Second Amendment Police Department (2AMPD)
am very grateful to Angel Shamaya and KeepAndBearArms.com for allowing me this opportunity
to represent a law enforcement viewpoint and participate in the very important
function of securing and preserving the all important Second Amendment!
a way of introduction, I'll share a short history of my personal experience in
the battle for individual rights, and link to more traditional biography
political activism came late in my adult life, actually. I grew up in a military
family and then spent my entire adult life in law enforcement. The rules were
very well defined in my home, as a youth, and in my career with an ever-present
department duty manual. So my life did not involve making the rules, but rather
following them and enforcing them. As a police officer I learned early that
neither the rules NOR life were always fair, but I didn't even notice, or mind,
that the rules governing my rights as a police officer were more
restrictive than for most citizens. After all, I had an exciting job with rules
that I was willing to adhere to.
the early 1980's, I became aware of the debate and concerns for the right to own
firearms. With much play in the press, California voters overwhelmingly rejected
a proposition to ban handguns in the state. What impressed me most during that
campaign was a full-page ad in the local paper supporting the right of
California Citizens to own handguns. The ad was sponsored by law enforcement and
was bordered by the names of every police and sheriff’s department in
California. The names-border was in the shape of the state. It was a clever
design that made it very apparent that police officers were a valuable ally to
Chief of Police of my department, Joseph D. McNamara, became an outspoken critic
of the rights of citizens to possess firearms. I don’t think it an
exaggeration to describe him as HCI’s poster boy. I credit him with
initializing the very effective effort to drive a wedge between law-abiding gun
owners and law enforcement.
an in-house police firearms instructor, academy instructor, and captain of the
police pistol team, I was considered an expert in the area of police firearms
training and competition, and enjoyed the credits. I was active in state and
national police pistol competition, and licensed by the State to teach security
firearms qualification training. I became the owner of a licensed security
skills became marketable to the public, then, as more citizens sought training
for the handguns they owned. As I taught the security personnel at public
ranges, many civilians expressed interest in learning to “draw from a
holster” and “two-hand defensive techniques”, which were new to the
general public. It was not long before security personnel were a minority in my
at about the same time, California law changed to allow citizens to carry tear
gas if licensed by an “approved institution”. I qualified, and soon was
teaching defensive tactics with tear gas and common sense two or three nights a
week. That audience was comprised primarily of women, and many were eager to
express their particular sense of concern for their personal safety.
was familiar with and able to address many of the technical issues related to
firearms and the law, as well as the very important personal safety issues
presented in the firearms debate.
did not really choose sides when I entered this fray. I merely expressed what I
considered to be common sense opinions based on my experience with firearms and
as a law enforcement officer.
I wrote a letter to the
editor of the local newspaper critical of “cop-killer bullet” rhetoric
advertising the protective equipment worn by police, which consequently created
a danger to the working cop.
has a right to express an opinion: I just pointed out that the KTW bullet
(designed by three police officers) was not being used to kill police and their
erroneous reports created an officer-safety problem by exposing to the public
awareness the protective vests that were just coming into common use. It was
generally accepted in law enforcement circles, at the time, that the less
discussion about vests, the better.
you might imagine, it was my chief who was sounding off about the KTW bullet,
and the press liked the contrast. He being the Chief, and me being the Grunt!
The press then used my
"expertise" to bounce off the various sound bites that were becoming
popular. The "Saturday night specials" and "plastic guns"
were easy to fend off, and it was too easy to point out the error when the chief
went on the evening news demonstrating how a rubber-band gun could shoot an
arrow through a police vest. A police department’s vest in the police
department range. Demonstrating penetration! With a rubber-band gun! What was he
doing, giving lessons? Even the reporter recognized stupidity in the name of
as the battle over gun rights heated up, the questions became more than just
technical. And I became a more willing participant. The very careless and
inaccurate statements made by police representatives offended me. I began
referring to them as “the political police” since they did not represent the
average cop. Their personal politics and statements were detrimental to the law
enforcement reputation. Some statements were detrimental to the safety of the
the obvious intent was to drive a wedge between cops and the gun owners. Gun
owners that I knew were very law-abiding citizens and supportive of law
response to various news media questions, I began to express an opinion. It was
my honest belief that you take the guns away from the crooks and you don't even
question the honest citizen's right to retain the various instruments of
self-defense, including guns. Simple enough, as it was my impression that my job
was to PROTECT and SERVE the rights of law-abiding citizens. To DEFEND those
rights seemed a natural goal for a cop and would also suffice to form a
coalition between the honest citizen and the hard-working members of the Law
Enforcement and Criminal Justice communities!
