The NRA's Top Lawyer Was Once Convicted Of Murder

Happybunny

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Sep 9, 2010
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I’m surprised that this has not been a topic before now.

I wonder if this ever influenced any standpoint of the NRA?

According to recently unearthed court records, Bob Dowlut—who for 30 years has been the architect of the National Rifle Association's legal and cultural agenda—was sentenced to life in an Indiana prison for murdering a single mother with the same gun he'd allegedly used that day to rob and shoot a shopkeeper.

As Gilson points out, it's unclear whether Dowlut ever told anyone at the gun group, including close friend and frontman Wayne LaPierre, about his criminal past. Ironically, his and the NRA's rhetoric of demonizing criminals as "not like us" and praising "good guys with guns" is precisely the kind of Manichaean outlook that once led cops to violate his civil rights as a murder suspect. Then again, maybe the cops and the NRA were right. Maybe Dowlut's not a good guy with a gun, but just another criminal lowlife.

I include multiple sources as I have no idea which side of the political divide they sit.
http://www.businessinsider.com/the-nras-top-lawyer-was-once-convicted-of-murder-2014-7

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/07/nras-murder-mystery

http://gawker.com/the-nras-top-attorney-was-convicted-of-murder-in-1964-1612596516
 

G51989

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I gotta say, I do not support the modern NRA at all, even slightly.

They really aren't about common sense gun control, or safety classes like they used to be.

Now they are around mostly to scare the crap out of people and sell a ton of guns.
 

lostngone

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They really aren't about common sense gun control, or safety classes like they used to be.
They are still for common sense gun control and they still offer firearms safety training. Nothing has changed there.
Now they are around mostly to scare the crap out of people and sell a ton of guns.
1. How is the NRA scaring the crap out of anyone?
2. The NRA does not manufacture or sell firearms.

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I’m surprised that this has not been a topic before now.
You failed to mention the conviction was thrown out and it never went back to court.
 

G51989

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Feb 25, 2012
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They are still for common sense gun control and they still offer firearms safety training. Nothing has changed there.
.
They don't really seem to push it anymore, I have yet to hear about their campaign for common sense gun control and common sense regulations.
Or campaign for mandatory safety classes.

1. How is the NRA scaring the crap out of anyone?
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/14/nra-scare-tactics-_n_2688924.html

NRA Scare tactics to sell more guns

2. The NRA does not manufacture or sell firearms.
But they are bought and paid for by companies who make guns, thats why they push for fear, less regulation, less control, so they can sell more guns at a higher profit margin.

The NRA today exists to sell as many guns as possible.
 

Happybunny

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[/COLOR]

You failed to mention the conviction was thrown out and it never went back to court.
Then just for the record.
The NRA's Top Attorney Was Convicted of Murder in 1964

According to recently unearthed court records, Bob Dowlut—who for 30 years has been the architect of the National Rifle Association's legal and cultural agenda—was sentenced to life in an Indiana prison for murdering a single mother with the same gun he'd allegedly used that day to rob and shoot a shopkeeper.

“Those who argue that a significant share of serious violence is perpetrated by previously nonviolent 'average Joes' are clinging to a myth," Dowlut—the NRA's general counsel—once wrote in a law journal, citing another author's assertion that "the 'average' gun owner and the 'average' criminal are worlds apart in background, social outlooks, and economic circumstances." But Dowlut's own criminal past raises questions about his qualifications to speak for those law-abiding "average Joes."

Using more than 2,000 pages of testimony—including behind-doors discussions that were never revealed to the jury that convicted Dowlut—Mother Jones' Dave Gilson tells in a mesmerizing longread how the then-Army private with a juvenile gun-crime record confessed to police and led them to a cemetery plot where he had buried the alleged murder weapon: a .45 Webley pistol.


The NRA's top lawyer was convicted of murder, then freed over bad police work. What really happened?
A buried gun. A case never closed. The dark past of Robert J. Dowlut.
Read on motherjones.​com
Dowlut was already well-known to police in his hometown of South Bend, Indiana, having escaped jail time after a juvie judge gave him a pass for robbing a local museum of several guns and using them to hold up a restaurant for $135. So when the mother of Dowlut's longtime girlfriend ended up shot twice in the heart and he was caught in a lie about his whereabouts that night, he explained how he'd come to kill her after trying to rob a store and shooting its proprietor in the stomach.

But after serving half a decade in prison, and despite solid forensic evidence matching Dowlut's dug-up pistol to the murder, the Indiana Supreme Court found that police had overzealously violated his constitutional rights in obtaining that confession—they reportedly denied him a lawyer despite multiple requests—and his conviction was overturned. Prosecutors gave up on trying the case again when much of their evidence was tossed out with the confession.

