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Alan Gottleib (courtesy Dave Workman) reports that Second Amendment Foundation founder and CCRKBA jefe Alan Gottleib has withdrawn support for the Manchin-Toomey bill at the eleventh hour. “Our support for this measure was contingent on several key provisions, the cornerstone of which was a rights restoration provision that is not on the schedule for consideration, but it appears the Democratic leadership in the Senate was opposed to letting this important consideration come up for a vote. We told everyone including a number of senators, that while there are many pro-gun rights provisions added to the main body of the bill, our support was contingent on this additional amendment coming to the floor. When we say something, we mean it.” Press release after the jump . . .


BELLEVUE, WA – The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms has withdrawn its support for the Manchin-Toomey alternative background check measure because a key amendment for restoration of firearms rights is not being considered.

“Our support for this measure was contingent on several key provisions, the cornerstone of which was a rights restoration provision that is not on the schedule for consideration,” said a frustrated CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “This is not a reflection against Senators Joe Manchin or Pat Toomey, who are staunch Second Amendment advocates, and I want to thank them for all of their efforts to include as many protections for our gun rights as possible.

“But it appears the Democratic leadership in the Senate was opposed to letting this important consideration come up for a vote,” he said. “We told everyone including a number of senators, that while there are many pro-gun rights provisions added to the main body of the bill, our support was contingent on this additional amendment coming to the floor. When we say something, we mean it.”

Rights restoration has been withheld from American citizens for more than two decades, ever since Sen. Charles Schumer – when he was still in the House of Representatives – successfully strong-armed a provision to withdraw funding for rights restoration investigations by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

“Senators Manchin and Toomey are not to blame for this,” Gottlieb stated, “as they have been negotiating in good faith throughout this process. But Schumer and other anti-gun Democrats are continuing their campaign of demagoguery in order to permanently disqualify as many Americans as possible from being able to exercise their fundamental rights under the Second Amendment.

“If the Manchin-Toomey alternative now goes down to defeat,” he continued, “Democrats in the Senate, led by Harry Reid, have only themselves to blame. While the Manchin-Toomey alternative has a significant number of gains for gun owners, it will not include this key provision, upon which our support was dependent.

“We cannot, in clear conscience, continue to support a measure that will not include this critical relief component,” Gottlieb concluded. “If Democrats like Schumer thought we could be flim flammed on this, they were wrong.”

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      • Where are all the Gottlieb-is-God commenters today?

        You guys could listen to me more. Anybody who attempts to deal with the devil is in it for themselves. You don’t do deals with the devil. The Progressives are the devil on gun control. Rinse, wash, repeat.

        • Amen! Anyone who deals with the devil will be burned. Sounds like gottlieb got a little to close to the fire and got burnt a little bit. Thankfully he realizes his mistake and is backtracking. Smart man to admit he was wrong. Kudos to him.

      • I used to have respect for Gottlieb, and have quoted him many times in my defense of the 2nd Amendment, but no more. If this man can be fooled into making a deal with a devil like Schumer, then he has lost all perspective, (not to mention, apparently, his senses), and can no longer be trusted to have our best interests at heart. He endangered our rights for a hand full of magic beans, and now he’s got to answer for it.

    • He’s taken their previous press release supporting M-T off their website, despite all of the older press releases still being there. I smell a rat.

      Does anyone have the text of the old press release? I don’t remember their support for M-T being contingent on another amendment being added to the main bill.

  1. So the fact that the antis have never given us anything in return as a “comprimise” was a last minute surprise?

  2. WTF? Wasn’t there an exclusive interview here with him from SHOT show either this year or last saying that he didn’t believe felons should have their rights restored? Why the (now double) change? Something is rotten in Denmark.

      • I believe that a man, if he has paid his debt to society, and has subsequently lived a productive and untarnished life since his incarceration, say for a period of 10 years, should have an avenue in which he can pursue the full restoration of his rights. If the state has deemed him fit to return to society, and he has proven himself worthy, then why should he remain on the “stool of eternal repentance” for the rest of his natural life? It’s just not right. It’s just not…American.

