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Interview with David Codrea

Interview in MP3 format

This is Talkin’ to America. I am your host, Aaron Zelman. Our guest today is David Codrea. David is -- would you say the author, David? -- of "War on Guns", a blog.

David: I guess that is as good of a term as any, yes.

Aaron: Why don’t we start by talking about your blog, War on Guns.

David: Sure, thank you. The url for that is and basically what I try to do with this is use this to comment on gun rights, related new stories, things of interest to the gun owning community, particularly those who are interested in the liberty aspect of it. I use it to present original commentary. I use it to support various causes that I believe in that are Second Amendment-related. I also use it to promote by column in Guns Magazine. I have a couple recurring features on the blog. One of them is called “The Only Ones” and what this is about is that oftentimes, and I am sure you have heard, that people will say that the police are the only ones who are competent or trustworthy enough to be armed and the general citizenry isn’t trained enough, and the purpose of “The Only Ones” is really not to dis the law enforcement establishment, so much as it is to provide links to examples in news stories where they prove themselves to be just as fallible, if not, more so than anyone else, and essentially to disprove the fraud that the police are the only ones who are competent enough to be trusted with firearms. Where we got the name from that is, I don’t know if you recall the DEA agent by the name of Lee Page, who was giving a presentation to a group of school children in the classroom, and he pulls out his “glock” and he says “I am the only one in the room professional enough to handle this” and proceeds on camera to shoot himself in the foot, and right now I just have hundreds and hundreds of examples of that on the website.

Aaron: Sounds fascinating. Before we forget, you have a monthly column in Guns Magazine. It is called Rights Watch.

David: Yes, that’s correct. Thank you for mentioning that one. I started out writing actually for Guns and Ammo and did that on an occasional basis for probably about a year and a half or two, moved on to Handguns Magazine when the editor, Jeff, went over to that magazine, and then he went over to Guns and he invited me to come on board full-time, so I am a Rights Watch columnist. I guess the official title in the masthead is Contributing Field Editor, and what I do with that is they let me explore whatever issue I really think needs to be brought to the attention of the readership as it pertains to the Second Amendment, and I try to do these things in a way that is contemporary and in a way that touches on the popular culture so that people can relate to it. Kind of a shallow end of the pool approach, a populist approach if you will, and I explore everything from celebrities and their anti-gun status to legal developments. The issue that is out right now on the stands is the February, 2007 issue, and in this one I feature a system developed by some friends of mine, Brian Puckett and Russ Howard, and it is called the Bid System and what this is is it is the blind identification database system. It is an alternative that they have developed to the NICS, the National Instant Check System, and essentially what it does is it is already in practice at our airline terminals. It is called the No Fly List. What this allows is right now if you go and buy a gun and go through the NICS system, they have to put you through an automated clearance and it creates a record of your gun purchase, so now the government has a record that could, although right now it is prohibited by low, to be used to establish a registration system. If that law were to change, they would have all the data they need to identify gun owners in America and to essentially have an automated registration list that they can use, and I think that your organization has been pretty instrumental in pointing out some of the dangers of registration.

Aaron: Well, indeed. I think what we really need to do in America, the Bid System is a step in the right direction, but from the JPFO perspective, I think we need to abolish all federal control and regulation of firearms. Nothing but evil has come out of the 68 Gun Control Act.

David: I agree with you on that. What I am looking at is a way to do it. You know, one of the things that I am attacked on sometimes is that I am an absolutist and that we got her incrementally and we have to back out of things incrementally, and so this actually, I admit, there is no federal authority for any kind of fed government involvement in registration in gun control. It is identical to the JPFO’s position, but this is kind of a back-at ya guys. If you are saying we need incrementalism, here is one that will impose no new restrictions on gun owners. It will actually roll restrictions back. All that is going to be in the database are who are identified as “prohibited persons”. Now, we could get into a whole other discussion on prohibited persons. I think it is a ridiculous concept. I think if somebody can’t be trusted with a gun, they can’t be trusted without a custodian. However, as long as we have a system in place, unless there is a realistic mechanism to go through an abolish and I am certainly willing to learn, you know, how we can go about abolishing the ATF short of some sort of lawsuit or short of some sort of electoral victory that I am not sure I see happening in the near future. This is at least the step that will roll back some of the more outrageous violations, and as I say, the technology is there and the concept has already been proven via the No Fly List.

Aaron: I think the way to abolish the BATF, we are going to show people in our film that we are now working on called “The Gang” which shows the criminal activities of the BATF. I think people will see a way in there, a method to approach the criminals known as the BATF, and that method will help people understand what steps have to be taken to abolish this government agency as well as the federal control and regulation of firearms, but we will wait till the movie comes out for me to continue to prattle on about that, and your column, Rights Watch in Guns Magazine, you mention you have a review on a book by Matthew Bracken called the Domestic Enemies, the Reconquesta.