I did feel the wrath of my boss. In the first 25 years of my career I was
disciplined only twice, and received written reprimands for minor offenses. In
the last two years at the San Jose Police Department, I was in Infernal Affairs
more times that I would ever have imagined, endured oral and written reprimands,
a suspension without pay, and was threatened with termination. More humiliating
was denial of assignments, public criticism in the presence of peers, and
assignment to a desk without duties for as long as seventeen months......
I was learning about rights. I knew the rules.
earlier lesson could have been heeded when I was ordered to the department
psychiatrist for complaining about repeated anti-gun, anti-NRA articles in the
police department's newsletter.
is ironic that the effort to divide was so successful when most cops I know
trust the press about as much as they do lawyers! And I don't think I'd be
talking out of school if I complained that the political policeman doesn't speak
for us all...... The political Chief of Police, as a matter of fact, no more
represents the beat cop than Lee Iacocca represented the autoworker!
many in law enforcement have gone along with the press and political police.
Even more unexpected, to me at least, is the fact that the wedge worked! Gun
owners and activists blame the police for all the anti-gun legislation. After
all, when the politicos lost their arguments to straight facts and figures, they
resorted to emotions. Almost all anti-gun legislation has been carried on the
backs of law enforcement when some political chief claims that his men are
"outgunned", "losing the battle" or "Cops need this
is no wonder then, much to my chagrin, that many in The Second Amendment
Community have ignored the value of securing the very important voice of the
average law enforcement officers who share attitudes very similar to the gun
Welcome to the NRA
activism and police firearms experience gained me a seat on the Law Enforcement
Assistance Committee, and then I was appointed referee of the National Police
Championships where I had competed for some years. I was then elected to the
board of directors of the National Rifle Association in the early 80’s where
my attempt to activate pro Second Amendment cops was met with resistance. The
NRA staff member who headed up the Law Enforcement Division controlled the Law
Enforcement Assistance Committee. He was career military and had not a single
day of law enforcement experience, but was convinced that politics should play
no part in his “law enforcement” efforts that consisted primarily of police
instructor training. In the days when the NRA still had the respect of most in
law enforcement, this man not only had a vast police audience, but an
influential audience of FIREARMS INSTRUCTORS! It was obvious to me that this
group shared our interest and enthusiasm for firearms. But HE didn’t want the
NRA politics to interfere with HIS program …
my training experience gained me a seat on the Education and Training Committee,
I was eager to help with the oh-so-outdated personal protection firearms
program. After all, my own experience proved that the public wanted more than
one-hand shooting techniques, and I thought it would be easy pickings to
eliminate the NRA training prohibitions against drawing from a target or using a
silhouette target. I couldn’t have asked for better company, with Col. Jeff
Cooper as Chair of the committee. We rallied the committee around a program that
included the very real techniques of defensive shooting that was being
incorporated by every other successful training facility in the U.S. With
success in our sights, the then-director of NRA/ILA addressed the committee to
influence AGAINST the adoption of this update of the program. She insisted that
it would be detrimental to her efforts on Capitol Hill, and ordered us to take
another vote. When the vote remained the same, Jeff Cooper was kicked out of the
Chair and replaced with a yes-woman who insisted that the personal protection
program go unchanged. She was voted down and the program was delivered to the
training department. And ignored to this day.
me! I should have remembered my conversations with NRA headquarters at an
earlier date when I was unfamiliar with their operation, and prior to gaining a
seat on the board. They were offended that I was teaching a class that included
drawing from a holster, and firing at a silhouette target. And sounded surprised
that I was charging money for the class! (remember, this was about 1980)
Law Enforcement Alliance of America (LEAA)
did believe I was making some progress when Wayne LaPierre finally agreed to
support a more political law enforcement organization. I had some name
recognition in the firearms community, had lent my name to NRA promotions, got
some publicity when I was disciplined for lending my name to NRA promotions J,
and had teamed up with Tom Aveni, a police officer in New Jersey who founded Law
Enforcement for the Preservation of The Second Amendment (LEPSA). I was the West
Coast rep for LEPSA.
asked if I was interested in forming a coalition of pro-gun cops with a presence
in Washington D.C. I assured him that I was more than ready, and gave a list of
those who could join me on the new board of directors. He asked for a name and
business plan. I first came up with Law Enforcement Association (LEA), but then
went for name recognition. Remember, I am an old cop from the days when the feds
had the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA), and I knew that most
cops, politicians, and others involved in law enforcement activities would
remember that agency from their administration and financial support of LE
programs. I settled on The Law Enforcement Alliance of America (LEAA).
