Adam Kraut is currently trying to put his bid in for this coming year’s election for the NRA’s Board of Directors. Adam is a lawyer who specializes in firearm laws and is a very active member in the gun community. It was really cool getting to sit down and chat with him for a little bit, especially since The Gun Collective is one of the YouTube channels that helped get me into firearms.
If you’re looking for people to vote for this coming election, or you want to see some serious change inside of the NRA, you’re going to want to check Adam Kraut out. At the end of the interview, I will be putting the links on how you can get in touch with him, and how you can follow along with what he’s doing.
Everyone knows you from the legal brief, how did you become a part of the legal brief and The Gun Collective?
Well,Jon and I had been friends for at least 8 years and we’d actually known each other from cars before gun stuff. I knew Jon before The Gun Collective was a thing. He had started doing his channel which was Chaos311Clarity where he did reviews and things like that. He started The Gun Collective then and the Legal Brief was really just a result of a Facebook rant. I was tired of bad information being perpetuated by the internet behind gun shop counters. I worked in a gun shop, I saw it first hand where customers were repeating stuff that was very clearly false, things that had been shown to be false with just a Google search… and yet that stuff was happening still. It was just kind of me complaining, I told Jon I had an idea, and the next week we were filming the Legal Brief.
How long have you been involved with firearms? Has it been something you’ve always been passionate about?
Kind of. So, I grew up in a house without guns. My first exposure to firearms was through boyscouts at Camp Horseshoe which was with a bolt action .22lr Marlin that had peep sights on it. After that it was a 12ga shotgun shooting trap down there.
Is that the one in the picture you posted on Instagram a couple days ago?
Uh, no, that picture was early 2000s and it was buddy and me shooting at a club here. But there is one I posted sometime last year that was a picture of me with Bill Hess. He was really active in the camp but I can’t remember what his role was. He was the guy that taught me how to shoot a shotgun and showed me what to do.
Camp Horseshoe was my first exposure to firearms and then when I turned 18 I went and bought a shotgun. I was told to get rid of it… I still have the shotgun so that clearly didn’t happen. I can remember in my senior year of high school, it was 2004 going into 2005, and the news that the Assaults Weapon ban was expiring hit. There was a shop near where I lived, I went in and got a Bushmaster catalog. After that I started saying I was going to get one of them. That ended up not happening and I ended up just building one. I can remember talking about it in class and people saying “Well, why do you want one of those?” and it would just deteriorate from there.
So, is your family against firearms or are they on the “Well assault weapons need to be banned” train?
Well, interesting question. My Mom had shot a gun once or twice throughout her life but it wasn’t something that was in her family either. My Dad had never shot a gun before. They didn’t really hold a positive view towards firearms… but I guess the interesting thing about my story is, I did my own thing. I was told to get rid of my guns, I didn’t, I moved out, and they multiplied. About 5 or 6 years ago my Dad asked me to take him out shooting and I happily obliged. And what was interesting was, was that stupid smile I had on my face after shooting that bolt-action .22 at camp was the same smile I saw on my Dad’s face. The conversation then changed and I think it really shows that people who are anti-gun in general really don’t have any experience with firearms whatsoever. All the information that they have comes from movies, TV shows, or what they’re told to believe by politicians. And then you all of a sudden have this preconceived notion on what guns are and what they do, and when you go out and have an experience that wasn’t what you were told your perception on it changes. So my Dad went from being, from what I guess would be anti-gun, to now owning guns, and now he sees the points that I’ve been making for a lot of years. And now he’s seeing the importance of firearms and the 2nd Amendment.
It’s a good experience to have when I go out and I’m trying to talk to people about firearms and I know that a lot of people have similar experiences with people who had a pre-conceived notion that didn’t have any experience with firearms at all. They were taken to shoot guns, they were done so in a manor of start small, they get shown whats what, and all of a sudden their perception changes from this “Well this things really bad.” To “Well, this was fun, and I guess it does serve a purpose.” As you get deeper into that conversation you have a person who at the very least has opened their mind, or they’re now for firearms.
With the TGC doing so well, are you still practicing law or are you just going around and advocating for 2nd amendment rights in various states?