David: Yes.

Aaron: Well, it is not really a Second Amendment issue, but do you want to talk about that for a minute or so?

David: Well, it essentially is a Second Amendment issue because it is a sequel to his first book Enemies Foreign and Domestic, and in that book he establishes the character base, he establishes the scenario with a rogue ATF agency creating a criminal act which is used to further demands for gun control and he explores that in Domestic Enemies, the Reconquesta, and that definitely is a Second Amendment issue because the bottom line is if the illegal immigration tide in this country is not stopped, we are quickly going to find ourselves in a balkanized situation, and we are quickly going to find ourselves in a situation where in my locale civil order is going to break down, people are going to be on their own, and people are going to be on their own against organized groups. I don’t believe that it is that far fetched when we take a look at other world events that have happened when dispirit populations are competing for the same territory and when we see the trends that have happened in this country to think that “you know what, at some point in the future there could be flash points”, and that is what this books explores. I think it is an important book. I think as far as JPFO is concerned, possibly his first book Enemies Foreign and Domestic would be something that would be of more interest to your members, but I think once you have that as a foundation established, I think that people are really going to link the Reconquesta, which is the sequel, and I should say that Matthew Bracken, the author of these books, is eminently qualified to do the writing on this. First of all, they are page turners, they are real thrillers, but he has a fascinating background. He is a former Navy Seal. He builds his own sailboats and sails them, I guess, essentially around the world, so the guy is a real fascinating character and he comes from a perspective with real intimate knowledge of weaponry, with some good fresh political perspectives, and like I say, he is just a good writer. I really do enjoy reading his stuff and I have reviewed both of his books in Guns Magazine and given them two M1 thumbs up, if the people understand what that means. Just to touch back through Aaron on the JPFO film that you folks are going to make, I would hope that when it comes time to release it, you will let me do a review for you.

Aaron: We would be delighted. Let me talk to you about a case that is now floating around the justice system called the Fincher Case I believe, the Wayne Fincher Case in Arkansas.

David: Yes.

Aaron: I noticed some comments that we have discussed about this and maybe you would like to shed some light on how it outrageous this case is.

David: Yes. Wayne Fincher is a lieutenant commander of a militia in Arkansas, and I know when people say that, a lot of people’s antennas go up and they go, wait a minute, we are going to turn off, we don’t want to be associated with this. He is an honest man. He is a patriotic. He has developed a legal document that he calls the Silver Bullet, and it fairly repudiates the ATF authority and the authority of the government to essentially limit the arms that are available to the people. It is a challenge to the current interpretation of Miller, it is a challenge to the collective rights interpretation, and Wayne is in trouble right now because they arrested him and he is in jail in the Sebastian County Jail down there, and one of the other things I bring up on my blog is the concept called authorized journalists, and essentially where they came from is the government saying, well, bloggers aren’t authorized journalists, they don’t have press cards, they are not as good as real journalists, and yet so much of what is happening in terms of breaking news that is important for liberty activists is suppressed in the mainstream media. They will present news stories with thinly disguised editorial commentary, they will choose what to present and what to omit, and in many cases they will choose to neglect a story altogether and with very limited exceptions for some local press now there, the Fincher Case is being virtually ignored. It is off the radar, and one of the reasons it concerns is because I am getting updates right now from some of the people involved. Wayne is now ill. Wayne has had to be taken to the hospital. At first they thought it was a heart attack. They have released him from the hospital. I just got word this morning that it is taking 31 hours to get him his anti-nausea medicine. Aaron, you know what, if the mainstream media got wind of the fact that medication was being withheld from prisoners at Gitmo, they would be all over it, screaming with headlines. Here is an America who is prisoned under the authority of the federal government and this man can’t get his medication, and in order to get his medical records, his attorney has been told he is going to have to go to the judge and file a subpoena. I just got a letter from Wayne Fincher. I wrote him in jail and at first it got rejected because I committed the crime of sending him some writing paper and some stamps and some envelopes, you know, thinking that this might be useful to him, and they sent the whole envelope back and wouldn’t forward my letter on to him for that sin, so I resent it with just the letter and with some information to let him know that you know what, you are not forgotten, people are thinking about you. I am covering you myself on my blog and this because, I think I told you before this interview started, our internet is down right here, I am going to give it to you before I give it to anybody else. This is just a brief couple sentences from his letter about his arrest and he says “at my arrest I had just come down from a deer stand that is about 20 feet to the bottom of the platform when two agents in full camo shouted from behind him to get down on the ground or they would shoot. I told them, if you just have to kill somebody, go ahead and shoot. I haven’t done anything wrong and I am not getting on the ground. I then ordered them to take your guns off me, which they did. They were a bit taken back.” Okay, so this is kind of what went down at the Fincher arrest scene, and the other point I would like to make about this is that Wayne was arrested under the auspices of Project Safe Neighborhood. This is a federal program that is heavily backed not only by the Bush administration, but also, as you know, by the National Rifle Association of which I am a life member.

