All posts by Claire Wolfe

Poll: Are you in favor of national CCW reciprocity?

Assuming that the Trump administration is serious about draining the DC swamp (and we here at TZP disagree among ourselves on whether they’re serious or whether it’s even possible), at least some gun laws and regulations have got to change.

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (of Aaron Zelman’s home state of Wisconsin) has introduced a bill to kill the ATF. But as TZP-friend Kit Perez points out, this poses extreme dangers from the ruthless, corrupt agency at the same time it creates hopes.

Others would like to focus on sending the NFA or GCA ’68 to well-deserved obscurity.

Still others are putting their best expectations and hard work into the increasingly popular (and brilliantly named) Hearing Protection Act, which would remove suppressors from NFA status.

But one of the very biggest changes a lot of gun owners would like to see is legislation ensuring national CCW permit reciprocity. New Jovian Thunderbolt, on his popular gunblog, says if there can only be one pro-gun law included in the vast job of swamp draining, let it be this one.

Even if a reciprocity law didn’t bring all the benefits NJT hopes, there’s no doubt it would affect millions of gun owners and reduce the outrages that have been committed against innocent people who crossed state lines believing that their carry permit, like their drivers license, was valid anywhere.

Others (like yours truly) are suspicious of national reciprocity legislation for various reasons.

But given that a reciprocity bill probably has a decent chance of being passed by both houses of Congress and signed into law by President Trump, what do you think? Is it a good idea? A bad idea? And why?

Take the latest TZP poll at this link or below and tell us.


Torch a synagogue? No problem. It’s just expressing a political opinion.

In Germany, at least. A second court has now confirmed:

A German regional court in the city of Wuppertal affirmed a lower court decision last Friday stating that a violent attempt to burn the city’s synagogue by three men in 2014 was a justified expression of criticism of Israel’s policies.

Johannes Pinnel, a spokesman for the regional court in Wuppertal, outlined the court’s decision in a statement.

Three German Palestinians sought to torch the Wuppertal synagogue with Molotov cocktails in July, 2014. The local Wuppertal court panel said in its 2015 decision that the three men wanted to draw “attention to the Gaza conflict” with Israel. The court deemed the attack not to be motivated by antisemitism.

Now perhaps in a legal sense, the motivation shouldn’t (but probably does) matter. Attack a building because you hate its occupants or attack a building because you hate the policy of a country and the damage is the same — and in this case blessedly light. The concept of a “hate crime” is Orwellian on the face of it.

But Germany, of all nations, ought to recognize an attack on Jews and Judiasm when it sees one. To tell yourself — and the public — and the perpetrators — that torching a synagogue in Germany is a form of legitimate political protest against Israel is delusional. Either that or it’s excuse-making and enabling.


Poll: What will happen now to Bloomberg’s Nevada Question #1?

As John Lott reported just before Hanukkah:

Bloomberg’s Nevada ballot initiative eked out a win this November by less than one percentage point, and only because of the almost $20 million spent on it, amounting to an incredible $35.30 per vote. In Maine, the same initiative failed by eight percentage points despite equally unlimited spending.

The initiative, Question #1 on the ballot, was of course another of Bloomberg’s attempts to force gun purchasers to prove their innocence before possessing a firearm. It failed in every county of Nevada except Clark, home to Las Vegas, the state’s only major urban center. It looked as if the city people and the hoplophobic billionaire were going to force everyone else in the state to obey their will.

Then last week came much more cheerful news: the FBI refused to do the background checks and the state’s attorney general said he couldn’t implement the law.

The FBI insisted that states can’t dictate policy to it. According to Sebastian of Shall Not Be Questioned:

The issue is that Nevada is designated as a Point-of-Contact (POC) state, meaning that … they have a state background check system that is designated by the FBI to conduct background checks under the Brady Act. Bloomberg’s new law states that the checks have to be conducted by the FBI’s National Instant Check System. Given that Nevada is a POC state, the FBI will not conduct checks on behalf of Nevada. The law cannot be complied with, and is therefore completely unworkable and unenforceable.

And isn’t that a whopping huge mistake for Bloomberg to have spent $20 million on? But isn’t that also typical anti-gun ignorance and arrogance? Us? Need to know the law? But laws are only for the little people!

So. Currently, Nevadans don’t have to obey Michael Bloomberg after all. But we’re wondering what comes next. What will ultimately happen to Nevada Question #1? Will the terrible law die or will someone connive a means of imposing it on the people after all?

To weigh in with your opinion, take the newest TZP poll, either on the polling site or below.


Yeah. About that “active shooter” in Ohio today.

It’s hard to know whether to laugh or cry. Check out this headline just sent to me by our TZP colleague Nicki Kenyon:


Anyone who’s been watching knows by now that the only guns involved were the ones that finally removed the creepy little stabber from this earth. But the antis aren’t about to give up their “killer guns” so easily.

