An In The Trenches Approach To RKBA

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I like the idea in concept but I don't like that it would focus solely on California. I would like to see something that helps in all 50 states. When you think about it, it may be more financially feasible to do it that way. More people would be likely to buy in if it helped their home state, and the other states would have fewer issues to spend money on. The bulk of the money would still probably go to CA, NY, NJ, IL, etc, but I think their would be more money to play with.
Ironclad said:
I like the idea in concept but I don't like that it would focus solely on California. I would like to see something that helps in all 50 states.

A win in California would help all 50 states--perhaps more than several wins in all the other states. Historically, national trends start in CA. What happens there eventually happens in other states. CA is a stronghold state for the antis. Attack and win there, even take back some or most of what has been lost there, and then let that trend spread.
I understand that but how many prospective members will you lose who have written off California and are more concerned with their own state?
Hopefully none will be lost because they will have read, understood and agreed with the strategic goals before they join. :scrutiny:
Technique of selecting critical races, and focusing large $ donations to the conservative opponent, is the strategy of Americans for Common Sense Solutions. It is run by a guy named Chris Stenberg who is a good guy, out of Providence RI. It is basically a bulldog of a conservative "hit-PAC" and I mean that in a very nice and respectful way. It might be worth checking him out, because it sounds like you are trying to do the same thing, only for RKBA, not a broad range of conservative issues.
I'm glad to see this thread have some fresh blood. I figured it would die off soon but I'm gladdened.

The Trust would start out in California, and if it bore fruit I would likely start up additional ones. As I started them up I would use the online presence with its forums to passively solicit membership from preexisting members in the California Trust. No mailers, just Forum posts discussing the new Trust and what. We have to start somewhere and California being a may issue state when it comes to CWPs and the sheriffs being a big obstacle to concealed carry, it to me makes sense to start there in part as a way of gaining likely publicity, and a setup like this will need publicity in order to grow and have an influence like how I want it to have.

I'm picking California because of how often I've seen others, and myself, at times just want to give up on California. The problem with that is that is what the antis are counting on. For us to keep playing defensive and not go after them. Imagine Bloomberg and his ilk having to pick between financing antis in California or Colorado. The less money he would end up putting in Colorado would make a bigger difference than the money he put in California.

Plus California is a large state with lots of gun owners who feel abandoned and helpless. Start giving them a sense of belonging, comraderie, and a chance to participate in changing things. I think it would opening a tap of potentially valuable members.

Also I've covered this idea in another threat, post, that I would eventually have the Trust setup an outreach program to have folks who might otherwise be financially unable to buy a firearm and ammo (financial barrier to participation) be provided with a firearm after they performed a hundred and twenty hours of public service in a year (suicide hotline, feeding the poor, cleaning up parks and natural environments, etc.). Because of that I would want the Trust to remain state specific.

Once the model was proven, I'm sure more intelligent and successful people would start them up as well. And I wouldn't just stop with California. Next I'd go after Oregon (sits on the edge of going to antis it looks like to me). So starting with California, would be just that, a start; not an end.

The financial side of the trust would just be the start. The social media side of it would be incredibly valuable as well creating a means for members to actively organize, share information and ideas, and possibly hold public events that would lead to public outreach and positive relationship development with the public.

Take on the antis at the ballot box, reach out to fence sitters, and finance legal actions we need to take. It'd be a big undertaking, but the more of us doing this, the less the antis will be able to just freely wage their agenda against us.

Zorro45, thanks for the info. It is something very important to consider.

I've decided I'm going to launch a website in September (hopefully) to get the process live. By then I should have the Trust fully drafted, proofed, researched, and ready (it's already outlined at two hundred pages and will probably be closer to four hundred by the time it is finished given its activist scope and focus).

Please keep contributing to this thread guys. It's providing me with a lot of insight.
I understand that but how many prospective members will you lose who have written off California and are more concerned with their own state?
Ironclad, I understand the concern and spent much time deliberating on it. It's partly why I am keeping litigation support as part of it so that way contributions would also have chance of influencing national aspects and issues of RKBA.

I've heard from many of a liberal that once something starts in California, it eventually ends up everywhere in America. So someone sitting in Virginia might not see the sense in contributing their three dollars or visiting the website set up for the Trust and clicking on pay per click ads (so the Trust's assets grew). But maybe someone in Georgia wishing to give California antis hell might contribute their three dollars once a year and perhaps what money they got for scraping their beer and soda cans. As well as writing articles on what they knew about gun history and such along side gun reviews and their opinions on various pieces of legislation. And maybe even visiting the site a few times a week to click on the website's various ads to see what advertisers were offering (and growing the Trust's assets to offer more political activism and public outreach).

