FL: Pro-Gun Group Prompts Arrest Of One Of It's Own At National Convention
By J.J. Johnson & Debra Ricketts, Sierra Times.com, 05. 3. 03
Orlando, Florida - Leaders of a pro-second amendment, liberty activist group are outraged over the arrest of a member of their group, who is also a paid member of the well-known second amendment group that had him arrested for passing out flyers outside a gun show last Sunday. The National Rifle Association apparently had one of its members, a pro-gun activist, arrested at its national convention on, April 27, 2003 in Orlando, Florida for handing out pro-gun freedom literature from an organization known as the Free State Project, Inc. The unlucky NRA member was Timothy Condon, a Marine Corps Vietnam veteran and Director of Member Services for the rapidly growing Free State Project.
The Free State Project is a plan in which 20,000 or more liberty-oriented people will move to a single state of the U.S., where they may work within the political system to reduce the size and scope of government. The success of the Free State Project would likely entail reductions in burdensome taxation and regulation, reforms in state and local law, an end to federal mandates, and a restoration of constitutional federalism, demonstrating the benefits of liberty to the rest of the nation and the world.
Condon was arrested by the Orange County Sheriff's Department Sunday for "trespassing" outside the Orange County Convention Center when he refused to leave or cease handing out the Free State Project literature. "I believe there is a First Amendment problem with prohibiting people from passing out political literature on public property where there is no problem caused by it," said Condon, who also happens to be an attorney who practices law in Tampa, Florida. "What is even more bizarre to me is that the National Rifle Association would have one of its own members arrested for passing out literature that supports the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms."
Condon, who was attending the NRA convention himself, was held for 10 hours at the Orange County Jail before being released on bond. Jason Sorens, founder and president of the Free State Project, vowed to explore legal action against the National Rifle Association. "This is just outrageous," said Sorens. "It appears that the NRA only supports the First and Second Amendments to the Constitution if it's done according to their orders. I really think members of the NRA need to question their loyalty to an organization that would have one of its own members arrested for passing out pro-gun literature at its own convention."
Condon, a longtime NRA member, vowed to plead not guilty to the charge of trespassing, and said he is considering canceling his membership in the organization. "It looks as if the Free State Project is a stronger supporter of the Second Amendment, not to mention the First Amendment, than the NRA," he quipped.
The Free State Project has their own conference (The Great Western Conference) planned for May 24 and 25th in Missoula, Montana. According the Free State Project, NRA members will not be barred from attendance.
On the Web:
Free State Project, Inc.
National Rifle Association