flew me, Tom, Harry Thomas, and a few others that I recommended back to DC to
formulate a plan. To my surprise, some strange faces showed up for the meeting,
invited by Jim Baker. These people were unknown to me and had no prior 2AM
activist experience. One, an officer from Tennessee brought his wife along. She
was a lieutenant in the same department assigned to the AG’s office. (I have
not heard of them in the 2AM Arena since, btw)
was introduced to a new NRA employee, Jim Fotis, who had law enforcement
experience in the state of New York. He was going to act as liaison between the
NRA and LEAA. The meeting started and I presented my plan. LaPierre informed me
that everyone attending would be on the LEAA board and asked if I would take the
job of executive director. That would require that I quit the police department
after 28 years of service, give up the established security training school that
I owned for 15 years, and relocate to the DC area.
How could I pass up a chance to initiate a brand new membership organization in
our nation’s capitol for the purpose of rallying law enforcement around The
Second Amendment? It was a dream come true. I packed everything up and moved
months later, I was fired by the LEAA Board of Directors for “Spending too
much time on The Second Amendment.” (as stated to me my LEAA board member, and
now NRA board member Dwight VanHorne) You may wish to read more on that at LEAA
there I was in quite a predicament! Unemployed! I had held at least two jobs all
of my adult life. I didn’t realize when I quit the police department that I
was in for so damn many exciting experiences in such a short time J.
What to do in "Retirement"
my tail between my legs, I returned to San Jose, CA. I was on the NRA board for
some years, by then, and associated regularly with the officers and many board
members. After moving to DC, I became very familiar with staff. It became quite
apparent to me that those with influence and control in the NRA did not want
aggressive activism by pro-gun law enforcement to be part of their organization!
I was never again invited back to referee the National Police Championships, and
was refused the chairmanship of the Law Enforcement Assistance Committee that
had been guaranteed to me in a meeting with LaPierre, the NRA President, the NRA
attorney, and a number of board members. You can read more about that bit of
treachery at BROKEN
did have some friends on the board, and as a consolation, I was offered a
contract to use my firearms training experience to start a new program
recruiting and training women as instructors. It became known as the Personal
Protection Instructor Development Program. I welcomed the income, so prepared an
outline and budget and was soon traveling from Honolulu to Long Island. I was
pleased to meet some of the very nicest pro-gun women in these United States,
and certified many of them as NRA instructors. I am sure many are still sharing
their knowledge and skills with many more women.
about a year, the PPID program was put out to pasture when it was determined
that a woman’s program should be led by a woman. That sounded reasonable to
me. The program was renewed as the “Refuse to be a Victim” program that does
not involve firearms. THAT was unreasonable! I have no problem with the
“Refuse to be a Victim” program, but to drop a program that was successful
in recruiting women into the NRA instructor program was foolish.
again, I approached the NRA Training Division with a novel idea. I offered to
take over the training duties of The Training Counselor Program. All training
and appointments of Training Counselors (the TC is a level of trainer that
certifies instructors) was handled out of HQ and required staff to travel about
the US to do the training. I offered to do the training for them at a
considerable savings. Staff balked at any usurps of their duties, but TC
training was down and I was able to prove they could save a lot of money.
finally agreed on terms of a contract that was sent to the NRA legal department
for final approval and I proceeded to travel the US, again, doing what I like to
do. I repeatedly asked for a copy of the contract, but was stalled month after
month. I was successful in training and recommending many candidates for
Training Counselor, but after nine months I was told that my services were no
longer needed. I never did get a copy of that contract !.
a variety of reasons, not the least of which was an opportunity for a fresh
start away from some very bitter memories, I moved to Chicago. Many friends
expressed surprise that I would relocate to a city with such an anti-gun
reputation. But in Chicago, I can get in my car and be in America in 15-20
minutes. When I lived in California, I could drive for hours and never get
there! :-). A more traditional resume can be viewed at Leroy
Pyle - Resume.
now, you would be correct in assuming that I have lost faith in my friends at
the NRA. But as most of you who have shared a BBS or Internet forum with me
know, I have not lost my enthusiasm for getting pro-gun cops organized and
active in The Second Amendment Arena. I will invite everyone to join me in this
endeavor by participating in the 2AMPD forum and inviting your law enforcement
acquaintances to join in. And regardless of your
opinion, if you are a cop or viewed as a part of the law enforcement
community, you are viewed as a major player in this game of "gun
control"! I invite you all to participate in this new and exciting police
department in cyberspace, the 2AMPD.