit of a change since then. Perhaps they should go back to their namesakes roots who was not a commie. Just believed in a decent wage and against big businesses & the loss of individuals rights. Not anything close to the communist rag of today.

  5. So… Mother Jones hates not only the Second Amendment, but the Fifth as well. I wonder how they feel about the rest of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution in general.

    • It is completely unimportant, our laws should be based on something really brilliant, like their editorial page.

  6. Really? I’m disappointed they didnt work in the Koch bros 50 years ago along with plans to impeach the first black president.

    Do they have anything from this century? Have they covered any of the illegal mayors demanding action from Moms? Like Leeland Yee? Never heard of him, sure.

  7. At that time period, the process of questioning a minority youth by law enforcement could have been very, very bad. And yeah, back then “Polish” was a minority. So there’s just no telling after all these years what really happened other than “the cops certainly screwed up” – did they make other screwups, up to and including fabricating the confession, planting a gun, other?

  8. Ironic. My law school crim law prof wrote extensively about the right to remain silent which became the basis for Miranda. Tells me the NRA has the right guy.

    • It still makes me cringe to see/hear it called “Miranda Right”. Considering who it is named after.
      I use 5th Amendment as a mental protest.
      Don’t get me wrong, I am a staunch supporter of our rights, it’s just who it’s namesake is, and likely did.

      • “It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer” — Blackstone., 1760’s.

        I understand what you’re saying, Tom, and agree with the sentiment. But I also think Blackstone had it right.

        “The system,” a prior, has no way of knowing for certain who is innocent and who is guilty; ideally, it won’t make assumptions or take shortcuts. Like beating witnesses, say, or questioning after sleep deprivation without counsel present. The one good thing you can say about getting something like the Miranda warning named after a slimeball (known or presumed), is that it will be a not-so-subtle reminder to every (good) peace officer to do things the right way if at all possible.

  9. Was it the same Robert Dowlut? Don’t put it beyond Mother Jones to try smearing one person with another person’s bad acts.

  10. Even if he was a cold blooded murderer it doesn’t make the legal arguments he’s made any less true or accurate.

  11. Mother Jones should do an expose on Former Mayor Mike Bloomberg and all his Constitutionally questionable acts. (only a few listed here)

    1. Hiring David Cohen, formerly of the CIA, to create a domestic spying network using the NYPD. Presumably targetting Muslims, but it is highly likely that surveillance was directed an any “persons of interest”
    2.Bloomberg gave himself powers to order the NYPD to shoot planes down.
    3. Bloomberg stop and frisk policy for the NYPD.
    4.Bloomberg policy on homeless people, including giving them one way tickets as long as they leave NYC..
    5. Bloomberg’s bizzare soda ban.
    6. Bloomberg’s NYPD shootings. Bloomberg defended the officers, saying they acted “more than appropriately.” when “Nine bystanders were reportedly injured by bullets and bullet fragments. ” by NYPD to stop Jeffrey Johnson, who had killed his former employer, Johnson was shot 10 times.

  12. Wut? Im not sure what the point is here. Im sure all 12 people that read MJ will find it interesting anyway.

  13. What is the point? There are dozens of innocent black men railroaded by Chicago cops. Some even executed. And who reads Mother Jones? I for one applaud Mr. Dowlut.

  14. He is General Counsel. Their assertions are like someone criticizing you because the independent contractor you hired to work on your house had legal trouble 1/2 a century in his past. If this guy is like any other person I met with the title of.General Counsel, I am sure there will be a lengthy and expensive lawsuit even if only for spite.

    • I mean, sure, if he was rightfully convicted there might be concerns. But according to the article he was interrogated before seeing his lawyer and convicted on that alone, with no other evidence. It is extremely easy to convict yourself by stumbling on words and the general stress that being arrested and interrogated brings, one of the reasons the Miranda decision was made.

  15. So if there was someone who agreed with the opinions of scum like the writers at that garbage website (I wouldn’t denigrate the word magazine by calling it that) a person who had their rights violated and then were subsequently freed because of that would be a hero. However, if they don’t agree then they are a villain.

    And gun owners are supposed to be the close-minded animals in this country?

  16. Were he a poor minority, the story would be about how he won his freedom from a corrupt police state. That this caused further constitutional protections for the people and how the poor victim went on to be a successful lawyer.

    • He is a minority, don’t know about poor though. Speaking of, let’s stop calling drug dealers poor. A poor young black kid who brags about a $3000 weekly tax free income is not poor.

      • Drugs are a pyramid scheme. The guys on the street are not making even minimum wage.

        Google it. I can’t be bothered.