No, I’m still practicing law. My area of practice is specific to firearms at the state and federal level. Right now we’re currently litigating 4-5 2nd Amendment “as applied” challenges for individuals who were convicted of state misdemeanors, like DUIs for example, that are federally prohibited from owning firearms. We also deal with some stuff with licensees. At the state level we do individual representation for everything from advising if someone is able to purchase a firearm, getting their rights restored at the state level, gun trusts, licenses to carry, and things like that.
What is your typical carry gun and what ammunition do you use?
As of late its been a Glock 19 with a Surefire X300 loaded with 147gr Winchester Ranger Ts in a Phlster Spotlight holster.
With you pushing to be a board member, if elected you’ll obviously have the stigma of the NRA looming over your head even more. How would you go about educating people that are adamant that guns are the problem, or even people who say “assault weapons” need to be banned?
I don’t think me being elected or not would change the conversation. My condition, my point, the way I make the argument isn’t going to be changed simply by being apart of the organization more so than I am now. I freely admit that I’m a member to people, but that’s a choice, since you aren’t forced to be a member. Like if I were elected, that would obviously be a choice to run as well but then to be chosen by the members to be represented by them. I don’t know how much it does or doesn’t affect that conversation. If that’s someone’s view on the issue, I’m not sure if being an NRA member, a part of the organization, or just being someone that likes guns, would change anything. I don’t know, maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t see it being a black mark more so than if you weren’t.
The way I was looking at it was, a person who is completely against the NRA might see that you’re a board member and won’t want to hear anything that you want to say.
It’s possible. That very well could be possible and if that is the case there’s nothing that I can do about it which is unfortunate. But on that same token, if they hold that belief that nobody should be able to own an AR-15, and they’re not willing to have an open winded conversation with someone who holds a different opinion, then I don’t think that being an NRA board member really plays into that equation. I guess it really boils down to if the person is willing to have an honest conversation and being willing to listen to the other side. At the end of the day they might disagree and they may hold the same position that they did before the conversation started. I think the question is are they at least willing to hear it out and give it some thought. If the answer to that is no, then the conversation is going to be fruitless regardless of any other factor.
It’s unfortunate how you have all these people who say they want to have this conversation, you go to have the conversation with them, you bring up FBI statistics, and they say “WELL THE NRA SKEWED THEM!”
It depends on what kind of conversation they want to have. If they want a conversation that’s based in fact, logic, and reason you’ll have a different result than one that’s based on emotion. I don’t know anybody that’s a gun owner, let alone an NRA member, that doesn’t think a shooting is a tragic event. Or isn’t sympathetic to families that have lost a loved one. I think the perception, or the public painting of NRA members or gun owners in general as unsympathic heathens is just not true.
I think it bears down on a lot of gun owners the fact that they’re, for no other reason than enjoying a hobby, being called a terrorist.
Mhm, absolutely. It’s a very effective method if you think about it for an opposing viewpoint to dehumanize the other side. Now it isn’t “They’re like you and I.” It’s “they’re different”. You see it in wars, you dehumanize your enemy so you aren’t shooting your fellow man, you’re shooting your enemy. If you can do it in the political arena it makes it a lot easier to just disagree or hate the other side.
A lot of people were disappointed that you had lost to people they had never heard of this last election. Do you think that the NRA just doesn’t want you on their board of directors?
Well, that’s an interesting question. Here’s how I look at that one. There’s a couple points here. First of all, board members are elected by the members themselves. To assume that the organization doesn’t want me on their board, isn’t fair to the organization itself since it’s the members that vote the board members in.
There is a nominating committee that my name was submitted to by a number of people, but I was not nominated by the committee. I’m not surprised by that and there were a number of other people that were not selected as well. I figured that was never going to happen. I know there are some board members that don’t necessarily care for me and I know there are some people on the executive staff that probably also don’t care for me.
The part that bothers me, if you will, is that I’m being labeled as an individual that wants to destroy the organization. I’ve never once as far as I can tell have ever suggested or said anything like that. None of these people have ever reached out to me to say “Hey Adam, we would like to talk to you about some of the ideas you’re forwarding out there.” None of them have bothered to say “Well, this is why we do things the way we do.” Its that kind of stuff, where if you’re going to paint me as this person that’s out to destroy the organization to not reach out to me, or to discuss anything with me then I’m not going to put any stock into what your position is.
