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MILLER: Democratic front group hyped as hunters by media in gun control fight

Politico story claim gun owners support Obama’s ‘universal background checks’

- The Washington Times - Friday, April 5, 2013

The liberal media will do anything to pressure lawmakers to support President Obama's gun-control agenda.

Politico published a story Wednesday with this headline: "Hunting Group Wants Background Checks." The story gave the false impression that the millions of hunters in the U.S. support Mr. Obama's push for "universal background checks."

That is way off target. In fact, 31 well-known hunting and conservation groups sent a letter to Capitol Hill Thursday expressing opposition to intrusion by the federal government into private firearm transfers.

Politico only cites one small group in its story, Bull Moose Sportsmen, which claims 5,000 members. The story gives no context for the size of this group in relation to other hunting advocacy groups, nor its prominence in the community. The single poll cited in the Politico story is one commissioned by the group itself and claims 72 percent of hunters support "criminal background checks with some exceptions."

None of the major hunting groups which represent the millions of law-abiding sportsmen was mentioned, nor the polling of those members.

In fact, Bull Moose Sportsmen is a fringe organization run by Democratic activists that has been rejected from membership into the major gun and hunting groups' umbrella organization because it refuses to reveal its funding sources.

The American Wildlife Conservation Partners (AWCP) is a consortium of 42 organizations, including major groups such as Safari Club International, Ducks Unlimited, National Wildlife Turkey Federation, National Rifle Association and the National Shooting Sports Foundation. The groups together represent 6 million individual members.

Members of AWCP tell me that Bull Moose has been denied entry into their organization because it refused to reveal its mysterious funding sources.

According to some public filings, the "non-partisan nonprofit organization" gave $17,000 in the 2012 federal election, and all of it went to Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado. It spent $117,540 in support of Mr. Bennet in the 2010 cycle. The group raised $354,228 in 2011 and spent $295,863.

While calling itself "nonpartisan," Bull Moose Sportsmen is run by Democrats. Co-Founder Gaspar Perricone, who told Politico that, "Background checks fall within the ethics of responsible gun ownership," is a former staffer for Sen. Mark Udall, Colorado Democrat. Politico also ran an op-ed by Mr. Perricone on Thursday entitled, "Hunters Chart Middle Ground on Guns." The other co-founder of Bull Moose, Tim Mauck, was Mr. Udall's finance director and was paid $4,743 by the senator's campaign in 2012.

The real hunting groups do not want private transfers of firearms to be subject to government checks. On Thursday, most of the groups in the AWCP coalition signed a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to offer a five-point plan that would address the problem of gun violence.

Among the suggestions is to improve the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System so that it can effectively prevent access to firearms by those not legally qualified to possess them without criminalizing private transfers.

To make their collective position clear, they wrote that that, "We oppose unnecessary restrictions of our ability to attain and possess legal firearms and that have no foundation in addressing the factors that led [the Newtown] tragedy or like tragedies."

The anti-gun media can slant its coverage to support Mr. Obama's agenda, however hunters have been giving their guns to friends and family members for generations and don't want to have to get Uncle Sam's approval to do so now.

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