An Open Letter to the People of America



From Aaron Zelman – Founder and Director of
Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JPFO).

Copyright JPFO 2007


Dear friends, neighbors, and fellow citizens:

Most of us remember vividly the way that an entire church full of people, including more than two dozen children, were burned to death in 1993, or died in other ways, while under seige by the Federal Bureaus of Investigation, and Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

In the wake of that and many other BATFE abuses of the unalienable individual, civil, Constitutional, and human rights, in essence, of every man, woman, and responsible child in America, Congress has rebuked this rogue agency often, and often, reforms of various kinds have been promised. Yet somehow, these reforms never quite seem to materialize.

For the past year, for example, a man named Michael Sullivan has been Acting Director of the BATFE, and has made no effort to curb its abuses. Indeed, he has promised to "work with" notorious anti-Second Amendment politicians like Senator Edward M. Kennedy on "gun control" issues.

Judges are complaining of sloppy briefs and missed deadlines in Sullivan’s office, but the situation is vastly darker than that. U.S. District Court Judge Mark Wolf, to name just one example, castigated Sullivan recently for tying up the courts with penny-ante street-crime cases.

Unimaginably worse, U.S. District Court Judge William Young has hammered Sullivan’s office for evincing "a moral code more suited to the alleys of Baghdad than the streets of Boston" and for adopting a mindset that "reveals such callous indifference to innocent human life as would gag any fair-minded observer." One can’t help thinking about Waco.

Sullivan has often stated with typical arrogance, that he doesn’t care if he annoys judges. By his reckoning, the more cases one has gotten to trial, the more successful one has been, so he just keeps on pushing more and more cases through each year, in the process racking up some of the longest average sentences of any U.S. attorney in the country.

These days, that’s regarded as a good thing.

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In at least one recent case, when a licensed firearms dealer contacted Sullivan regarding BATFE management practices, the Acting Director responded by sending a pair of armed inspectors to do a "thorough inspection" of the man’s records. Even if this inspection had been a legitimate operation, rather than the fascistic retaliatory exercise that it apparently was, inspectors are not supposed to be armed.

Except, of course, as a naked, brutal, authoritarian threat.

Acting Director Sullivan has been fully aware, since taking over at BATFE, of the bureau’s use of illegitimate evidence on a scale that surpasses even the bullet-testing and DNA scandals of the FBI, yet he continues to countenance these corrupt practices. Is this what "working with Kennedy on gun control issues" consists of? How can a citizen conform his behavior with the law when no objective test standards exist to see if non-conformance with the law has actually occurred?

Sullivan has also continued a Clinton-era policy of eliminating as many firearms dealers and manufacturers from the rolls of federal licensees as possible. Confronted with the number of dealers being shut down in this manner, he stated, "There is no correlation between the dramatic decrease of nearly 150,000 licensees, and BATFE revocation actions." This, despite the fact that revocations are up nearly six-fold from the 2001 to 2006 period, according to the March/April 2007 issue of Shooting Sports Retailer magazine, page 19.

Meanwhile, Sullivan has ignored requests from Congress and the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General to implement fines and suspensions, rather than just revoking dealers licenses outright.

Why should anyone — especially members of the non-shooting public — be concerned over this? Because, as more and more individuals have armed themselves and taken to carrying concealed weapons over the past 30 years or so, America’s violent crime rate has plummeted. This means that those individuals who do carry weapons — as well as those who provide them — are "net social benefactors". Shutting down firearms dealers is exactly like machinegunning firefighters or paramedics — a stupid, evil, insane, and antisocial policy, being carried out in your name.

And at your expense.

Sullivan — who has also been criticized by judges for "going for the jugular" as a U.S. Attorney to establish his career, rather than take plea bargains to avoid tying up the courts and wasting the taxpayers’ money in the process — now continues an old police state tradition by disobeying court orders to return confiscated property and ignoring recurring requests to speak with him about that and other issues.

Here at JPFO, we’re curious. Is the head of BATFE fully aware of the Nazi origins of the principal law he is enforcing, and under the aegis of which, he justifies the excesses of his agency, the Gun Control Act of 1968 — rammed through Congress with the help of the mass media by the corrupt and discredited Senator Thomas Dodd? Does Sullivan approve of that law — and its origins — or will he announce an investigation into the sleazy details and circumstances of its passage?

Three guesses and the first two don’t count.

Perhaps worst of all, while Sullivan tells representatives of groups like the National Rifle Association one thing — recently that he would not share "trace request data" with other individuals and agencies — at the same time, he tells known enemies of the right to keep and bear arms, like Senator Charles Schumer, "I’m optimistic that there will be even more information available than provided in the past."

Even one of the man’s former colleages says about him, "If anything ever happens that requires leadership at the BATFE, and Mike Sullivan is at the helm, it’s going to be a sad day." A sad day, indeed.

Now, Sullivan’s nomination — by supposedly "gun-friendly" George W. Bush — to a permanent appointment as the head of the BATFE, is up for U.S. Senate consideration. We are extremely fortunate, thus far, that it has been put on temporary hold by one courageous Senator, but pressure is mounting for him to relent, and to permit the nomination to proceed. Believe it or not, Jews of the Preservation of Firearms Ownership is forbidden by law from suggesting what you should do about this.

It is more than a little ironic that while the government claims to be protecting Americans from terrorists and something they call "Islamofascism" — significantly, by increasingly curtailing our individual rights and civil liberties — it is subjecting all of us, through individuals like Michael Sullivan and through agencies like the BATFE, to state terrorism and fascism entirely of the homegrown variety.

When you have to ask yourself who’s the greater threat to life, liberty, and property, Al Qaeda or your own government, things are a mess.


Aaron Zelman Executive Director Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership


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