THREE TIMES this headline writer manages to insert a “gunman” who never existed into the story — and that’s even before the actual article. AND after they already knew he wasn’t using firearms.

That takes talent, folks. Hatred up the wahzoo toward guns and gun owners. Ignorance and carelessness on a vast scale. A deeply propagandized brain. But also a perverse, determined sort of talent.

(BTW, the headline is from a British publication, the Daily Record. They eventually changed the headline no doubt while dousing themselves with ice water to cool the deep burn of embarrassment.)


How dangerous is the alt-right to American Jews?

I didn’t vote for Donald Trump. Wouldn’t have if you’d have held a gun to my head. But it doesn’t take a die-hard Trump fan to see how abominably he — and his supporters — have been treated by the media, both before and since the election.

Every Trump voter is a mysogynistic, racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, gap-toothed Billy-Bob who can barely read, let alone understand political issues. And every Trump appointee or potential appointee is a slightly more educated version of the above. To hear the MSM tell it, Trump will soon unleash millions of militant Nazis on the U.S.

Already we can see that the handful of media mea culpas apologizing for biased election coverage and promising to do better were nothing but phony virtue signaling. The post-election coverage has, if anything, been even more despicable.

One needs hip waders to get through the BS.


That said, there absolutely is a foul, racist, and very definitely Jew-hating faction among the alt-right, and these people do feel invigorated and entitled following Trump’s election victory.

They consist not only of white nationalists, who’ve been around forever but have grown stronger and more angry in an era where we’ve all been told that white is a dirty word and that Caucasians should be ashamed even of existing.

But there’s also something more ominous, which for want of a better term I’d call Christian supremacists. These are people who try to pretend that so-called Western values are solely by (and ultimately for) Christians. They claim there’s absolutely no such thing as Judeo-Christian values. On the contrary, in their warped view, the very expression “Judeo-Christian values” is a conspiracy promulgated by anti-Christians. To hell with history and to hell with observable reality; in the view of these people, Christianity was born without other cultural or theological influences, and Christianity has by itself created the only worthwhile influences in Western culture.*

In particular the faux “Christian values” these supremacists tout were never influenced by, you know, those icky Jews.

Again, one needs hip waders to navigate the BS. But just as the MSM’s baloney appeals to a certain mentality, this smug, historically ignorant superiority, appeals strongly to people who’d rather spout holier-than-thou slogans than read history.


I joined, the brand new (still in beta) social network created by Andrew Torba to be a Twitter killer. The left has typically sneered at Gab, dismissing it as “Twitter for racists.” Torba and his family have been living under death threats.

Gab is actually exactly what Torba says it is: a platform for true, uncensored free speech for all points of view (very much unlike Twitter, which has recently purged hundreds, perhaps thousands, of accounts merely because their owners held right-wing opinions). The only “censorship” at Gab is done by individual users, who have the ability to mute users or words they don’t want to see.

However, Gab’s initial membership is overwhelmingly Trumpist, so right now Gab gives a pretty good look at the range of the alt-right.

And alas, my mute list consists largely of people who spout anti-Jewish rhetoric. I support their right to free speech; I just don’t want the stinky breath of their rantings washing over me.

While they’re a minority, they’re definitely part of the pro-Trump mix.


For what it’s worth I don’t foresee that either the white nationalists or their cousins the Christian supremacists are likely to turn into marching Nazi hordes. Already (following a creepy report in The Atlantic), Trump himself has slammed the alt-right hard. Other prominent people on the right have spoken out against them. Here’s Paul Joseph Watson, a star in the pro-Trump universe:


While I think he’s optimistic to say that the creeps had nothing to do with electing Trump, it’s great that people in the movement are recognizing these bigots for what they are and disassociating themselves from the worst.

Watson is definitely correct that the “new right” consists of every color and kind of person. (Another of the stars of the movement is Milo Yiannopoulis, a gay Jew banned from Twitter but welcomed elsewhere as a hero-provocateur. Yet another is a black sheriff.) Quite a few “gabs” recently posted have reminded Trump supporters that they have a responsibility to disclaim the views and deeds of the bigoted cretins among them.


The Jew-haters and racial dividers among the alt-right (and for that matter, among the left, which did so much to create the current climate) are always dangerous because, as a spokesperson for the U.S. Holocaust Museum points out, the Nazis’ Holocaust didn’t begin with killings, but with words.

And of course, with laws. Not likely that Trump, with his Jewish son-in-law, Jewish-convert daughter Ivanka, Jewish grandchildren, and his very non-bigoted views, is likely to implement or even tolerate the most poisonous alt-right creepitude.