Aaron: Do you mind talking more about this issue, about the NRA and Project Safe Neighborhood?

David: Well, there are a lot of NRA issues I could discuss, but I would like to preface that first because I have been accused in the past of NRA bashing, okay, and as I indicated, I am the NRA Aaron. I am a life member. Okay, what I do is I speak out when I have policy differences with NRA paid management and with their staff, and essentially what I told them to is the same standard I hold a politician to. I hold a politician to fidelity to our constitution. I hold the NRA to fidelity to their bilaws, and if I could, again, I just read you a brief paragraph. I would like to read you another brief paragraph, if that is okay, and that is from the purposes and objectives of their bilaws. You know the first thing they do is they state that they are going to be called the National Rifle Association of America. Then, the very next thing they say is that the purposes and objectives of the National Rifle Association of America are: “To protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, especially with reference to the inalienable right of the individual American citizen guaranteed by such constitution to acquire, possess, collect, exhibit, transport, carry, transfer ownership of, and enjoy the right to use firearms in order that the people may always be in a position to exercise their legitimate individual rights of self-preservation in defense of family, person and property as well as to serve effectively in the appropriate militia for the common defense of the republic and the individual liberty of its citizens.” That is my benchmark for the NRA. That is what I expect its management to promote. That is what I expect its staff to promote, and so people who want to criticize me for taking on NRA political statements or public policy statements that contradict that, I guess my rejoinder to them is tell me where my criticism is untrue. To give you a couple of examples of that, when they say “enforce existing gun laws”, well hold the phone. You know, I understand shall not be infringed, I understand the people, so what existing gun laws are we determining to be constitutional and to pass that constitutional bright line of “shall not be infringed”, and I guess the most common rejoinder I have is that enforcing the existing gun laws is precisely what the government was doing at Ruby Ridge in Waco, and when I hear the association say things like gun-free school zones, that no one but trained police and security officers ought to possess a gun on a school campus, again I don’t see anything in the constitution that limits my right to keep and bear arms based on location and I actually call gun-free school zones harris cleybold empowerment zones. If you recall at Colombine, there was a trained law enforcement security guard, actually an off-duty cop on duty at school as their campus security officer. He exchanged shots with one of the killers and what happened was predictable, he escaped and the killer retreated inside to go and pick easier, unarmed prey, and why as a responsible adult, why a teacher, why an administrator, why a parent cannot be on campus in full possession of their constitutional rights, why the NRA management thinks that that is a good thing to have, I would like for them to defend that. I would like for them to tell us where in the Constitution they see the authority to impose such limits on the people. It is the same. You know, we started them part of our discussion with Project Safe Neighborhoods. Again, where is the constitutional authority for that and again, I can point you to speeches by NRA representatives where they promise that Project Exile and Project Safe Neighborhoods are going to reduce crime. They started the project in Richmond. They expanded it to Philadelphia. They have put it into Boston and guess what? In all of those cities, violent crime and murder is threw the roof. Last year Boston recorded a ten-year high in its homicide rate. Richmond is out of control. Philadelphia is begging people for solutions, and again, we prove this time and again and my question is I thought we were of the mind that gun control, that is citizen disarmament, does not work, so now we are being told de facto, well some gun control is good, other gun control is bad. I don’t buy it. When I hear that kind of public proclamation, which incidentally is pretty much identical with the position promoted by the Brady Campaign, I am going to challenge it and if people want to criticize me for that or you know impugn the motives behind it, all I can tell you is that I am raising the flag and I don’t apologize for that.

Aaron: In case someone wants to challenge you on this and impugn your motives, I would suggest they stop by the JPFO site, and on the front page of our site they can read a link to a letter from the NRA to one of our members stating very clearly what you have just stated. They support gun control laws. They are opposed to defunding the BATF. Even when there was a chance to do in 1980, they decided not to do it, and of course, they are very enthused about Project Exile, and then along with that letter people can see our response to the NRA, so if anybody thinks that you are wrong, I would suggest they read a letter from the NRA to an NRA member. You said you would like to talk a little about some of the things that you have done to support other pro-gun groups.