    • Looking at this in the best light, assuming the bill dies – Manchin-Toomey get “immunity” from the gun control lobby for having put forth good faith efforts to enact background checks, as well as a buffer for gun rights because of the SAF. Gun owners, more generally, get cover from public criticism by deflecting to Manchin-Toomey and reminding that Democrats failed to offer a real compromise. And with the SAF pulling their support, they do damage control for endorsing a bad bill, the bill dies, and gun owners are left alone…for now.

      Maybe Gottlieb is smarter than we think. Or lucky. He is at least adept in hedging his bets.

    • SAF’s “endorsement” of M-T gave both of them cover, since they could explain to the electorate that the gun rights org that brought us Heller and McDonald were in their corner. Follow me?

      Yanking the rug out from under them on the day of the vote exposes both to the greater wrath of gun owners when they stand for re-election. Although Gottleib said nice things about Manchin and Toomey, I think the two will have a lot of ‘splainin’ to do back home.

      Maybe Gottleib got religion, realized that support of M-T was undermining his position, and threw the two politicos under the bus. Gottleib is sadder but wiser and the two former A-rated Senators are probably feeling very lonely right about now. That’s the non-tinfoil hat explanation.

      The tinfoil hat explanation is that SAF used M-T as a red herring to block the nasty Schumer bill. In that case, Manchin and Toomey were tools — and well used tools at that.

      We shall never know.

      • I just don’t see any possible scenario where Gottlieb doesn’t lose more than he gains. *I’ll* certainly never trust him again. He’s too professionally-familiar with law for me to buy the “what I’ve been boosting all week isn’t what I want passed because it was supposed to change before the vote” line. And if Manchin-Toomey wasn’t going to pass, then Schumer wasn’t going to either.

      • Not being in the cloakroom on this one, but understanding how some of it works, I’d say SAF accomplished two key and difficult 0bjectives –

        1. Destroys the gun-grabbers and MSMs meme that the monolithic gun-lobby or some Vast Right Wing Conspiracy prevented the Senate from “Doing Something” and put the blame where it belonged, on Obama and the Dems on grandstanding and over-reaching. I’m sure the adults in the Senate all breathed a sigh of relief.

        2. Showed us Gun Rights folks that perhaps a nuanced strategic approach can isolate and split off the nitwits in the Senate, and highlight and educate everyone on additional tweaks, like the fixes mentioned in various items as part of the compromise.

        I’d like to think of M-T as being sufficiently wise to think two to three moves ahead of Schumer, et al., with SAF and (perhaps) NRA help, to anticipate exactly this outcome, given the complete lack of ethics and background you can count upon from the Dems, as usual.

        M-T can prove it by following up with legislation to fix some of the tweaks SAF brought up, as separate legislation later, to capitalize on this momentum towards sanity.

        Now its time to move on to more important things that Obama and the Dems were happier NOT focusing on – the absent budget, the deficit, jobs, and the Obamacare that is destroying them.

        Now theres no place to hide.

        • “2. Showed us Gun Rights folks that perhaps a nuanced strategic approach can isolate and split off the nitwits in the Senate, and highlight and educate everyone on additional tweaks, like the fixes mentioned in various items as part of the compromise.”

          I tink maybe dis. I wrote him a vicious email when this great “compromise” was announced, but…

          If you could watch the gyrations our GOA lobbyist has the Chicago machine doing in Illinois… I’m forced to admit maybe these guys know a bit more about how politics work than I do.

          Just about an hour or so ago the Illinois house clobbered a terrible carry bill sprung on us last night as a nasty surprise. 31 – 76 down in flames. And the behind the scenes work of Tod Vandermyde of the GOA is of a certainty why.

          Might want to wait and see before you cut GOA of at the knees. (Like I had already done.)

    • i wondered if this was a good-cop bad cop routine, at the DC-level.

      The SAF has many court challenges in the pipeline so I am not concerned about their bona-fides. What ever is going on down there in DC is above my pay grade.

      • “What ever is going on down there in DC is above my pay grade.”