So maybe it's not a perfect idea Ironclad, but if it works, can you imagine what it would mean for the RKBA community? Setup to empower every member regardless of wealth (once they contributed $3[I've started altering some points to reduce the barrier to membership and voting powers]), creed, race, religion, etc.. Every member having one vote that counted just as much the next. Able to take part in setting the agenda, and feeling their voice truly heard and appreciated.

Oh what great things we could accomplish.
I still think that you are needlessly limiting the potential size and power of your trust by limiting it to a single state, but I like your idea and will probably participate anyway. It would definitely be satisfying to turn California around. I also really like your idea of subsidizing firearms for those unable to afford them. I have always wanted to find a way to arm every law abiding citizen who needs / wants a firearm.
I still think that you are needlessly limiting the potential size and power of your trust by limiting it to a single state, but I like your idea and will probably participate anyway. It would definitely be satisfying to turn California around. I also really like your idea of subsidizing firearms for those unable to afford them. I have always wanted to find a way to arm every law abiding citizen who needs / wants a firearm.
Ironclad, all your points are valid. Look at it this way for a second though. Say I get a hundred thousand people to sign up for the first two years of the Trust's existence. And they never visit the website for the trust and click on the ads (thus no ad revenue).

I'm looking at only charging $3 per person to have membership and voting powers in the Trust (because if you are truly pro-RKBA and you can't find three dollars worth of nasty change floating around your pockets, house, or car....really?). So that's only $150k as far as the trust is concerned for carrying out activism. The remaining 150k goes into the corpus part of the trust and at that amount the ROI will be quite little and not enough to qualify for a Corporate Trust ROI.

So the Trust then has to make a big impression, gain public awareness, and show it can do something with only a $150k if I'm lucky. Spread that out over fifty states and it is not just going to happen. Hit California's sheriffs' races and it would stand a chance of making some people turn their heads and gaining some publicity.

Once a working model is up and running then we could take it to Colorado, Connecticut, New York, Illinois, Virginia (still fairly pro-RKBA but why take a chance when the antis think they are winning), with individual trusts. Joining each trust would only cost $3 because the membership numbers would ultimately be the most valuable thing and each trust would not require a separate website. Thus the website would become the rallying point for all the Trusts I guess you could say.

Then possibly each member might click on the ad revenue setups to bring a little extra money to the trusts, once or twice a month if they found an ad interesting. Thus growing the trust even more.
with individual trusts. Joining each trust would only cost $3 because the membership numbers would ultimately be the most valuable thing and each trust would not require a separate website. Thus the website would become the rallying point for all the Trusts I guess you could say.

So, nationally, you would have a network of independent state trusts and for $3 someone could join the trust for the state he/she is interested in helping most; or join multiple trusts at $3 each with voting rights in each trust? Or am I missing what you are saying?
"So, nationally, you would have a network of independent state trusts and for $3 someone could join the trust for the state he/she is interested in helping most; or join multiple trusts at $3 each with voting rights in each trust? Or am I missing what you are saying?"

I'd set it up as where the members could join multiple trusts at $3 each. I'd just lead with California. As I'm seeing it so far I would have to be the initial Trustee. I wouldn't be paid anything for my work, it would be purely volunteer, and the trust would be setup so there was no paid Trustee unless that person was a Corporate Trustee who's duty it would be to grow the investment corpus of the Trust. There would be limits on who the Corporate Trustee could be and it would require a majority vote of beneficiaries in order to elect the Corporate Trustee who would be elected for up to four years at a time. Essentially the Corporate Trustee doesn't make any money unless it makes the Trust money, that's typically how it works.

Start with California, get it moving and positive, then look to add more states building on California's success. The idea to be building off a known model that the members would hopefully believe in and thus a year later vote to either include another state or contribute another three dollars to create a whole new Trust.

After the first two years there would be an election for a new trustee so long as twenty-five percent or more of the beneficiaries sent in notarized demands for an election, unless the Trustee engaged in gross mismanagement or misappropriation (where a jail sentence usually follows). If the Trustee engaged in gross mismanagement (idle or wasting money) or misappropriation then it would be an election based on a majority vote of the beneficiaries who voted.

Running the California Trust would be a big deal to begin with, which I'm doing for free, then I doubt I would have much more energy or time for another Trust. So I'd likely have to get the California Trust managed by a trustworthy competent person willing to work five to six hours a week for free that is able to get elected by the beneficiaries.

A big part of this is ensuring the beneficiaries have a legitimate voice and influence on the Trust's activities without opening the door for the antis to hijack it (which i'm in the middle of playing with the language so to speak). Let folks decide if they want to be in for a penny or in for a pound so to speak. Save up all your beer and coke cans (and unreloadable brass, and maybe your dirty filthy pennies you typically just throw away) and sell them for scrap as a way of making your contributions to the trust.