My door is always open, my contact information is freely available on the internet, it isn’t hard to get a hold of me,and many members of the NRA have done so to learn more about me. I think it’s just a little disingenuous to paint me as some kind of enemy of the organization when I don’t believe I’m the enemy. I would like to see the organization thrive. It’s things like that that irk me a little bit, but, it is what it is.
Do you think you would get any backlash from other board members if you were to be elected?
Oh, yeah, absolutely. How the board is set-up, there are 76 members first of all, and I’ve never said this. This is what I find intriguing as well, I’m not going to be able to walk in there, and single handedly say “You guys have been doing this all wrong. We’re going to do things my way now.” That isn’t how it works, there are 76 board members that get a vote just like everyone else. There’s all this talk about me wanting to destroy the organization, even if it were true, which its not, again, I’m one of 76 people. Nobody has the power to walk in and say “This is how we’re doing it” and single handedly gut something. I don’t know, it’s frustrating in that regard. But yeah, I expect that I would meet some resistance from current board members, some would be willing to listen, and I know some agree with me since I’ve spoken with them. I’m probably going to have to in some ways sit in the corner though.
If you were to get elected how would you go about swaying or educating the board members that don’t share your viewpoints to get more accomplished during your term if the unfortunate event that you don’t get re-elected happens?
The first thing to do would be to have conversations with people, plant ideas, and explain to them why it’s something they should at least consider. One of the things I’ve done in the past is I wrote a letter to the board members after Parkland when I heard Dana Loesch was going to be on the CNN Town Hall. I personally don’t think Dana is the best spokesperson to put out there for the general public. She resonates with a certain core audience that no question is comprised of a fair number of NRA members…but to anyone else it alienates people I think. Again it’s not against her, just the reality of the situation; not a lot of people relate with her. One of the things I suggested was that they need to find other spokespeople that are from all different walks of life. Train these people in media relations, have them learn the issues, teach them how to debate, and then put them on the air when something like this happens. You have a bunch of different faces of NRA members and spokespeople that are potentially more relatable than just Wayne LaPierre or Dana Loesch. I think you could do more for public relations with stuff like that, than what they’re doing right now. It was a suggestion, I think there’s some merit to it, but they might not feel the same way.
How exactly does the voting in the NRA work? I know a lot of people who are completely befuddled when it comes to how they are able to vote.
Alright, so voting members are designated by the bylaws of the organization. Currently the bylaws of the organization are that life, patron, endowment, benefactor, and annual members of the last 5 consecutive years are able to vote in the organization. What that means is, when a candidate circulates a petition to get on the ballot, voting members are the only ones that can vote on it. They are also the only people that can do the mail ballot in the February issue of the NRA magazine. Anybody who is not elected by the mail ballot who is a candidate, is automatically thrown into the ballot for voting at the NRA annual meeting unless they specifically request not to be. At the annual meeting, anyone whose been an annual member for 53 days can vote. Typically, the NRA will pick one candidate that they will endorse and they will have people that will hand out materials for that candidate.
I know you’re completely against the NFA and you believe automatics are protected by the 2nd Amendment, but what regulations are you for?
What regulations am I for? Generally speaking when it comes to the government none at all. I think the reality of it is though, is that we aren’t going to escape regulations entirely. We can have a conversation based in hypotheticals in things that will never materialize, or we can have a conversation that’s a little more rounded like… “This is the reality of the situation and the question is how much can we rollback and how much can we prevent from becoming something.”
I don’t think you’re going to see the complete repeal of things like background checks. We live in a world where there are people that aren’t going to agree to that. And good luck finding a politician that’s going to introduce that kind of legislation, let alone get others to vote on it. Part of the problem with people in the conversation that’s being had or not being had, is that people want to beat their chest and say “Well this is unconstitutional.” Well, I probably agree with a lot of it, but at the end of the day, how do you get somebody to stop doing that. The reality is, you’ll have a very difficult if not impossible time in getting a politician to do anything on it. A lot of people don’t necessarily understand the way things are supposed to be with the government being limited and stuff like that.
If you had total control over things, what regulations would you keep?
I wouldn’t keep any. If we live in a society, if you’re talking about the idealistic utopia, where individuals who have their liberty taken from them for whatever reason are kept in jail and are only released when society sees that they have in fact paid their debt, or have been rehabilitated, which is what I believe was the original idea behind the prison system, then why would we have restrictions? If we’re talking the real world where we’re coping plea deals for violations just to get a guilty conviction and then moving on without actually doing whatever in the interest in justice in some ways… then we’re having a different conversation. Again it goes back to the real world versus the hypothetical world. We’re living in the real world where you aren’t going to be able to get rid of anything.