Dowlut went on to reinvent himself as an attorney and went straight to work for the NRA shortly after law school, just as the organization turned from its sporting roots to a more radical agenda:

Dowlut joined the organization just as it was being reborn. In what became known as the Cincinnati Revolt, hardliners had overthrown the NRA's moderate leadership and installed Harlon Carter as executive vice president in 1977. Under Carter, the NRA adopted uncompromising rhetoric and an aggressive political strategy that turned it into one of the nation's most powerful interest groups. Carter also envisioned recruiting "young men and women—lawyers, constitutional scholars, writers, historians, professors—who some day will be old and gray and wise, widely published and highly respected. It will be those individuals—in the future—who will provide the means to save the Second Amendment."
And that's just what Dowlut has become, shifting over the past three decades from defending gun rights to advancing an agenda of exceptional rights for gun owners and militias, one that overturns even the most popular, minimal limits on the purchase, possession, carry, and use of firearms.

As Gilson points out, it's unclear whether Dowlut ever told anyone at the gun group, including close friend and frontman Wayne LaPierre, about his criminal past. Ironically, his and the NRA's rhetoric of demonizing criminals as "not like us" and praising "good guys with guns" is precisely the kind of Manichaean outlook that once led cops to violate his civil rights as a murder suspect. Then again, maybe the cops and the NRA were right. Maybe Dowlut's not a good guy with a gun, but just another criminal lowlife.

http://gawker.com/the-nras-top-attorney-was-convicted-of-murder-in-1964-1612596516
 

Technarchy

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Sounds like a kick ass success story about a guy that made something of himself after hitting bottom.
 

jkcerda

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I gotta say, I do not support the modern NRA at all, even slightly.

They really aren't about common sense gun control, or safety classes like they used to be.

Now they are around mostly to scare the crap out of people and sell a ton of guns.
it is an amazing SPAM machine, I was only a member for one year, NEVER AGAIN.
 

burgundyyears

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Character assassination slimefest. Justice for those you agree with and that hold the correct opinions. Yawn.
 

Macky-Mac

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it is an amazing SPAM machine, I was only a member for one year, NEVER AGAIN.
have you ever checked to see if they actually took you off their membership list? :p

(they have of course been accused of inflating their membership by converting the departed into perpetual members)
 

bradl

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Sounds like a kick ass success story about a guy that made something of himself after hitting bottom.
A "kick-ass success story" should never come at the expense of someone else's life.

A re-examination of this statement is definitely in order.

BL.
 

burgundyyears

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Sep 3, 2010
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Excellent counterpoint with a factual representation and sources/data to support an opposing viewpoint. 10/10... would read again!
People love to view their enemies as pathological so character assassination and guilt by association is the name of the game. It's rather ironic, considering places like MoJo no doubt otherwise loved the limits the 60's Supreme Court put on police procedures, improper evidence, coerced confessions, Miranda, etc. But this individual became a lawyer for the wrong side afterward? Tut tut, that won't do at all.
 

Renzatic

Suspended
People love to view their enemies as pathological so character assassination and guilt by association is the name of the game. It's rather ironic, considering places like MoJo no doubt otherwise loved the limits the 60's Supreme Court put on police procedures, improper evidence, coerced confessions, Miranda, etc. But this individual became a lawyer for the wrong side afterward? Tut tut, that won't do at all.
This isn't about sides, nor is it simply about someone's checkered past. If the guy robbed a few liquor stores, served his times, then made something of himself after realizing the errors of his ways, that's understandable. People shouldn't be punished in perpetuum for their past mistakes.

But this guy was never punished. He literally got away with murder, and now champions an organization that supposedly stands against people like himself. His association does tarnish the NRA, and makes them look a bit hypocritical, even if said association is merely an honest mistake on their part.
 

burgundyyears

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Sep 3, 2010
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This isn't about sides, nor is it simply about someone's checkered past. If the guy robbed a few liquor stores, served his times, then made something of himself after realizing the errors of his ways, that's understandable. People shouldn't be punished in perpetuum for their past mistakes.

But this guy was never punished. He literally got away with murder, and now champions an organization that supposedly stands against people like himself. His association does tarnish the NRA, and makes them look a bit hypocritical, even if said association is merely an honest mistake on their part.
No. His conviction was thrown out. Period. He is not convicted of anything. There is nothing to legally punish him for once that happened. Seriously, their issue was that he became a lawyer and advisor for the wrong side. He would be considered the paragon of rehabilitation if he'd taken up with a gun control group instead. The rest is character assassination.
 

EvilQueen

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Aug 15, 2013
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In my own world
They don't really seem to push it anymore, I have yet to hear about their campaign for common sense gun control and common sense regulations.
Or campaign for mandatory safety classes.
Then you don't pay attention. They campaigned for better mental health reporting for background checks and better mental health services. That was shot down.

And just recently they had a event at the local gun club for the kids (Youth Hunter Education Challenge). Every kid that participated was required to complete a mandatory hunters safety course and a firearms safety course before they could participate.
 