With that said I am toying with the idea of having a part in the Trust whereby a two-thirds vote of all beneficiaries (not just voting beneficiaries) would allow for the adoption of another state per annual election (limited to voting in one state a year) which would allow the Trustee to appoint an assistant (who works for free) to help with the Trust's activities in each state. Meaning for every new state, there is a new appointed assistant.

The idea is: "Can we get a million people organized for as little as three dollars a person, then never ask for another dime and then have an ongoing RKBA organization that accomplishes things?"

From there the Trust would organize to have quarterly publishings to its members covering what the Trust is doing, news in the RKBA movement, and gun product reviews. Yes the trust will already have a web presence, forum and a blog. Ad space would be sold to advertisers with the intent of covering the distribution and adding more money to the trust. There would also be the web presence where members could post blogs, articles, etc. about RKBA, gun related legislation, etc. and possibly also see what online ads were being hosted on the site that were pay-per-click, and perhaps click on one or two a month and as an aside also driving the asset growth of the Trust.

I'm looking at it from all angles. I don't want to alienate those who would want to grow the Trust model for their own states, but I don't want it to be such a monster thing it couldn't be done with just volunteers. There are lots of people who want to volunteer for the RKBA movement, they just need an outlet that won't break the bank or put their wallets at risk, that will still be appreciably productive.
Still interested, and waiting to send payment...
Stevek, I appreciate it but it's going to be sometime before I have something in place. I'm working on the Trust but there's a lot to it from just the legal side of things. Plus I just got the info on campaigning in California and the legal yes and no that goes with it. This will not be an overnight thing unfortunately. Plus I want there to be more input on it.

Also a website has to be built for the Trust that I'm going to personally front the money for, and I need to get articles together for the Trust as well for the blog, article, SEO side of things so folks can get an idea of what the Trust is about and the people that will potentially belong to it. The website is going to be a big part of the member experience with blogs, forums, and articles that all come from the members.

Then it has to be made clear that this will not be a charity but a Trust, essentially a business venture. Because if you don't have a legal charity entity in place it is against the law to solicit for something that can be deemed to be a charity. So I also have to make sure the Trust has various articles in it, i.e. publishing a quarterly periodical to members in which companies are solicited for advertising fees, that paint it not as a charity but as a business venture in essence which allows it a great deal more flexibility in action and scope.

So I appreciate the enthusiasm, I do. But the first brick hasn't even been put in place, so I can't really accept drywall if you catch my drift. In the meantime if you want to help without laying out any money, PM me so we can discuss what articles you may be able to contribute to the eventual website to help grow the Trust's web presence. They can be about virtually anything from gun reviews of your personal firearms, to shooting ranges near you that you like, to historical bits about various firearms that you like (I'm going to an article on Tokarevs for example).

It might seem odd to have articles for the Trust's website but in order to get a public presence, traffic needs to be driven to the website and in order to do that you need articles. So that way maybe a young twenty something wanting info Glocks might stumble upon the website, read an article or blog about a member's review of their Glock and decide to visit the website a couple times a month, maybe eventually joining the Trust for $3, clicking on one or two ad revenue driving ads on the website a month, and improving the SEO ranking of the website with their traffic.

When it finally goes live I'll be sure to post about it on THR, trust me. I'm getting $2,000 in place to try and make it a reality (what else was I going to do with the money, just buy more guns, send it to the NRA along with my yearly membership renewal, and still feel like I wasn't really doing anything proactive for RKBA). I've got a web design contact who can set the website up for five years and do the layout and design (with the blog, forum, and article parts) for $1,500 he's telling me (he'd also be joining) and the other $500 I'll have for unexpected expenses in the course of creating the website.

By the time the website launches I plan on have six of my own articles done for the website and fiancee plans on having four done (i.e. buying her first gun as a woman, why she prefers semis over revolvers and why revolvers are not always the best option she has found, why she likes .357 magnum revolvers, why women shouldn't be afraid of .45 caliber guns). I figure each article will be about five thousand words each at a minimum, have plenty of outbound links citing various things so they establish themselves as a information source provider.

With that said stevek, till it's ready, till it's live, the best things you can do is keep showing your love on THR and maybe working on a few articles to contribute once it goes live and you are a member. Thanks.
I would advise you to consult an attorney familiar with 501c3, 501c4, PACs and super PACs. You start messing around with elections, pushing for or against candidates, there are a ton of state and federal laws. There's required reporting. In short, this is a really good way to land youself in federal prison.

I can see absolutley no purpose in forming a trust that is not far better served with a 501c3 or c4.

