An Open Letter to Larry Pratt and Gun Owners of America

An Open Letter to Larry Pratt
and Gun Owners of America

Dear Larry,

After knowing and working with you to protect our gun rights for over 25 years, I am shocked at your actions.

The recent personal attack you have made against me, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, and to a lesser extent the Second Amendment Foundation, in your fax alerts, e-mail alerts, internet postings and other communications contains malicious, defamatory lies and untruths that have been calculated to cause harm to my reputation and the organizations I represent.

These lies and untruths include, but are not limited to, the following statements contained in your e-mail and fax alerts of March 11, 1999:

“Alan Gottlieb of the Citizen Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (and also of the Second Amendment Foundation) is once again pushing gun control…

“To force you to ‘Lock Up Your Safety’ with trigger locks, gun safes and the threat of a criminal prosecution or even jail.

“Failure to comply with HB1424 will be a felony offense, resulting in a loss of rights, stiff fine and even jail time!

“But this time the anti-gunners have a new ally in Alan Gottlieb (actually many Washington gun activists know Mr. Gottlieb has pushed Lock Up Your Safety for years, but he never did it publicly)”

Before you made these defamatory, false and outrageous statements about me and the organizations I represent, you had every opportunity to contact me by phone, fax or e-mail to check your facts. You did not.

The facts are as follows:

Washington State HB1424 only amends the current State Reckless Endangerment Law by providing exemptions from prosecution for gun owners who take safety measures to prevent unsupervised children from obtaining loaded firearms where the owner would have a reasonable belief that a child could and does gain access to the firearm. It is not a new gun control law, as you claim, and it gives gun owners more protection from prosecution than they have at present.

HB1424 does not provide any new penalties of any kind whatsoever. It does not make gun owners subject to felony prosecution as you claim. In fact, the current law is a gross misdemeanor and not a felony and this does not change. No gun owner would lose their rights for a felony conviction as you stated. Your statements are boldfaced malicious lies.

In fact, HB1424 contains the following language not just once, but twice: “Nothing in this section mandates how or where a firearm must be stored.” Your claim that I and the organizations I represent support making people lock up their guns so they cannot have the means to defend themselves in an emergency is an outrageous untruth. I live in the State of Washington and the notion that I would support locking up my own guns is ludicrous.

In addition, the words “trigger lock” do not even appear in HB1424. Not only do I oppose any mandate on how or where a firearm must be stored, but I would never advocate using a trigger lock on a loaded firearm as it can result in accidental discharge and loss of life. All your statements in this area are intentional misrepresentations of fact.

While you have made other false and misleading statements, they are not defamatory and therefore I will not address them.

In the past when our opponents have claimed that you were a white-supremacist militia supporter, I have publicly come to your defense. When another pro-gun organization wrongfully attacked you for using tactics that caused the Brady Bill to pass Congress I publicly defended you.

The organizations with which I am affiliated have given you and Gun Owners of America substantial positive coverage of your activities and projects in their publications and for over a decade you or other representatives of Gun Owners of America have appeared as speakers at our national Gun Rights Policy Conferences.

I never would have expected such an outrageous, malicious and defamatory attack from you and Gun Owners of America. You have always stated that Gun Owners of America is the “only no compromise gun lobby.” Well, this time you compromised. You compromised your credibility. I don’t know how any gun owner can now trust or rely on anything you or Gun Owners of America states or publishes.

I also don’t know how after doing this you can sleep at night or look at yourself in the mirror in the morning.

It is my hope, that somehow a misguided staff member or volunteer activist led you astray with false information, and that you will immediately correct the damage you have done to me and the organizations I represent, as well as, to the 80 million gun owners who rely on us to defend their rights.

It is my hope that I will not need to take further action.

Alan M. Gottlieb