  17. When I read this kind of BS, my firs thought is always “time to make another contribution to the NRA !”

  18. When all those fine “folks” criticize someone for being pro 2a. All I can think is how about we require journalists to take a drug test before they are allowed to write this drivel. Any bets on how many would fail?

  19. Mr. Dowlut is undoubtedly a 2A rights hero, but if you read the facts of his case it really looks like he was an incredibly violent young man. Prior to the murder conviction he had juvenile convictions for armed robbery, car theft and a hit and run. He was the epitome of the violent young offender every single one of us would love to see locked up. The murder he committed could have been a:”It should have been a DGU story here at TTAG. The police illegally interrogated him and as a result of that coercion he led the police to the murder weapon buried in a cemetery. The jury convicted him b/c he knew exactly where the well hidden murder weapon was, not b/c of a false confession, his confession was ruled inadmissible in the original trial. He was not convicted b/c the police framed him, but b/c he almost certainly killed a woman or at the very least was an accessory to the crime. His conviction was overturned via a fruit (hidden gun) from the poisoned vine (illegal interrogation) argument upon appeal, so technically he is innocent.

    Mr. Dowlut hasn’t committed any further crimes over the last 50 years and has worked tirelessly promoting our 2A rights, but damn this article certainly dimmed his reputation in my eyes.

    • Mr. Dowlut hasn’t been convicted of committing any further crimes over the last 50 years…


    • I hear you, but I have to interject that the police knew full well what they were doing was illegal during his torture, what makes you think he told them where the murder weapon was? Once they have proven they were deliberately violating the law in order to convict him, seems to me a sensible person might suspect the police (now an outlaw organization with zero fear of prosecution) knew where the weapon was and falsified the records to make it appear he led them to it, when actually they dragged him there.

      After that there is no way to prove his innocence or guilt, time to leave him be and prosecute the team that tortured him, put them in prison for a few years, and there will be no further violations of Miranda, EVER. Instead, we still have violations today, 50 years later.

  20. And yet I’m still going to write a check to the NRA. Listening to mojo, Rolling Stone, and other flip-flop opinion suppliers (in lieu of actual news) just makes me want to write more checks to the NRA.

    • Here’s a link for a discount on your membership. got it with my last Ruger
      Everyone should join. This story is going to go viral, facts be damned. You’ll see it on CNN, MSNBC, etc. As if NRA wasn’t a target before, the lib media will jump on this like no other

  21. Join join join!!! Got this discount with my last Ruger.
    Everyone needs to. These stories are nothing more than an attempt to undermine all of us since lib beliefs have little support and no legal standing.

  22. Let’s talk about Bill Ayers, you know, Bathhouse Barry’s longtime friend and mentor, the ghostwriter of his book. You know, the terrorist? The guy who bombed government buildings and talked about killing 25 million people after the revolution. Oh, you don’t want to talk about him? Weird.

    • And Ayer’s fellow bomber, climate change activist Jeff Jones, who helped write the failed 2009 stimulus bill.

      • Yup. Kudos to you for bringing that name up in the context.

        The Weathermen Underground never really gave up their “struggle” for a left-wing revolution. They just realized that they weren’t going to get there with their tactics from the 60’s.

  23. The antis must be really desperate and running out of mud to sling to resort to idiocy like this.

    Ron White is correct. You can’t fix stupid. LOL!

  24. Mother Jones has a smaller circulation than Guns Save Life’s monthly journal GunNews.

    No big deal.

    Moonbats are gonna moonbat.


  25. so they dug up a old story. so old that i wonder if anyone from that time period is still around or with the NRA today. funny how they had to go that far back to find a scandal.

  26. It’s good to know that at least a few violent young men can be completely reformed. I would think that Mother Jones would be happy about that fact, but no–it’s just about partisan politics with them.

  27. The play here is transparent. The Left has no sense of personal honor whatsoever. But they are not above using the Right’s sense of personal honor against it. It’s not tu quoque to point this out, and it should be pointed out often. (Naming names like Bill Ayers may be tu quoque, but I didn’t say I was above tu quoque, did I?)

    Others in this thread have pointed this out better than I have, but the other framing for this story is “High-Spirited Youth Protected from Police Abuse; Goes on to Influence Most Important Supreme Court Protection of Civil Rights in the 21st Century”.


  28. First off, lets wait and see if Mr. Dowlut puts out any response to this. Second, how do we not know MJ effed up and this was a case involving a totally different Robert Dowlut. I think we should wait until after the hungry sharks have cleared the chum from the waters to make any conclusions.

  29. I tried to look at a few Mother Jones articles regarding the gun debate. I found it extremely toxic, and just full of arguments from one extreme point of view, and of no value whatsoever to anyone.