And before anyone donates or becomes a trustee in such a complex legal instrument as a trust, I would very carefully research your exposure if this trust purports plans to involve itself in electioneering activity. Most people have no idea what a nasty legal minefield that is.
Thinking further, c4s have enormous flexibility. Most of the limitations for a c4 (for your purposes) will hinge around electioneering activity. Lobbying activity in support of the issue, lawsuits, and *some* electioneering activity are all a go. Why not form a c4 and craft the bylaws to provide the membership-ownership levels you seek?
Siglite, I've been getting up to speed on the legalities of the election part and all of that. It involves a lot of research time, that's why I'm thinking not till September before all the parts are worked out. From where I'm standing now, the formation of Super PACs by the Trust may need to be a power the Trust has so as to create some degree of insulation. Also the use of activist funds to hire appropriate California attorneys for the legal side of things.

I'm drafting some letters to go out to the powers that be regarding election dos and don't in California to make sure there wouldn't be any issues. From what I've gleamed from various legal research, you can actively campaign for a candidate without coordinating with their office but might want to limit it to post signs and very neutral brochures that just make the voting public aware of the candidate. When you start contacting the candidate directly the waters start to muddy.

It's going to take awhile before the Trust is setup to avoid breaking the law like a nun who's taken a vow silence avoids cursing out loud (not an Irish nun lol). I've got to do legal research, read up on rules, laws, and regulations, etc. etc. etc..

I could just go the Super PAC route but it doesn't have that legacy staying power I want to be there.

Thanks Siglite for your points and suggestions. I'm not ignoring them, I'm working on how to get around and comply with them while still maintaining the Trust. Again thanks.
Another tactic to consider is one I've seen in another state that is now being used in my own, against the RKBA. Various groups are picking a focal point in a very safe district.

Let me build a hypotetical.

Let's call him Senator Smith, who is a state senator in the state of Pennsyltucky. Senator Smith, if wants to, can stay in office forever, because he's entrenched and he votes with his district's values. You see, Senator Smith is one of maybe five or six openly gay members of his legislature. He represents a district which has a high concentration of GBLT residents. Senator Smith isn't going anywhere. That district will re-elect him over and over again until he dies. Kind of like Dianne Feinstein. She's in forever. She represents and votes the values of San Francisco California. Senator Smith is kind of like that. He's not going anywhere.

So, throughout the country, various groups decide they want to change the laws of our fictional state of Pennsyltucky. They don't like Pennsyltucky's gun laws, among other issues. So, nationwide, they hammer their networks. Donate whatever you can to Senator Smith of Pennsyltucky. Suddenly, millions of dollars from all over the country are flowing in to this state senator's campaign coffers. Millions. Tens, and hundreds of thousands of interested donors are throwing anywhere from $5 to $1000 into his campaign, and he's not even up for reelection for another four years. What does Senator Smith do with this money? He funds campaigns of like minded candidates in less solid districts. And after an election cycle or two, we no longer have one anti-gun vote in the Pennsyltucky senate represented by Senator Smith, but two in the senate, and five more in the house. You see, those people owe their seats to Senator Smith's campaign coffers.

I'm aware of one state where this has happened. It's being attempted in mine. These are the types of tactics we face.

The key of course, for the other side, is that they must be able to trust Senator Smith to do "the right thing" (which from our perspective is the exact wrong thing) with their money. But the takeaway point is that one like-minded state representative becomes a conduit for nationwide funding concentrated on one or two races in the targeted state. It is a broad funnel with a very concentrated target zone.

There is no reason such a tactic could not be used BY us, since it is being used AGAINST us. The problem is that if you were to poll THR's membership and ask, "where should we do that? What districts, in what state?" You'd probably get about 700 different answers. How the other side is getting around that, I'm not sure. I'm not tuned in to their messages and social networking as finely as I should be.

Fun food for thought.
While these Trusts, and gathering money to fight "Anti's" may make a dent, there is another thing that we could use a forum such as this to accomplish. We have a two party system- Democrats and Republicans. But, regardless of party affiliation, there is a problem with both parties. People arrive for their first term as a Senator or Representative and they just know that they are going to be the one to change things, to improve on gridlock, to truly represent the people that put them there. Only problem is, they immediately run into a brick wall. The "career politicians" have all of the power. They have the say over what committees the freshmen class can serve on. So, in order to get on their desired committee, the first thing that the freshmen class has to do is start making concessions to their ideals. That is the beginning of the end.

The biggest problem we have are "Career Politicians" that get too many perks, too many alliances with Lobbyists. They all end up serving the Lobbyists instead of the People. Only way to eliminate this problem is to eliminate incumbents. So, my suggestion is that we need to vote "non-incumbent" in every local, state and federal election. Congress will never approve term limits, and voting against any and all incumbents is the only way to fix this broken system.

Vote your conscience in the primary's to try to get the best new candidates that you feel stand for your values, but in the general elections, vote to fire people. This will cost us some good ones initially, but in the long run, we will get back to our Senators and Representatives working for us.
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