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Home > Alerts & Updates > Alert for 5/21/2013: Why Would the USSC Chair Privately Lobby Against HB 76 S1?

Why Would the USSC Chair Privately Lobby Against HB 76 S1?

(Alert for 5/21/13): UT Gun Rights has presented a very different picture of gun rights battles in Utah.  We understand if some of our claims seem tough to swallow because they contradict the political storylines of many elected officials and "pro-gun" lobbyists.

Our objective, however, is to continue exposing the political charade being played with your rights until you are convinced of the true nature of your enemies.  Such realizations are essential if gun owners are to save their rights from extinction.

In a recent flier we prepared for a pro-gun rally, we wrote:

"False Friends Tell You Smooth Lies!  Realize that a fundamental tactic of the anti-gun lobby is to manufacture false friends [for you]. Always be apprehensive about those who tell you things you want to hear."

What did we mean by that?  Consider, as an example, W. Clark Aposhian, Chairman of the Utah Shooting Sports Council (USSC), which, according to its own website, touts itself as follows:

"We operate as a kind of state-level NRA [National Rifle Association], lobbying the Utah Legislature on behalf of gun owners. We work closely with the NRA and other gun rights organizations on legislative issues at the state level."

Aposhian and USSC were repeatedly quoted as being staunchly in favor of HB 76 S1 (Carry "Unloaded" Firearms Concealed):

"Clark Aposhian is the Chairman of the Utah Shooting Sports Council. Even though he teaches permit classes, Aposhian said he will support the bill.  'We find that its a very tiny step in legislation, but a huge step in personal rights,' said Aposhian, 'We believe that the right to keep and bear arms means just that the right to bear firearms. A concealed firearm permit goes against the general interpretation of the right to keep and bear arms.'"
Source: "House Bill 76 Would Allow Utahns to Carry a Concealed Weapon without a Permit," by Andrea Smardon, KUER, Jan. 22, 2013

"Gun rights activists expressed frustration with the veto. 'We are disappointed in the veto. This was a tiny step,' Clark Aposhian, president of the Utah Shooting Sports Council, said of the legislation.  He said his group will work with lawmakers to determine whether a special session to override the veto might be in the works."
Source: "Governor vetoes concealed-carry weapons permit bill," by Antone Clark, Standard-Examiner, March 22, 2013.

The Utah Shooting Sports Council also publicly endorsed House Bill 76 on its own website and via email alerts to its members.

Thanks to timely tips and another citizen GRAMA request, however, Aposhian appears to exhibit two very different faces.  Below is a transcript of a March 15, 2013 communication between Aposhian and Mike Mower, governor Herbert's Deputy for Community Outreach:

"W. Clark Aposhian: Mike, I have just spoken with Bob Templeton.  Bob is the owner of the Crossroads of the west Gun shows.  They are based in Utah.  I believe they are the biggest gun show in the country.  Bob was also [able] to participate in the recent meetings with Joe Biden recently and sat right next to him.  Bob added his thoughts to the pro gun side of the debate.  My point is he is a well respected member of the pro gun community.  He is recognized in Utah and across the country.  While we both happened to be at an event in California this weekend and he stopped me.  He stated he was strongly against HB76 for its unintended consequences that have nothing to do with the items I communicated to you.  I asked him if he would be comfortable relaying this to the Governor but he wanted to speak with you first.  Please call me at 801-560-4836.  I'll give you his number and tell you a bit more about him."

"Mike Mower: Thanks Clark.  I'll share this information with the Governor."

"Wait! Clark's a concealed carry instructor, but secretly against constitutional carry?"

"I could learn a thing or two from you fellas in Utah!"

This communication represents another view of the sordid political theater we have been describing, and which infests all levels of Utah politics and government.  Here are a few questions to ponder:

1) If Aposhian was strongly supportive of HB 76, why would he facilitate communication between the governor and Bob Templeton who was a strong opponent of the legislation? Plainly Templeton's role as a "well respected member of the pro gun community" would tend to give pro-gun "credibility" to a veto of HB 76.  Do Aposhian and Templeton represent you?

2) What other "items" did Aposhian communicate to Mower?  Were these "items" also in opposition to HB 76?

3) How do the other board members of USSC feel about Aposhian's activities?

4) Do the other board members of USSC see any significant problem or discrepancy between their public message and this communication?

5) If USSC "...operate[s] as a kind of state-level NRA, lobbying the Utah Legislature on behalf of gun owners," and "...work[s] closely with the NRA and other gun rights organizations on legislative issues at the state level," what does this say about the NRA's true level of support for HB 76, and bills like it?

6) Why precisely would Bob Templeton, the mentioned owner of the Crossroads of the West, oppose HB 76, and if he is so staunchly opposed, why would he willingly resort to such a backdoor method of communicating his opposition?  Why not share those "unintended consequences" with all of us?

Appropriate Actions

Invite Clark Aposhian, the rest of the USSC board, the NRA, and Bob Templeton to respond.  Here is their contact information:

* Clark Aposhian, Chair of the USSC board, conveniently provided his phone number in the aforementioned now-public communication (801-560-4836).  To visit his Facebook page, click here.

* To see the rest of the USSC board membership, click here. To fill out the USSC contact form, click here.  To comment on the USSC Facebook page, click here.

* Brian Judy, NRA-ILA Utah State Liaison, is available at 916-446-2455 and brianjudy26@aol.com

* Charles Cunningham, NRA Director of State and Local Affairs, is available at 703-267-1228 and chuckc@visi.net

* Bob Templeton's Crossroads of the West Gun Show can be reached at 801-544-9125 and info@crossroadsgunshows.com.  To visit their Facebook page, click here.

We invite you to share your interactions with us at info@utgunrights.com or on our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/UtGunRights


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