Would you keep background checks?
Would I keep background checks?
I don’t see where the guidance is in the Constitution for them.
If you were elected to the board of directors, would you try to get the NRA to push the federal government to re-evaluate the laws states like California have passed that completely outlaw SBSs, SBRs, and magazine restrictions?
That’s going to be a state law issue. As far as the federal courts go, in a challenge that it’s protected by the 2nd amendment, I’m not sure how federal government could in anyway regulate that. Then you have a very big question into state’s rights issues. Which you know, I’m a pretty heavy proponent of state rights.
But wouldn’t you say though that Constitutional Rights shouldn’t be dictated by the states?
I would, yeah, I would be inclined to agree with that, yeah. Then the question becomes if its protected by the Constitution or not. And I’d hate to say it’s a matter of interpretation, but at the end of the day it is. Has the Supreme Court of the United States said that that is in fact protected by the 2nd Amendment? If the answer to that question is no, then as much as people don’t want to admit it, or think it’s very clear, then technically it’s up for debate. Things like AR-15s and machine guns, I think they’re protected by the 2nd amendment, but that’s my opinion. That doesn’t mean that’s what the Supreme Court will uphold, if the Supreme Court doesn’t hold it, they could say that 30 round magazines aren’t protected but 20 round magazines are. Okay, well then, states theoretically could run around banning magazines that hold more than 20 rounds.
It would sort of be like a Pandora’s Box theoretically.
In some ways and I think if you look at the litigation that’s going on now, like you have that case in the 4th Circuit with Maryland’s assault weapons ban not making it to the Supreme Court, but you’re seeing some of the stuff being litigated now. I think eventually some of it will have to be addressed by the Supreme Court. I think eventually you’ll also see the Supreme Court ruling on if concealed carry is protected by the 2nd Amendment.
Didn’t the Supreme Court already rule on that sort of with… I think D.C. v Heller or something like that?
Well, in some ways yes, in some ways no. There was certainly language in there that I would argue would indicate that an individual doesn’t only have a 2nd amendment right to actually defend themselves in the home, but also on the streets. There’s language in there that basically incase of confrontation. There was reference to carrying a firearm in the pocket. The question courts are struggling on now, or working their way through recently in the 9th Circuit Court is whether or not that Constitutional Right is in the form of open carry or concealed carry. The 9th Circuit said that you Constitutionally have the right to open carry outside of your home, but you don’t have the right to conceal carry. I think it’s going to maybe be something that the Supreme Court deciding to address, its just a question as to when.
Now the 9th Circuit, and it’s embarrassing that I don’t know this better, but the 9th Circuit Court governs California, Hawaii, and a couple other hard left states right?
The 9th Circuit, I honestly can’t tell you them all, but the 9th Circuit has California, Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, and I think a couple of mid-western states. There’s 13 different circuit courts, but I couldn’t tell you what they all have.
So, with that hearing does that mean that California has to allow open carry now?
Well with that ruling… yeah. I know California was going to ask for that to be reheard en banc. I believe that petition has been filed or is going to be soon. So when the case started in the circuit court, for those that are unaware, it’s a the next level above district court which is the lowest level of federal court. Circuit Courts hold usually beginning at a 3-judge panel. When you hear cases en banc, it means the court as a whole sits, and I think that you have about 12 judges sit and hear the case and issue an opinion on it. An en banc ruling can overturn a panel ruling. A good example was that a 4th Circuit panel said that AR-15s and things of that nature were Constitutionally protected, the case was reheard en banc by the court as a whole, the court as a whole said they were not. So its very well possible in California you could see the same thing, the panel says it is Constitutionally protected, but as a whole en banc says it isn’t.
Do you think historically the NRA has done more bad or more good for gun rights?
Everyone likes to blame the NRA for the NFA, the Gun Control Act, you know take your pick. The Firearms Owner Protection Act, which other than the Hughes Amendment, was an awesome deal. The Hughes Amendment was certainly a poison pill, or should have been one, but it turned out not to be one. The rest of it though… it’s the reason you can get ammunition delivered to your door still and why the ATF can’t harass dealers like they were.