David: As you know, I have done a bit of writing in support of JPFO and it is kind of funny because my history with your organization goes back many years. I don’t even recall how many years, but you are kind of an fledgling organization when I first heard of you, and at the time I have been involved in various gun organizations for a long time, supporting the ones that I think are worthy, Gun Owners of America being one of them, but I am an NRA life member as I have told you, and at the time I got involved with another group that is now no longer in existence called the Lawyers Second Amendment Society, that was Steve Silver and Dan Schultz, and they had a table set up at I believe a survivalist expo in Long Beach, California, and JPFO had a table there as well, or actually as I recall, we shared the table with JPFO. So even though I am not a lawyer, I was a supporter of Lawyers Second Amendment Society, just as even though I am not Jewish, I am a supporter of JPFO and I shared that table with, I believe, Nancy Lord who was then the libertarian vice presidential candidate. She was there I recall and correct me if I am wrong, it was some years ago, and that was really my first experience with anti-Semitism. I thought it was kind of funny. There was a person of say “skinhead” persuasion came by and I attempted to hand some literature and I got kind of snared at and you know made to feel like I was an object of loathing and that kind of clicked a little light on for me and it made me explore more of what JPFO is about and what were the underlying purposes to motivate you to come in and start and organization that did something radical and unheard of at the time, which was to raise the truth, that gun control is the gateway to genocide. It is the gateway to tyranny.

Aaron: David, I have always found it disturbing that there are people in the so-called freedom movement at survival shows who would rather hate Jews than help JPFO in its effort to destroy gun control.

David: You will recall I have written a review for “Innocence Betrayed”. I did an article in a magazine at Len Savage’s adventures with the ATF, where they essentially tried to declare that he had an illegal machine gun and on camera I thought it was just brilliant who he disassembled the firearm on camera and proved that it was just, you know, a hang fire from a broken spring and once you replace the spring, everything is fine and, of course, the ATF agent was there with his mouth open. In any different context, I would have found it humorous, but the fact that peoples’ lives are destroyed by these people coming in and making pronouncements is actually chilling. We deserve better competence than that when our freedom and our lives are at stake. I am proud owner of Rebel Fire out of the gray zone. I promoted that on my website. I wear the T-shirt, and basically I do whatever I can in my arguments. I give credit to JPFO whenever I can. Whenever I mention the gun control genocide, we just had December 15th come up and I linked back to your site with your poster for Bill of Rights Day, so thank you for that. Whenever the sporting purposes clause is brought up, and I will ask you to maybe instruct us a little bit on that, you know, things basically of that nature.

Aaron: We appreciate all your support. What do you think is really going to happen with Wayne Fincher?

David: I am afraid right now. If his health does not improve, I just hope that there is a trial because Wayne Fincher has brought up some fascinating arguments that deserve to be explored, but the only problem with that is the U.S. attorneys prosecuting him have asked the court to prohibit him from arguing both the Constitution, and this is a quote “matters of law in his defense”. Now, how in the world do you do that? How in the world do you put a man on trial for his life and for his freedom and the Constitution is the supreme law of the land under which all legal proceedings are supposed to be subordinate, and yet you say you are not allowed to argue matters of law. There is no parity in that. The prosecution is sure going to come in and argue matters of law. Basically, what they are saying is that we can come in and we can do what we want and you are not allowed to defend yourself. Now on the plus side, maybe there is a ray of bright light. I have had some people with some inside knowledge contact me and they have had some positive things to say about the judge, so whether or not this is going to bear out, I can’t say, I can’t predict. Right now my main concern is that Mr. Fincher’s health be allowed to improve and stabilize to the point where he can stand trial and at that point my next hope would be that he will be allowed to present a defense that is just and fair, and I have also heard some good things about his attorney, so I guess his attorney can be a real pitbull when he needs to be, a principled man, and so I have high hopes that Mr. Fincher’s arguments are sound. I have high hopes that Mr. Fincher’s lawyer is a competent attorney with his interests at heart. I have some hope that the judge is going to be fair-minded, and I have pretty much contempt for the U.S. attorneys, which again, I am sorry, trace back to the Bush administration who gun owners put in power for his persecution.

Aaron: I am listening to what you are saying about the Fincher case and the attorney who doesn’t want the Constitution to be argued in matters of law. As you know, JPFO has done some research in the past showing how the 1938 Nazi Gun Control Laws were used as a model for the 68 Gun Control Act. Now we fast forward and here we have a federal prosecutor saying that we can’t argue the Constitution and matters of law. It sounds like Nazism to me.

David, I want to thank you very much for being with us today. This has been Talkin’ to America. Our guest has been David Codrea. David, real quick, do you want to tell people again the address of your blog.

David: Yes, Aaron. Thank you so much. It is Thank you Aaron. I really enjoyed this. I appreciate the opportunity to speak to you.

Aaron: It is our pleasure and I am glad we had a chance to do it.

This has been Talkin’ to America. I am your host, Aaron Zelman, and remember, if you won’t defend your rights, don’t complain when you lose them.

Opinions expressed on this program do not necessarily reflect those of or its members. Talkin’ to America is a production of

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