        Wrong sentiment. If any oversight is going to be had for government, you (and yes I mean *you* you) are the only one to do it.

  3. What a naive idiot.

    Outside groups don’t get to conditionally — and publicly — vote yes or no on pending legislation, particularly based upon as-yet unwritten amendments. All that will be remembered from this debacle is that two major gun rights organizations supported bipartisan universal background checks — and that Sens. Toomey and Manchin are “staunch Second Amendment advocates.”

    With friends like this, who needs enemies?

    • Glen says:
      ” All that will be remembered from this debacle is that two major gun rights organizations supported bipartisan universal background checks — and that Sens. Toomey and Manchin are “staunch Second Amendment advocates.”

      Well, yes and no. Yes this debacle will be remembered, but not in a positive light from 2nd Amendment supporters. All that the gun rights supporters are going to remember about this is that Gottlieb, CCRKBA, and the 2nd Amendment Foundation screwed us right at the point when we needed them most; and as for the bobsey twins, Manchin and Toomey, their careers in politics, if not completely over, have been SEVERELY damaged. Think about it, will you ever trust any of these back stabbing sellouts again? I know I won’t. From now on, when I hear the names Toomey, Manchin or Gottlieb, right or wrong, I will always hear the name “SCHUMER” ringing loud and clear right after them………

  4. I think Manchin is seriously screwed, and he has only himself to blame. The Manchin-Toomey Gun Control Bill. That name is going to be on his opponent’s posters next time up. Though maybe the Bloomberg payoff will make up for it.

  5. I’m going to call the BS flag on this one.

    I think TTAG has done a good job showing why this bill overall stinks to high heaven. And I think SAF found themselves as the lone wolf standing with a bunch of anti’s on this bill while every other Pro-Gun group stood against it.

    And I think their withdrawal now is a case of too little too late. The damage has already been done. They’ve already allowed CNN and every other gun grabber to show them supporting the bill on national television. Pulling out now will be like a correction in the newspaper, it’ll be covered deep on page 9 if at all.

    Thanks for the effort SAF, but you’ve already assisting in spreading the anti-gun message and contributed to further restricting gun rights.

    You have now been placed on the naughty list in my book.

    • For what its worth, public perception isn’t necessarily the most important thing. With the SAF pulling out, the chances that gun-control advocates get to 60 decreases even more. They might even lose some of the Republicans who already committed to Manchin-Toomey.

      The SAF will have to deal with gun owners, certainly. However, the grabbers were already going to demonize the NRA and all gun owners with them. What the SAF endorsement/unendorsement does is give a partial out to Senators who might be on the receiving end of Bloomberg’s money bombs next year.

  6. “But it appears the Democratic leadership in the Senate was opposed to letting this important consideration come up for a vote.”

    –From the Ministry of Bleepin’ Obvious!

  7. Don’t try to play these dangerous games at the federal level, Alan. Too much can go wrong and it’ll end up screwing all of us. Block at the federal level, hit them in the state governments, and fight them in the courts.

  8. This is what comes of supporting things not for what they are, but for what they are promised to become by people you have no control over and no logical reason to take at their word. Stick to cour cases, you clearly don’t have the legislative savvy to not be played for a fool.

  9. I think Alan withdrew support because he was taking heat for an anti-rights position. He explicitly stated that we must concede “background checks” at gun shows and if we advertise at all. He said if we don’t concede this point we’ll “loose all of our rights”. That’s BS and it looks like we’ve convinced him. The demons in the senate have predictably betrayed him, now he gains nothing from supporting the bill but criticism from his contributors.

    • +2

      I called SAF two days ago to ask WTFO and they spent ten minutes talking to me and asking me to wait 48 hours before I decide whether Alan was right or not.

      I guess Alan agreed with me! And most every other member of SAF. I’m glad he came to his senses. I’ll be wary of him here on out, though.

  10. $20 says a lot of people called and asked for the membership $$ back.

    From their website: “What is the Second Amendment Foundation policy on refunds?