There were some good things. Neil Knox who was a strong voice in the NRA for a number of years, I know his son Jeff Knox. If you do some research on Neil you’ll see he was a die-hard no compromise kind of guy. I believe if memory serves correctly, he said he would have killed the whole thing because of the Hughes Amendment.
I don’t know, I don’t want to say the NRA has done more harm than good, because I don’t think that’s necessarily true. There have certainly been some bad deals, but there have also been some things that the NRA has been instrumental in getting done. We’ve seen the expansion of individuals being able to carry firearms in many states. The NRA is a fairly large part of that being thing. As far as education and what not, I think that the NRA has done a good job with that. I think it makes some mistakes and decisions aren’t necessarily ones I wouldn’t take… but I’m not at the helm so I don’t get to make those calls. It’s a membership organization that’s driven by it’s members… the organization is at 6 million members, I can guarantee you that not all 6 million will agree with what the organization should be doing. You have people like me who think we should all be able to own machine guns and that I should be able to go into the store and walk out with it in 5 minutes. In the same organization you have the guy that only cares about his pump action shotgun and doesn’t care about the rest of the stuff. Part of that battle then becomes… are we worried about keeping him as a member or where are we on that issue?
I wouldn’t necessarily blame them for everything and the other part of it is you have to think about what the make of the organization was at the time and what people’s prevailing views were. I think that’s something that a lot of people when they want to blame the NRA for gun control laws getting passed, I think they should be able to take into account the contextual circumstances. I don’t think that it’s fair to the organization itself, you probably didn’t have a lot of people screaming that machine guns should be legal in 1934.
Do you think the NRA has abandoned California?
I don’t know enough about what NRA does out there to be candid. I know a lot of people feel that way, what I don’t know, and I’m not going to say whether it’s in fact gospel what I don’t know and what people may not know is what the NRA does and doesn’t do behind the scenes. Where they just don’t want their name attached to it due that stigma of what the NRA wants and then it’s all goes out the window. I’m not saying that is what is in fact happening because I don’t know, but it very well may be possible that the NRA is behind the scenes with other groups or people saying “Okay, well how can we support you in this endeavor?” and doing things in that manor rather than the direct of approach of you know, running around with the banner yelling “We’re the NRA and we’re here to fight this.”
As a member of the board of directors, how would you push the NRA to support reductions in our current restrictions such as the NFA?
That all depends on what committee I get assigned to, aside from planting bugs in members ears. It’s one of those things that you have to have a conversation with people and explain as to why something should be done, obviously making arguments for it, and realistically what the negatives would be. I think one of the problems the NRA would face is that the NRA is already widely hated by people who aren’t gun people, even gun people, but we’ll leave them out of this equation. The NRA has been demonized as this terrorist organization. You have this “terrorist” organization now advocating for the removal of things like machine guns and silencers? Public perception is going to be very tough with that. And again, it goes back to the reality of it, find the one dude that will even introduce the bill. I mean, this really becomes the problem that you face. Can you find someone who will introduce the bill, can you get congress to vote on it, not even pass it, just vote on it. Is it going to make it out of committee, will it be voted on, will it even make it to the presidents desk? Look at national reciprocity, right? Something that really should have been able to go through this administration without really any problems. Where’s that? Well, it’s dead in the water at senate because we’re at the midterm elections, uhh, I suspect it’s going to die there without being voted on. Then you’ll have a new term of congress and you have to start over again.
Do you see the other board members wanting to have the conversation on trying to get the restrictions removed from the books?
I think there are some and I think there are some that aren’t willing to entertain the idea at all. You gotta remember, they all come from different backgrounds, and different interests. You have Todd Rathner whose from the NFA Freedom Alliance on the board, to someone whose only there because they like hunting big game. The guy who only likes to hunt big game probably doesn’t care about machine guns and probably has no interest in the organization taking a different position on them. Again, it goes back to having 76 people with different opinions representing 6 million people. I don’t know, I don’t think right now with the composition of the board that you’re going to see any aggressiveness in the organization in terms of changing it’s views on the NFA in terms of proactively trying to repeal it.
Do you see Oliver North trying to take a more aggressive approach on things?
In some manors yes, in some manors no. I think as far as membership recruitment, he made it very clear that he would like to expand the organization by two-fold. Whether or not that’s a reality I couldn’t tell you. In other ways not so much, I honestly don’t know what his plans are for the organization are. On top of that he’s only a part of the equation.
