Ray Schoenke's American Hunters and Shooters Assoc. receives frigid reception in the Buckeye State

Ray Schoenke, president of fake gun group American Hunters and Shooters Association (AHSA), received a cold reception from Ohioans during a swing through the state to campaign for former Joyce Foundation board member Barack Obama, and judging by a follow-up press release, he is still feeling the sting.

On Wednesday, September 17, Buckeye Firearms Association published a story detailing how AHSA and the AFL-CIO labor union had teamed up to try and convince rural gun owners (you know, the ones who Obama says are bitterly clinging to their guns) to prostitute the Second Amendment for a paycheck. That same day, Schoenke began a photo op tour through Ohio that would make goose hunting John Kerry proud.

According to the Lancaster Gazette, "Schoenke stopped in Clarksburg Wednesday to shoot a couple clay pigeons and talk about how the Second Amendment comes into play in the presidential campaign." While Clarksburg's Mid-State Gun Club may not have realized what Schoenke's photo op was truly all about until it was too late, word about AHSA began to spread quickly on Wednesday. Rumor is another gun club cancelled a second scheduled photo op when they learned who Schoenke really was.

On Thursday the 18th, Schoenke sat in on an interview with Denny Malloy, who hosts an outdoors radio program every Saturday morning on 570 WKBN AM, the Clear Channel talk station in Youngstown, Ohio. Malloy's interview with Schoenke will be streamed online September 27 beginning at 7:00 a.m. at www.outdooricon.com, as well as being aired on WKBN.

Schoenke then took to the airwaves live in studio on WKBN's Ron Verb show, with Malloy sitting in as co-host. It soon became clear that WKBN listeners were seeing through Schoenke's faux pro-gun persona, as caller after caller took him to task for various issues, many of which had been raised on this website the day before.

Having been sent home to his East Coast estate with his tail between his legs, Schoenke decided the experience in Ohio and elsewhere was serious enough to warrant a response. And so, on Friday the 19th, the AHSA Advisory Board sent out a response, entitled American Hunters and Shooters Association Responds to its Critics, in which it asserts that warnings about the organization are "based upon half-truths, innuendo and character assassination."

But even as the Board attempts to establish what it says are the "hard facts" about AHSA, it reveals the group was started because Schoenke's wife, "an independent thinker [who] does not like guns", was frustrated about the lack of progress being made by the Brady Campaign (formerly Handgun Control Inc.).

She took a seat on the board of the Brady Campaign but soon became frustrated with the group’s lack of progress. Ray told her that progress would not be made until gun owners were allowed to bring their common sense perspective to the table. As a result, Nancy closed the family checkbook, resigned from the Brady board, and encouraged Ray to start AHSA.

So there you have it, from the horse's mouth. AHSA exists because the anti-gun wife of its president wasn't seeing enough results from the anti-gun Brady bunch.

Feel more comfortable with AHSA now that you know the "hard facts" straight from them? But wait, there's is more. Here is how they describe Bob "Benedict Arnold" Ricker, who once valiantly fought for our Second Amendment rights, and who now serves as AHSA's executive director:

Following in the traditions of the National Alliance of Stocking Gun Dealers (NASGD) Executive Director Bill Bridgewater and former Smith & Wesson CEO Ed Shultz, Ricker believes that the greatest threat to gun rights could be found in the reluctance of the gun industry to clean up its own act.

What the list of "hard facts" doesn't include is that Ricker's version of having the gun industry clean up its act involved him personally negotiating an agreement between the Clinton administration and Smith and Wesson (S&W) concerning a voluntary child safety lock program.

From Buckeye Firearms Association's Chris Chumita, in a 2006 article entitled A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing:

The agreement was not just about trigger locks and serial numbers. It also would have severely limited gun sales, required mandatory skill testing prior to purchasing a gun, and required impractical changes to gun design. The agreement also pledged that licensed dealers would refrain from selling semi-automatic rifles, prohibit the sale of guns at gun shows that allow private sells, and require gun dealers to include anti-gun literature with every gun sale. The agreement created a huge controversy in the firearm industry and it eventually led to a boycott of S&W. S&W has since come to their senses, and the agreement is a dark spot in the history of a great company.

The press release goes on to defend Ricker as just being "honest" when he served as a paid expert witness against gun manufacturers in a number of reckless lawsuits.

And then there is John Rosenthal, who is an AHSA founding board member, and yet another former Brady bunch board member who was frustrated that the organization wasn't making enough progress toward its gun control goals. From the "hard facts":

Many of AHSA’s critics like to mention that John Rosenthal an AHSA founding board member was also the founder of Boston based Stop Handgun Violence, a gun violence prevention group that has advocated some of the nation’s strictest gun laws. John, an avid skeet shooter, came to the shooting world in an unusual way. He’s a very successful urban real estate developer and saw first-hand how gun crime was not only destroying his city but also his business investments. Like Nancy Schoenke, he too served on the Brady board until frustration set in. John quit Brady and helped finance and build AHSA. In the spring of 2007, John resigned from the AHSA board over some fundamental policy issue differences and is now devoting his efforts to Stop Handgun Violence.

As Chris Chumita observed in 2006, "Stop Handgun Violence has played a role in making Massachusetts a gun-grabber’s paradise. Rosenthal is trying to use AHSA to spread his anti-gun views to other states." What could a supposedly "pro-gun" organization EVER have seen in common with a man like John Rosenthal?

The "hard facts" also fail to mention or explain the involvement of board member Joseph J. Vince Jr., who is retired from the BATFE and is an “expert” with Crime Gun Solutions. Again, from Chumita:

He helped write the analysis on the impact of the Clinton assault rifle ban that was used by the Brady Campaign and openly supported its reauthorization. Vince also signed a letter asking the senators to oppose the Protection of Lawful Commerce Act.

Like "life-long Republican" Tony Dean, who has spent the past few elections campaigning for anti-gun Democrats, AHSA is attempting to convince gun owners to make their voting decisions on things other than the Second Amendment. For instance, they constantly rail against the NRA for supporting candidates who are pro-gun, but who oppose the radical environmental protectionist agenda. And these days, they're talking more about the economy than protecting our gun rights.

AHSA's "hard facts" concludes with this:

Bottom line, if you are a hard-core NRA supporter you are probably not going to like AHSA.

I would put it a bit differently. If you are a gun owner who believes that voting to protect your Second Amendment rights comes before a decision on which candidate mirrors your personal beliefs on human-caused global warming or on which candidate you believe would be better for your paycheck, then you're not going to like AHSA.

Are you willing to prostitute the Second Amendment? Or will you vote freedom first?

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman.

Related Story:
Radical anti-hunting organization endorses Obama for President

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