    The Second Amendment Foundation has a 30-day “no questions asked” policy. If you are unhappy with your donation or membership for any reason, Second Amendment Foundation will either cancel your membership or refund the full donation amount. Simply use our contact form here and we will refund your donation right away.”

    I personally decided not to do the 1,000 Patron Life membership because of this

  11. Alan had a point that without a background check bill of some sort passing this year, things will be bleaker in 2014 and 2016. The question of whether this is true is still there.

    • Oh BS. We have to be on continuous alert forever. The gun grabbers will always make attempts whenever possible.

      The leftists (especially Obama) wanted “points on the board” no matter how few points MT was away from the touchdowns of AWB or mag limits. Winning those points would energize and embolden their fundraising to get some more points.

      This loss by the gun-grabbers will be a spectacularly demoralizing loss. They’ll be licking their wounds for quite awhile and it will hamper their fund raising abilities and limit their ability to find volunteers to spend their free time on “losing propositions” like these.

  12. Congrats to TTAG and it’s readers.

    They pointed out the flaws in Gottlieb’s bill before even he seemed aware of those flaws!

    Now maybe a better compromise bill will come our way down the road. One that says you all get concealed carry in all states, but you have to be US citizens. Something like that, maybe.

    • Compromise? When exactly have the Progressives “compromised” in the last 4 years? And they are going to start now? Please. Not one inch.

    • I think the only “compromise” we need is written into the nation’s founding documents. Politicians don’t attempt to take away the people’s rights, and the people don’t violently overthrow them. Seems like a good and simple compromise to me.

  13. He hedged a gamble on something palatable for gun rights coming out of what he drew up. Originally, it looked good but too unrealistic. I couldn’t see the govt toeing the line on a law that would leave them open to obvious litigation once they started overstepping the boundaries of said bill should it have become law.

    As predicted, it was gutted and very well without permission of the writer who is acting surprised. I thought his support of this bill (despite him writing it) was a fake out so that he could say he offered an olive branch and attack on the front of “we tried reasonable compromise”. I’m not sure how he will spin it now but I know that the original concept of the bill was too good to be true in this climate. Question is what does this change in the long run? It isn’t ever JUST a dog and pony show.

  14. Alan Gottlieb is a convicted felon for breaking tax laws, his rights to own firearms was restored under the federal program before Schumer cut the funding to it. I can understand why gottlieb would be committed to that issue

  15. SAF has learned the same lesson the pro-gun side learned in the ’90’s…if you ‘compromise’ on gun control legislation, the anti-gun side will put a midnight switch at the last minute and hose you.
    That’s why the pro-gun side cannot compromise, because it spells defeat.

  16. It seems to me that the big winner in all this “I was for it before I was against it” stuff is the NRA.

    The NRA never back M-T in the first place, so it has no apologies to make. Well played, Wayne.

    • That’s actually true. Before, I would have boosted any of the SAF-GOA-etc alphabet soup organizations over the NRA to someone who asked. Along with the addition of the new spokes-people, I’m inclined to think more favorably of them now.

  17. This proves that the SAF and the CCRKBA are babes in the woods: Even idiots know that when you deal with snakes, you ARE going to get bit. I will never associate myself with them.

  18. Correct me if I’m wrong here. Didn’t SAF push the Heller case to the Scotus? And didn’t that case confirm for the first time in the history of SCOTUS rulings that the RTKBA was an individual right and not a group right?

    If I’m incorrect in the above I apologize now for what I’m about to say. For all those willing to condemn Gotlieb and the SAF for one misstep, FOAD.

    • TTAG is not letting me respond to your comment and I don’t know why.

      But yes, you’re wrong. He played a dangerous game with the liberties of those of us who live in free states simply because he fancies himself a clever man who has the ear of a politician or two.

    • If a man buys me a house, it doesn’t give him the right to beat my wife. I’m not done with 2AF, but I’m also paying awful close attention from this point forward.

    • The CCRKBA lobbies, the SAF litigates. One can support the SAF without supporting the CCRKBA. Of course, there are detractors of the SAF litigation strategies too, but that’s a different issue.