Still, we owe it to ourselves, our friends, and our freedom, to make sure that the rising bigots are pushed back — with derision, with strong argument, with cultural marginalization. Even with arms, should it come to that unthinkable pass. If the bigots raise an army, or even a few isolated, terrorizing gangs, we should absolutely be prepared to exercise self- and community-defense against them. But we should never try to “disappear” them by censoring them; we should never sacrifice the First Amendment in their dubious honor.

Do those people have the potential to be dangerous to Jews and others? Hell, yes! But I don’t think we live in a country or a culture that’s going to allow scum like that to rise to the top.


We should also, while seeing their stories of grave alarm, never let the media turn our eyes away from a much more clear-and-present danger: Jews who want to impose big government, globalism, and disarment on their fellow religionists — and on us all. Those who don’t think that Jews — or anybody else — should be able to take up arms against tyranny or oppression.

Whatever else you can say about Donald Trump’s most unsavory supporters, you won’t find many of them wanting to disarm anybody.


*I think at this point I’m obligated to note that Christian supremacists don’t in any way represent the mainstream of Christianity or speak for Christians in general. But I’m putting that disclaimer in this footnote because I’m pretty sure that decent Christians, particularly decent Christians who’ve read both the bible and history, already know the creeps I’m talking about don’t stand for them.


Poll: Now that it’s going to be President Trump …

We’re testing the zeitgeist of these strange times. This month’s poll is about your plans and thoughts now that Donald Trump is president-elect.

You can take the poll below or at the above link.

We’d also like to hear your comments (on this post) about how you believe this election is likely to change the country or culture as a whole. Or will it change anything? What are you personally going to do? How do you believe a Trump presidency will change politics in your state, region, or locality?


Robert Avrech on Jews and guns

Author and script writer Robert Avrech was an old friend and colleague of Aaron Zelman’s. Unlike Aaron, he is still with us and still going strong.

Although he wrote this piece a month ago, it’s timeless and a must-read.

A sample:

Before our son Ariel Chaim ZT”L passed away in 2003 at the age of twenty-two, he and I spent a good deal of time discussing the Second Amendment, the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

Ariel was amazed that so many American Jews – overwhelmingly liberal and secular – aligned themselves with the advocates of gun control, in reality a movement to banish the private ownership of guns by lawful citizens.

During the Los Angeles riots of 1992, my wife Karen and I, Ariel and Offspring #2, were inside a film theater. Abruptly, an angry mob congregated outside; soon they were trying to break down the doors. Trapped inside, we were all terrified. I held Offspring#2 in my arms; she shivered like a frightened rabbit. Karen gripped Ariel’s hand.

“Don’t worry,” we were assured, “the police will be here soon.”

But the police did not arrive that night, nor did they protect the city from arson, looting and murder. In fact, we watched in disbelief as news cameras captured images of police officers standing idly by while looters gleefully committed their crimes.

A few days later, I purchased a pistol, a 1911 .45 ACP.

I bought a gun because I realized that the day will most certainly again arrive when civil order breaks down and we are flung into a cruel Hobbesian landscape.

Here’s my three part series on the LA Riots, Jew Without a Gun.

As Ariel’s conservative political opinions took form, he logically and ethically fell on the side of legal gun ownership. But because he was first and foremost a Torah Jew, first and foremost a Talmudic scholar, Ariel placed gun ownership into the framework of Jewish law, halacha.

Ariel wanted to put down his ideas on paper. Unfortunately, he never had the opportunity to write an article on halacha and gun ownership.

And so I humbly jot down a few of Ariel’s ideas. This article is not meant to be comprehensive. It is but a snapshot of our discussions. Any mistakes in this article are mine and mine alone. I write from an imperfect memory, from conversations with my beloved son held years ago, and from the few notes he managed to scribble while sick and undergoing chemotherapy and radiation.


Poll: What do YOU do after the election?

Starting with today’s poll, we’ll be going to a monthly, rather than weekly, polling schedule. We figure that lets us better cover big, important issues.

We may have bonus polls occasionally, but otherwise look for a poll about mid-month, every month.

To make up for any poll-addiction withdrawal symptoms, today’s poll is a double:

What will you do if Trump wins the presidential election?


What will you do if Clinton wins the presidential election?

Both polls are below, or you can use the links above.

Each poll has similar questions, but with a few that are customized to the particular candidate. Please answer both polls no matter which candidate you support or if you support neither of them — and select as many answers as apply.


About the Israeli Mauser rifle contest

We are very sorry to announce that we’ve had to call off the Israeli Mauser rifle contest. Refunds are going out to the entrants now.

Unfortunately, interest in the competition was not enough even to cover the cost of the rifle. In addition, contest rules were widely misunderstood; we received quite a few essays without entry fees and entry fees without essays.

Things might have gone better had we been able to structure this as a pure raffle, with no mini-essay required. Unfortunately, that would have been illegal for us.