Renzatic

Suspended
No. His conviction was thrown out. Period. He is not convicted of anything. There is nothing to legally punish him for once that happened. Seriously, their issue was that he became a lawyer and advisor for the wrong side. The rest is character assassination.
He wasn't convicted of anything, so he has no worries of being punished by the state. That doesn't save him from the court of popular opinion, though.

People don't take to obvious subversions of justice. If you have a guy who stole guns, used them to hold up a few stores, turned around and killed someone with a gun, got away with it all on a technicality, and now directly supports an organization that holds gun rights as paramount, it...yeah...it looks terrible.
 

dwfaust

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Jul 3, 2011
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They don't really seem to push it anymore, I have yet to hear about their campaign for common sense gun control and common sense regulations.
Or campaign for mandatory safety classes.



http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/14/nra-scare-tactics-_n_2688924.html

NRA Scare tactics to sell more guns



But they are bought and paid for by companies who make guns, thats why they push for fear, less regulation, less control, so they can sell more guns at a higher profit margin.

The NRA today exists to sell as many guns as possible.
Three words:

Fast and Furious.

'nuf said.

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He wasn't convicted of anything, so he has no worries of being punished by the state. That doesn't save him from the court of popular opinion, though.

People don't take to obvious subversions of justice. If you have a guy who stole guns, used them to hold up a few stores, turned around and killed someone with a gun, got away with it all on a technicality, and now directly supports an organization that holds gun rights as paramount, it...yeah...it looks terrible.
Again, Fast and Furious. Ask Brian Terry's family about it.
 

burgundyyears

macrumors 6502
Sep 3, 2010
378
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He wasn't convicted of anything, so he has no worries of being punished by the state. That doesn't save him from the court of popular opinion, though.

People don't take to obvious subversions of justice. If you have a guy who stole guns, used them to hold up a few stores, turned around and killed someone with a gun, got away with it all on a technicality, and now directly supports an organization that holds gun rights as paramount, it...yeah...it looks terrible.
Only looks terrible if you view the NRA as a pro-violent crime organization. Sure, he advocates for a group that would argue that the woman he allegedly killed should have had the ability and the means available to stop him dead in his tracks in 1963. Perhaps the clerk in the pawn shop he allegedly held up should have been able to stop him lethally then too. That's not hypocrisy. Reformation of opinions or rehabilitation, maybe, but not hypocrisy.
 

bradl

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Only looks terrible if you view the NRA as a pro-violent crime organization. Sure, he advocates for a group that would argue that the woman he allegedly killed should have had the ability and the means available to stop him dead in his tracks in 1963. Perhaps the clerk in the pawn shop he allegedly held up should have been able to stop him lethally then too. That's not hypocrisy. Reformation of opinions or rehabilitation, maybe, but not hypocrisy.
You are arguing this from the mindset of 'innocent until proven guilty'. He was proven guilty; a jury of his peers even ruled that. He was convicted of murder. His conviction was thrown out due to an issue with paperwork, but does not take him back to 'allegedly' committing the crime. There was a conviction.

BL.
 

burgundyyears

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Sep 3, 2010
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You are arguing this from the mindset of 'innocent until proven guilty'. He was proven guilty; a jury of his peers even ruled that. He was convicted of murder. His conviction was thrown out due to an issue with paperwork, but does not take him back to 'allegedly' committing the crime. There was a conviction.

BL.
Yes, but the conviction was vacated. We can play this game all we want, but legally he is convicted of nothing. This article from MoJo could have easily been written skewed to his favor about how he was wrongfully imprisoned for years because the cops railroaded him and he still made something out of his life. Either suspects are entitled to due process or they are not. They're not just entitled to it when we agree with what they did later in life.
 

hulugu

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...Again, Fast and Furious. Ask Brian Terry's family about it.
This is a non-sequitur. Also, I have talked to the Terry family, very nice people.

Yes, but the conviction was vacated. We can play this game all we want, but legally he is convicted of nothing. This article from MoJo could have easily been written skewed to his favor about how he was wrongfully imprisoned for years because the cops railroaded him and he still made something out of his life. Either suspects are entitled to due process or they are not. They're not just entitled to it when we agree with what they did later in life.
I agree to a point. The conviction was overturned because of a paperwork error rather than evidence that exonerated him and that's a very big difference. However, due process should allow him to move on and it's obvious that his fascination with guns and the law carried him to his current position.

Then you don't pay attention. They campaigned for better mental health reporting for background checks and better mental health services. That was shot down.
Largely because it was unworkable and would require dismantling privacy protections, however, it was decent half-measure.

...And just recently they had a event at the local gun club for the kids (Youth Hunter Education Challenge). Every kid that participated was required to complete a mandatory hunters safety course and a firearms safety course before they could participate.
It's important to note that safety classes for children have very little effect on accidental shooting rates.