I’m going to backtrack a little bit back to the voting thing. Right now I’m an annual member and haven’t been able to cough up the change for the lifetime membership yet. Am I still able to petition for you to be able to run?
If you’re an annual member of the last 5 consecutive years or longer, then yes.
Do you think they need to change it back to where you could vote the same day you became a member?
That’s an interesting question. From an institution preservation stand point, no. The reason I say that is because, if you think about it from a logical perspective… Anyone with a life membership, in theory anyway, has a vested interested in the organization because they were willing to cough up that change. Anyone whose been an annual member for 5 years or longer, again, has a vested interest in the organization. Obviously, it sucks for people who have been members for 5,6, or 7 years but forget to renew or what have you the month it ended, yeah it sucks for those people as well… and those people have a vested interest in the institute and where itsheaded by being members that long. But if someone joins for a day? They very well could be in that category as well, I’m not discounting that they may not be able to afford that life membership to gain that voting right immediately. At the same token, someone who joins for the day, or the first year, and then they leave… they might vote for something that might not be in the long term interest for the institute compared to people who have a more vested interest in it. I can see where potential issues with that being a thing again. I can see how it can be problematic.
Sort of like a bunch of anti-gun Californian’s gaining a membership just to vote someone in that was completely against guns.
There’s a good example. In a theoretical world at least that’s a good example. In the real world? Maybe, maybe not. I can see from a preservation stand point though of wanting people to have a vested interest in it before having the ability to dictate the structure of it.
The other thing that you have to remember about, and a lot of people don’t know this, there are about 2.2 million voting members. At the last election there was only about 136,000 ballots cast, like 6% of the voting block voted.
That’s not good.
Well, that’s how many people take any “interest”. That’s how many people participate. How many of them are just going down the ballot and going, “I recognize this name, check. I recognize this name, check. Never heard of this guy, skip.”
Seriously, I mean, how many people sit down and actually look at the candidates for the board, look at their qualifications, and do any amount research on them? Probably very few. It’s like politics anyway. “What’s my cost to participate in this and what is my return on investment?”
And a lot of times for even just for even just general politics, a lot of people just say the costs outweigh the benefits, so they just go punch in a familiar name or something they relate to. When I was working in the shop there were some people emailing me trying to learn about me… but I had a guy call the shop and I forget how he figured out I worked there, but he called the shop and wanted to talk with me. We chatted for about 20 minutes,he said that he hadn’t heard about me, and that he was trying to learn about the people on the ballot. He asked me about the contact information for another candidate for him, I told him about her website, but he said he didn’t really use the internet. I ended up giving him the contact information since he was just trying to take the little bit of time it takes to call and learn about people before voting for them.
It sucks that we can’t really do that with our actual governing bodies.
Well, yes and no. You wouldn’t be able to respond to everyone, it’s an impossibility. This is small scale enough that I am able to do that, and I do it because part of what I said is that… the board is responsible to the members. If I don’t have contact with the members and I don’t know what they think and what they want… am I doing what I set out to do? And the answer to that is no. Obviously I have my own beliefs, but part of the job is listening to the members and what they want. If I’m not doing that then… regardless of me being on the board of not… Right now not being on the board, if I’m not listening to what you guys want, have questions about, or helping you with things then would I be an effective board member? And I think the answer is no.
Are you still going to be this receptive to questions even if elected?
That’s my plan… Let me step back there. When helping members with questions and discussions about things I’m able to talk about? Absolutely. I suspect that there will be things that I won’t be able to comment on. That just comes from an institutional stand point as there are certain things, deliberations, and other things that you just can’t talk about publicly for the betterment of the institute. Food for thought here… Say I get elected and I come out and start making public statements about something. Pick anything, just say I come out and start making public statements about it. I’m an NRA board member now in this hypothetical… That quote now gets attributed to the NRA and not to myself as an individual. The problem with that becomes that there is that perception that I am now speaking for the organization when I am not authorized to do that and I’m not doing that.
It’s a Rosanne situation.
Right now what do you feel is the biggest threat to our right to own guns and to defend ourselves.
