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VPC Creates Second “VPC”
Group’s Tax Status Allows Greater Political Activity

By Sean Oberle

February 15, 2002

Expect increased political attacks on your right to own firearms. The people at Violence Policy Center (VPC) have increased their ability to take part in anti-liberty partisan advocacy by creating an offshoot, Violence Prevention Campaign (2VPC; my abbreviation, not theirs). The new organization, launched by VPC executives Josh Sugarman, Kristen Rand and Joe Sudbay, is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit. The original VPC has 501(c)(3) status.

The designations 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) refer to sections of the U.S. tax code that define nonprofit organizations. A 501(c)(3), like the original VPC, must limit its lobbying activity and can take part in absolutely no partisan action like electioneering. A 501(c)(4), like the new 2VPC, can do more lobbying and even engage in partisan activity as long as the latter is less than 50% of total activity. There are numerous other distinctions, but from the standpoint of VPC’s anti-rights agenda, these differences are the most crucial. 

From initial appearances, 2VPC likely will take the VPC formula into the partisan realm — the publication of “studies” and “reports.” February 13, it issued its first, From the Gun War to the Culture War: How the NRA Has Become the Pillar of the Right. I have not yet read it so cannot comment on its content or accuracy. The organization’s press release says that the publication documents how Charlton Heston and Wayne LaPierre have moved the NRA from being a pro-gun lobby to a pro-conservative lobby. “The NRA has secured its role as the dominant force in the right-wing,” it states. 

Sudbay has the title political director with 2VPC. He has been public policy director with VPC for more than a year. He formerly was political director at the Brady Campaign (called HCI when he was with it), including during the 2000 election cycle. With Rand, he coauthored VPC’s January 2001 “report,” John Ashcroft: The Wrong Choice to Enforce America's Gun Laws

The old VPC takes a hard-line gun control stand. For example, it openly advocates banning handguns, an extremist position that even the Brady Campaign shrinks from, at least publicly. We can expect 2VPC to take these extremist goals to the partisan arena. Watch for gun ban efforts in the guise of "product safety" and "anti terrorism," two hallmarks of VPC's strategy.

Don’t worry, the old VPC still will be around, presumably issuing the “reports” and “studies” we’ve all come to love. 2VPC does not yet have a website. It shares an address with VPC (1140 19th St., NW; Washington DC. 20036). The existing Violence Policy Center website is silent on the existence of its sister organization.

2VPC has been in the works for more than seven months — the image-creation company Mediastudio mentioned June 15 that it would be aiding in the “branding and identity” of the new organization. Mediastudio has aided the original VPC with the development of its website and some publications. Apparently, according to Mediastudio, VPC has a second offshoot in the works, “Cease Fire America.”

Sean Oberle is a Featured Writer and gun control analyst for He can be reached at View other articles from him at


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Liberty is not a means to a political end. It is itself the highest political end. — LORD ACTON

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