    But I for one do not want to be a hypocrite. If we accuse MJ of making ad hominem attacks on the NRA then I’d like to be careful about making ad hominem attacks on MJ if they present information indicating someone is concealing a secret. No matter how I disagree with their obtuse writers, if they did indeed uncover information that reveals Robert Dowlut’s dark past, then I want to know about it. And I’d like to know what Mr. Dowlut has to say about this. And depending on that, I’ll probably want nothing to do with him.

    Integrity, honesty, and accountability means more to me. I’d be disappointed in anyone who wants to defend someone who may indeed be a murderer just because of the other things they agree on. A murderer is still a murderer. I want to know the truth. Did Dowlut kill that woman or not? If he did then then he’s a murderer and trying to hide his past makes it worse in my opinion. I want nothing to do with a murderer, especially one who does not take accountability for what he did wrong and pay his dues. Not 50 years later. Not 500 years later. Not ever.

    • That’s a nice black and white point of view you got there, unfortunately we live in the real world with complicated morals and difficult truths. Did he? You can never know. Will you chose to admonish a man who might be innocent to avoid the chance of associating with a man who might be guilty?

      • Did you read my post? I said I want to know what he has to say about this. I don’t claim to know whether he is guilty or not at this point or that I ever would. I am however making it clear that it matters to me.

        I think NRA members are entitled to answers in this situation. But for some reason you say “you can never know”. Explain why not. And you accuse me of having a “black and white point of view”. You think you have some kind of exclusive grip on how the “real world” works? That’s arrogant.

        This is a fact: we have enemies and they’re going to continue to use this against us. If Dowlut actually cares about what the NRA stands for, and cares about the members, he needs to address the issue and tell his side of the story. If he allows this to tarnish the reputation of the organization he’s affiliated with, and does not make attempts to mitigate that, then I believe I can admonish him for that.

        If he can’t respond, or chooses not to, then someone else from the NRA should.

        We’re not asking what happened to the dinosaurs here. I’m asking the accused to tell his side of the story. Just brushing it off is not going to help the PR issue.

        • Aaron, what have you done wrong in your life ? You don’t have to admit it here, just think through your life. If you wasn’t in training as a man of the cloth, it’s time to learn to forgive. My brother and I were stopped by the police in St Louis, and he stole a gun out of a police car while they did a perp stop. They carried a throw down gun to drop at a shooting, so as to yell “he had a gun’. So remember, the police are not your friend and will do anything to convict you !

        • You can’t be serious. I am asking to hear what he has to say. A simple “I made a mistake” would be a start. Or a “it was a complicated situation” would also be a start. Of course I would prefer a “they had the wrong guy”. But no. First I am told that I can never know what happened. Now, I am being told I need to learn how to forgive.

          And in your condescending message, are you actually implying that murder is even remotely close to the type of regret the average person has to move on from? I guess only a “man of the cloth” hasn’t murdered their girlfriends mother now in your mind? Holy cow!

          But before you can forgive someone, don’t you at least need to hear them actually own up to what they did – or didn’t do? And for a follow up question – how about asking how he feels about it? How am I supposed to forgive something someone else made an accusation of without even having a response from the accused? Asking me to form an opinion before I have seen an attempt to answer my questions is foolish. Telling me I need to forgive someone when you have no idea whether they murdered someone or not – that’s just ridiculous.

  30. In a famous case where the death penalty and the specific innocence or guilt of “convicted killer” Mumia Abu-Jamal Mother Jones sits on the other side from “convicted killer” Dowlut.

    Abu-Jamal sat wounded at the curb with his revolver from which the bullets killing Officer Faulkner came. The bullets of Jamals wounds came from Faulkners service weapon.

    Mother Jones in a 1999 article titled “Innocence by Association” printed the following.
    “Abu-Jamal’s attorneys contend that an unknown man shot Faulkner and then ran away before more police arrived. The evidence on both sides is muddled and confusing. …
    In the years since the murder, at least a half-dozen new witnesses have materialized, belatedly offering stories to prove Abu-Jamal’s innocence.”

    How things appear, seems to depend on ones politics.
    I know nothing about the Dowlut case.

  31. Mother Jones never lets up on their anti-gun position. They’ve been this way for as long as I can remember, going back to the first time I saw their rag in the early 80’s. They’ve been around since the mid-70’s.

    They’re utterly predictable in all things. Take the hard-core lefty position, add a bunch of sanctimonious pecksniffing and you have the gist of their writing on most any position.

  32. So Mother Jones is against civil rights for whites. Let me be the first to say it:


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