Ignorance. Lack of education. Those are probably the two biggest things I would say. The lack of education as to what the 2nd Amendment actually is and the ignorance surrounding it. People are being taught that there’s no personal responsibility anymore. The police will protect you, or you shouldn’t have to worry about that because of the society we live in. Yes, it would be fantastic to wake-up in a world tomorrow that I wouldn’t have to worry about my personal safety from the stand point of someone else threatening to cause me harm. The reality is that is never going to happen, it’s just not. I think that people are just scared to have a very honest conversation with themselves let alone others as to “At the end of the day, I am the only one that can be 100% charged with the responsibility of my own safety.”
Some people don’t want to admit that and they would like to believe that there is some outside force, be it the police or something else, that will protect them. If that’s how you want to live your life… that’s fine, I think it’s a foolish manor in which to do it. I carry a gun not because I’m looking to get into a gun fight… in fact if I could go through my life and the only place I have to use my gun is on the range… cool. That’s the best case scenario as far as I’m concerned. I carry a gun just to have another tool in the toolbox so that if something deteriorated to that point or I’m left with absolutely no other option… I have that option. It isn’t one I’m going out looking to use.
It’s an equalizer for the disabled too when they get attacked.
Absolutely. The weaker, yeah. There’s no fair fight. If you’re in a fight you’re fighting for your life. You’re fighting to win. I want the deck stacked in my favor by whatever means possible, but that doesn’t mean I’m looking for a fight for my life every time you walk out the door.
Do you think the higher education institutions are in part to blame for the problems we’re having?
I guess I’ll spend another 4 hours on the phone here today, haha. In part, yes. You can trace the ideology back to the 60’s and what not… this idea of a society that just loves one another. There’s any number of things… you know, parents not being parents anymore. Kids not being disciplined. Basic life skills that man used to know how to do for centuries, and I’m using man in the colloquial sense. Things that people knew how to do because it part of every day survival are now dissipating from society. With that comes… I think it was in a book that I read recently… That essentially the idea behind modern society is that all those things that used to cause mankind harm and used to be a danger doesn’t exist in it (modern society). It’s true, like I get to sleep under a roof every night… I have air conditioning, I have heat. I don’t need to know how to build a fire to turn my heater on, I press a button on the thermostat, right? I don’t have to go search for food or hunt, it’s in the grocery store. It’s things like that where people aren’t learning basic skills… They end up asking stuff like “How do I build a fire? If I need to collect food… whats safe to eat, whats not? How do I hunt? How do I gut something?” And you see the repercussions of that some ways in society. You know, a society where if something goes wrong everyone turns to chaos and disorder because very few people know how to do those things. I think you see that translate not just there, but to other areas as well, and defensive of oneself is certainly one of those areas.
I don’t know how you fix it short of parents deciding it’s a skill worthy of teaching their children. I got a lot out of Boy Scouts, that’s where I learned to shoot, but I got a lot of life skills out of that program as well. The best way I can kind of describe it is from a conversation I had with my buddy. We were on the subject of camping and he mentioned that he had been talking to someone that didn’t know how to build a fire. When he asked them what they would do if they had to build a fire… the response was “I’d just Google it.” There’s the problem right there. I don’t know a better summation than that. You’re so dependent on technology you’re going to ask it to tell you how to build a fire… when if you need to build a fire you likely don’t have that technology available.
Are you for or against duty to retreat laws?
I don’t think there should be duty to retreat at all. I think “Stand Your Ground” has been perverted in the public eye as to what it truly means. The Zimmerman trial was a really good example of it, they never asserted stand your ground in that trial. Yet it’s being used as the basis for arguments to repeal the law. You shouldn’t have to retreat when you’re being attacked in a place you are lawfully allowed to be, it’s as simple as that.
Do you think that families should be able to take a person to civil court if they (the person) killed their loved one in self-defense?
No, I think they should be precluded provided that the person wasn’t criminally charged and then convicted. At that point it’s no longer self-defense.
If you were elected, would you push the NRA to help defend the names of it’s members against the constant onslaught caused by the media? Will you try to get the NRA to be more vocal on dismissing the anti-gun lobby with calling all gun owners terrorists?
