Meet Delta Defense — your local NRA
The NRA is not the only outfit promoting the absolute, god-given right to own and use firearms wherever and whenever we want. We have our own local Delta Defense proudly flying the “Don’t Tread on Me” flag joining that chorus.
For those who missed the Delta Defense signs all over West Bend as it sponsors events and charities to purchase some aura of respectability, the company provides the base for a number of connected entities promoting armed concealed carry and self defense, trading on fear and based on the idea that we need to be ready at a moment’s notice to use deadly force against those who might do us harm.
Tim Schmidt and his wife, Tonnie, who was elected to the West Bend school board last year, founded Delta Defense in 2003. They first opened in Jackson. Then, they purchased the former Museum of Wisconsin Art building across from the West Bend Library, bailing out the museum’s construction loan with a grant from local economic development funds. Next, they got more help from the city to build their new headquarters on the hill behind Boston Store. West Bend Mayor Kraig Sadownikow, a proud “Three Percenter,” Second Amendment absolutist and staunch supporter helped engineer city support.
Delta Defense provides logistical and editorial support for the United States Concealed Carry Association, a wholly owned membership club, that provides training for concealed carry instructors, conducts concealed carry classes, hosts concealed carry expos and other firearm and self-defense related activities. It produces and sells a wide range of DVDs and handbooks that tell you how to kill others and avoid the consequences in the pursuit of personal freedom. One of these, “Countering the Mass Shooter Threat,” will teach you how to be the good guy with the gun who saves the day at your local school. They sell insurance to pay your legal fees if you are charged criminally for defending yourself or others and subsequently acquitted. Delta Defense also produces an Internet streamed radio broadcast “Armed American Radio” and lobbies for fewer laws restricting gun ownwership.
The USCCA publishes a slick magazine for its members aptly named “Concealed Carry,” heavily laden with ads for all manner of handguns and knives and devices to hide them.
The magazine publishes handgun, knife and holster reviews, accounts from those who used a gun for self-defense, legislative reviews of enactments that favor concealed carry or seek to impose restrictions on firearms. The July 2017 issue focused on “guns, politics and the law” and exposes the company’s underlying philosophy.
Delta Defense President and CEO Tim Schmidt wrote there, “that the right to keep and bear arms is God-given and affirmed by the 2nd Amendment to our Constitution” and that it was “downright crazy that we should ever have to jump through bureaucratic hoops, submit to permitting processes or ask permission from our government to exercise that God-given right ... .” He submits only so he can carry a gun for self-defense. His editor follows noting that laws against violence are necessary in a civilized society. Another article claimed, “The whole concealed carry thing is about being ready to shoot someone.” The author continues that arming everyday folks, not just the authorities, actually helps keep the peace because no one wants a shooting war with a neighboring clan less upright.
The most telling article in the July issue recounted lessons learned from the horrific mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Florida. The first was how difficult it is to prepare mentally for such an event. The second involved how difficult it is, even for a trained law enforcement officer, to actually hit the shooter during a mass-shooting event. Third, nobody fought the shooter. Fourth, no one recognized the danger when the shooter walked in with a rifle. No mention, not a single word, that restricting access to semi-automatic rifles with high capacity magazines might have averted the shooting all together or, at least, given those with handguns a better chance of survival.
No effort like this would be complete without conspiracy theories about the government keeping guns away from the citizenry. The July issue took the Veterans Administration to task for legally informing the FBI about people it deemed “mentally defective” so they could be prevented from obtaining a firearm. This was followed by an article condemning state legislatures for passing laws allowing court ordered firearm confiscation from at substantial risk of harm to themselves or others.
More recent editions of “Concealed Carry” give good advice on dealing with the criminal justice system after you shoot someone, “shut up and lawyer up,” and not so good assessments of the recently passed laws in several western (“Left Coast”) states allowing court ordered firearm confiscations and a gratuitous attack on former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg for sponsoring moderate gun reform efforts. The January 2018 edition takes issue with mandatory firearm training requirements for concealed carry permits noting that voluntary training is good but government required training is awful.
If the NRA seems too big and far away to influence, contact Delta Defense and let them know they are on the wrong side of history.
Waring Fincke is a retired attorney and serves as a guardian for a Sheboygan County non-profit agency.