  19. More and more I am wondering if Harry Reid is not sitting in his office laughing…he has always in the past been pro-gun, stories appeared early about how he was not interested in bringing ANY bill to the floor, the left-which is the base of the Democratic party- was clamoring for some type of action on guns as its crisis d’jour, and I now believe that Dirty Harry played the long con knowing that while it would look to be close, no bill was going to pass. Others were trying to get the best bill possible for their sides when the fingers in the wind showed the momentum first one side, then the other…Mr. Gottleib took an honest shot at trying to preserve as much of the 2nd amendment as he thought he could based on what he was told by those empowered to negotiate, but didn’t realize that Dirty Harry wasn’t going to let it pass, just get close enough to appear to the base of his party that it was an honest and valiant effort beaten back by the dollars of the NRA…..maybe?

      • There are going to be a lot more votes on a lot more topics that Harry is going to need Dem Senators to vote for, so if he brings forth an AWB that is dead on arrival, it placates Sen Feinstein, the left loonies and soothes their sensitive dainty psyches…plus it starts conservatives and gunnies’ blood pressure to soar up to registered trademark/patent pending levels as an added bonus.

  20. The comments system seems to be getting worse and worse. Now it’s eating submitted comments without warning or notification even when it contains nothing inflammatory or insulting. I have to copy everything I type in the submission box because I’m afraid something I took a few minutes to write will be lost to the mysterious internets as soon as I click “Post Comment.”

    What’s the deal?

    • I noticed yesterday that with all the comments being entered on this and related subjects, it seemed like my computer had frozen and I wasn’t sure if the comment had “taken” but if I just waited and didn’t keep hitting post comments or refresh, that the system caught up…however, if I took some type of remedial action to try and help the system along, I lost my comment. So, I believe its just a function of the high number of comments being posted at the same time.

    • I always highlight and copy my post before submitting so that I can go back and just paste it in and try again if the system eats it.

    • Same. I’ve had a few odd problems too. Got a spam notice on one, then tried a couple times to repost a shorter reply, no joy, then had one go thru.

  21. AP and other press outlets are projecting the bill to fail due to lack of support:

    Whether it was a good faith effort that met with too much criticism, or part of a larger strategy, who knows. I think it’s still largely a matter of the gun community continuing to bring pressure while the distracted public is now asking whether or not to ban…

    …pressure cookers.

    Yeah, the public’s attention span is THAT short…

  22. I think the most plausible explanation for Herr Gottliebs about-face is that he FELT THE HEAT AND THEN SAW THE LIGHT.

    Yesterday I called The Second Amendment Foundation to ask them what the hell Gottleib was up to and the first thing the guy said was that he didn’t ordinarily deal with questions like that because they were a 501c3 bla, bla, bla. But because CCRKBA was overwhelmed with outraged phone calls he would try to explain Alan’s position. I think lots of pissed off gun rights activists melted their phone lines and brought memberships and donations to a screaming halt.

    Even with all of this I still haven’t written them off though. I have reservations about their litigation strategy but they have gotten better results than NRA on that score so I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt for now.

  23. This bill blew goats from the beginning, why did SAF think it could possibly go any other way… Sheesh!

  24. The thing I don’t get is how Gottlieb could have forgotten gun owners’ reaction to the Smith & Wesson/Clinton deal and jumped up and down on a similar landmine. The backlash against the SAF itself was entirely predictable; it would be even worse if they had a physical product for people to boycott/return.

  25. SAF has done good in the past and I am willing to take them at their word. Maybe I am naive, but I prefer to have friends working with me.

  26. Different flavors of gun rights groups isn’t necessarily a bad thing. That bill was poison-pilled. I don’t claim to know what SAF’s “strategy” (or lack thereof) was. However, while I have a lot of respect for SAF, that bill stunk from the get-go. I think it’s time to go on the offensive. The next bill should be made to include amendments hanging on it that get suppressors out of the NFA and repeal the Hughes Amendment. Pipe dream? Maybe, but I think it’s time to start broaching the topic publicly. Maybe GOA can help? My money aint goin’ to SAF no mah….


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