If you entered, you should be receiving a refund soon. PayPal refunds are already going out and refunds of snail-mailed entry fees will follow. Thank you very much for your participation and for the wonderful, heartfelt reasons you expressed for wanting to win this firearm.


Catastrophes and second chances

Two wondrous news stories this week got me thinking about our upcoming — and disastrously non-wondrous — presidential election.

Neither of the stories had the slightest thing to do with electoral politics. Quite the opposite. They are rather amazing “feelgood” stories. Neither has anything to do with the U.S. or politics at all. But both are about the triumph of individuals or small groups over decades, or even millennia, of adversity.

First is the tale of Ysrael Kristal. He just celebrated his bar mitzvah.

He also just got named as the world’s oldest man by Guinness. Yes, he finally celebrated his bar mitzvah at the age of 113.

As a young boy, Polish-born Yisrael Kristal looked forward to turning 13 when he could celebrate his bar mitzvah, the Jewish coming-of-age ritual. But that was 1916 and World War I crushed that hope. Little did he know that he would wait a century for that ceremony.

Kristal barely survived the next world war as a prisoner in Auschwitz. After WWII, he rebuilt his life in Israel, raising a family and opening a business. Earlier this year, he was recognized by Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest man.

Some accomplishment, eh? And after so much tragedy and loss.

Then there are the Lemba people of Zimbabwe.

They are black Africans. Physically, they resemble other sub-Saharan tribespeople. But their own legends and traditions have told them they are Jews. Part of the Diaspora. From Israel. And what do you know? A few years ago, DNA analysis backed up those legends.

Lemba men carry the Cohen Modal Haplotype, a set of Y chromosome characteristics typical of the Jewish priesthood, at about the same rate as that of major Jewish populations. For many, the genetic findings validated the Lemba’s connection to Judaism, further inspiring their quest to reconnect with the faith. Their relationship with the larger Jewish community is now helping them preserve their culture and look out for vulnerable community members just as Lemba traditions once did.

And now they’re building their first synagogue with help from a U.S.-based group that serves isolated, emerging, or returning Jewish communities. This and other help come at a perfect time, when the tribe has been struggling to take care of itself and its members.

So after 100 years Ysrael Kristal celebrates his coming of age and after thousands of years, the Lemba discover their true identity and begin to build a spiritual base to match their cultural and genetic one.


But why would their heartwarming stories bring me to think of the no-good-news election lying less than a month ahead of us?

I’ll get to that in a second, but first I have to say I’m speaking only for myself when I talk politics. The Zelman Partisans as an organization takes no position on the presidential race (or any other). A couple of our board members are Trump supporters. A few more of us here on the blog consider Trump to be, shall we say slightly untrustworthy on Second Amendment issues and all other issues of life, liberty, and the universe. No one hereabouts is insane enough to v*te for Hillary Clinton because even though she lies about everything else, we believe her 100% when she says she wants the “Australian option” on our guns and gun rights.

But I think it’s clear to most everybody that this election is a rolling catastrophe, and that — whoever wins, whatever happens — the catastrophe will continue to roll long beyond the inauguration of the next president of the U.S. We are in angry, desperate, perilous times — and may only be at the beginning of them.

Maybe these perils will pass and we’ll emerge safe and prosperous in a few years. But maybe we’ll end up in WWIII. Or a deeper-than-ever depression. Maybe we’ll end up with either “left-wing” or “right-wing” brownshirts in the streets. Curbs on free speech. Border walls that fence us in but fail to fence others out. Increasing surveillance, with increasing “security” breaches that leave us far less secure. No matter who wins, we’ll almost certainly end up with further restrictions on our gun rights (perhaps mild, perhaps draconian). We are already so polarized that it’s certain that the losing side will nurse grudges while the winning side gloats and tries to wield power by executive diktat. Faction will continue all-out-war with faction and any illusion of the rule of law or respect for the poor old battered Constitution will be shattered. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, the indomitable bureaucracy will march on, controlling life more and more — as it always does, no matter what party imagines it’s in power.

You can argue all you want about which side is less bad. But you can’t credibly argue that our immediate political future looks good.

We are in for hard times. And our freedoms — any of them, probably all of them — are going to suffer.

Quite possibly in the next few years and beyond, we’ll have moments, and more than moments, years, maybe decades, in which we lose both freedom and hope. We’ll despair. Some of us will be tempted to surrender. Friends will betray friends. Causes will implode. Losses will pile up. Injustices will pierce us to the heart. Good people will be punished for harmless deeds. Innocent people will be forced to turn outlaw. Many will suffer. Many will break down in grief.

So for those moments, I point you back to Ysrael Kristal and the Lemba Jews of Zimbabwe. They were lost but now are found. They suffered but ultimately triumphed.

And so bloody damn well will the keepers of freedom and the defenders of individual life.