I don’t want to say the NRA hasn’t done a good job on it, because I think the NRA has been pretty vocal about it, but I don’t know if there’s a manor in which that message could be spread in a better fashion to more people. I think that’s really it. I’m not aware of any instance where the NRA has been labeled as a bunch of terrorists where the NRA hasn’t said that it wasn’t right. What I think the problem is, is the message isn’t being broadcast in ways that reach a lot of people. I can’t imagine there’s any sane person out there that wouldn’t think that the organization itself wouldn’t defend its members from such a slanderous claim. Obviously, people may feel that’s the case, if you do feel that way and if you do I’m sorry to hear that, because that’s warped. I just can’t imagine any sane person going; “Oh, there they are calling the NRA terrorists again, the NRA isn’t saying anything, so they must agree with it.” I can’t see that being a logical thought path for anyone that has a semblance of intelligence.
Where do you stand on Red Flag Laws and where do you think the NRA will stand if you get elected onto the board of directors?
The NRA has already taken a position on it and you can see their statements for it. I assume you’re talking about the extreme violence protection orders?
I testified in front of the House Judiciary Committee here in Pennsylvania against them. They are riddled with due process issues. If you’re going to deny somebody a Constitutional right whether it be the 2nd Amendment or any other Constitutional right then due process is of the utmost importance. There’s a reason it exists; either give it to them or don’t take that action. I think it’s very simple.
I haven’t seen a whole bunch from the NRA on it, but I also haven’t dug into it a lot… What I have been seeing though has been sort of split on being for and against them.
I think, and I’m going off a very limited memory on their position. I think there have been statements supporting them, and I may be wrong, but I think I’ve seen instances where they’ve taken positions against them. I couldn’t tell you what, how, or why though.
Per a friend of mine, if elected would you try to get the NRA to stop calling it’s members asking for donations?
Well that’s easy.
Yeah, its not hard at all. I did it years ago and I haven’t gotten any mail from the NRA aside from communications I’m supposed to get.
Do you think felons should have their rights to own guns reinstated ever?
Absolutely. I am currently litigating cases where there are felons are involved.
Do you think they should ever be taken away in the first place?
I think if you’re being imprisoned, then yes, you’ve lost some rights. You clearly aren’t apart of society at that point if you’re being imprisoned. If you’re not being imprisoned or released… what’s the rationale for that? Are you rehabilitated? Are you being reintegrated into society?
I’m currently engaged in litigation in trying to restore rights for people that are felons, by definition. You know, a felon could typically be considered an individual that could have been imprisoned or subject to imprisonment for up to two years. That being a potential penalty, but yeah, I’m currently litigating on stuff like that. That was actually used against me at the NRA Annual meeting last year. There was an individual walking around the voting area saying, “Adam wants felons to be able to own guns.”
If that’s not misinformation, I don’t know what is.
You’re going to tell me that the person who has two DUIs shouldn’t be able to own guns for the rest of their life? Especially when they may have made that decision when they were 21? Really? That doesn’t seem a little obnoxious or obscene? Okay… you’re entitled to your opinion, but I’m going to disagree with you on it.
If you don’t get elected to the NRA board of directors this time around, will you try to get into another organization, or have you entertained the idea of starting your own lobby?
I will absolutely not start my own lobby, as there are enough out there as is already. It’s also entirely too much work and stress that I don’t want in my life. I have not given any thought to whether or not I would try to become an integral part of another organization.
Would you help make the NRA more transparent such as making the board meetings becoming podcasts of something similar?
I don’t think you will ever see that happen. I think the way the bylaws are written and some of the things that are discussed… Obviously members have an interest in how the organization is runs… but on the same token with some of the conversations that happen, those aren’t conversations that you would want individuals like Bloomberg, or anti-gun organizations to get their hands on.
Do you believe that citizens have the right to own the same type of weaponry as the military?
Can you afford a nuclear weapon? Because I can’t, haha.
Like grenades, RPGs, etc?
Well you can. If you can find someone to sell you an RPG rocket itself, you can buy one today. You just have to find somebody to sell to you. You would just have to fill out the paperwork and pay the destructive device/NFA tax.
Would you even be for it without the NFA?
To wrap it all up… Are you a cat guy? Or are you a dog guy?
Ahh, come on, you follow me on Instagram, what do you think?
I got to ask, it has to be for the record.
I am, by and large, it isn’t even a comparison. Actually, it doesn’t even register. I am a dog person hands down. I do not like cats, I’ve never liked cats. I have a cat… there is one living here. But I’ve never seen an attraction to an animal that doesn’t really care that you exist.
Adam can be found on Facebook here.
Here you can find him on Instagram here.
Here’s the link to Adam Kraut’s website.
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