Thursday, December 20, 2012

Col. Jim Jeffries USMCR, Rest In Peace

North Carolina and the nation lost a good gun rights attorney on Tuesday. Colonel James Henry Jeffries III died in Greensboro after a battle with stomach cancer. I knew Jim from a list here in North Carolina that dealt with gun rights. He continued to be active on it almost to the end as he posted about a NC Court of Appeals decision concerning a felon in possession less than two weeks before he passed away.

From his obituary in the Greensboro News & Record:

GREENSBORO — James Henry Jeffries III, 78, died on December 18, 2012 at his home in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Mr. Jeffries was a United States Marine Corps Korean War veteran and graduate of the University of Kentucky and the University of Kentucky, School of Law. Mr. Jeffries was a former prosecutor for the United States Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. and a retired Colonel in the United States Marine Corps Reserve. Following retirement from the Justice Department, Mr. Jeffries engaged in the private practice of law in Greensboro.

Mr. Jeffries was preceded in death by his beloved wife Ruth Anne Jeffries and is survived by his brother Conrad A. Conrad of Scottsdale, Arizona, his daughter Anne Jeffries Reardon, his sons, James Henry Jeffries IV and John Harlan Jeffries, and his daughters-in-law Sonya Renee Lowe and Valerie Hall Jeffries. He was also the beloved "Paw Paw" of nine grandchildren: Lauren Anne Jeffries, Erin Elizabeth Jeffries, James Henry Jeffries V, Austin Matthew Jeffries, Tara Jean Jeffries, Daniel Boyd Jeffries, Kathryn Chelsea Reardon, John Augustus Reardon, and Rebecca Anne Reardon, all of Greensboro, North Carolina. He was the Pater Familias.

Services will be private.

His family requests that any memorials in lieu of flowers be made in his name to the Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment which can be contacted at
Online condolences may be offered at
 Dave Hardy said of Jim, "back when he was practicing he was probably our greatest expert on NFA law."

Paul Valone of Grass Roots North Carolina called him a "pro-gun hero" and had this to say on his passing:
“I had the honor of knowing Jim Jeffries for eighteen years. Jim knew the law and was especially well versed on gun laws and gun issues. A tough-minded former federal prosecutor, Jim did briefs for GOA, helped GRNC on innumerable gun-related issues, and invariably provided a clear-minded and cogent analysis of a situation. I will miss him as an irreplaceable resource, but especially as a friend.”
When the ATF tried to intimidate sellers of author John Ross' book Unintended Consequences and were harassing his ex-wife, Jim was his attorney.  On his website, Ross says of the letter that Jim wrote,
ATF’s official response was that they knew nothing about this, and that it must have been individuals acting on their own, without agency approval. This strikes me as a little far-fetched, that two agents would go out at 7:00 AM on their own time on an unapproved fishing expedition, but maybe that’s what happened.

No one has bothered me or my ex-wife since Jim Jeffries wrote the above letter.
I have posted the letter in question below in its entirety. From what others have told me, this isn't the only letter of this sort that he wrote to the BATF telling them where to stick it.

TELEPHONE: (336) 282-6024

30 June, 2000

Honorable Bradley A. Buckles, Director
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
United States Department of the Treasury
650 Massachusetts Avenue, Northwest
Washington, D.C. 20226

Re: Mr. John Ross
St. Louis, Missouri

Dear Mr. Buckles:

I represent Mr. John Ross of St. Louis, Missouri. Mr. Ross is an investment broker and financial adviser with a respected investment firm in St. Louis. He has degrees in English and Economics from Amherst College. Mr. Ross is very active in community and public affairs. He is the grandson of President Harry Truman's press secretary, Charles Ross, and was himself the Democratic Party candidate for the United States House of Representatives from the Second District of Missouri in 1998. In short, Mr. Ross is an upstanding and productive member of his community.

Mr. Ross has had a lifelong interest in firearms and is both a Federal Firearms Licensee and a Special Occupational Taxpayer under the National Firearms Act. Of central importance to the purpose of this letter is the fact that Mr. Ross is also the author of Unintended Consequences, a highly popular novel about the trials and tribulations of legal gun owners and dealers in the United States. Although the book is manifestly a work of fiction, it accurately depicts documented historical events in the long and sordid history of misconduct by personnel of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. The book is in its fifth hardcover printing with some 50,000 copies in circulation and has become enormously popular among the gun owners of the United States. Because the book is highly critical of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, it appears that some in your agency have undertaken to suppress it and to intimidate its author.

Honorable Bradley A. Buckles - page two

For example, in 1997 the book's publisher became aware that individuals purporting to be BATF agents had threatened vendors of the book in at least three different states with "problems" if they did not cease their sales of the book. A full-page ad in Shotgun News offering a $10,000 reward for the identity of these individuals put a stop to that particular business.

Now we have learned that in late May of this year agents from your St. Louis field office have engaged in an official effort to enlist Mrs. Ross, who is amicably separated from her husband as an informant against her husband. On or about May 24 2000, at about 7:30 a.m. two agents approached Mrs. Ross on the street while she was walking her dog, identified themselves by displaying their BATF credentials, and proceeded to inquire what she thought about her husband's book. When she was noncommittal the agents terminated the conversation and departed. This contact had been preceded in previous weeks by pretext telephone calls to Mrs. Ross, by what were undoubtedly your agents, in an attempt to draw her out about her husband's book. An agent, using the pseudonym of Peter Nettleson, and pretending to be a great fan of Unintended Consequences, sought Mrs. Ross's agreement that the book was, in fact, "a manual for the murder of federal agents." [1]

I note in passing that best-selling author Tom Clancy in recent books has murdered a Director of the FBI, the President of the United States, the entire Congress, the Supreme Court, the entire cabinet, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a few lesser functionaries. I presume he has not thereby become subject to investigation by your literary critics.

1. As an experienced federal prosecutor I am fully aware of what is going on here. Disgruntled former spouses are a prime source of intelligence for law enforcement, having as they frequently do both a strong bias against the subject of the investigation and the proximity and intimacy to know many things not available to others. A structured approach such as this required, according to your manuals, formal agency approval. It required the investment of time and effort in setting up the approach: determining Mrs. Ross's new address, learning her new telephone number, physical surveillance to determine her routine so that she could be approached in a way that she could not simply shut the door and where there would be less risk of confirming witnesses, the use of a female agent to lessen any apprehension at being approached publicly by strangers, etc.

Honorable Bradley A. Buckles - page three

What kind of people are you? Is there no honor within the ranks of your agency? It has long been clear, from repeated court decisions and congressional committee reports, that your agents have no familiarity with the Second, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the United States Constitution. Now it appears that they have not even been introduced to the very first Article of the Bill of Rights.

I am writing to express our outrage about this conduct and to formally demand that your agency cease and desist from this unconstitutional abuse of power. I am contemporaneously making formal Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act demands upon BATF for the records and files pertaining to Mr. Ross, his book, and these events.

By copies of this letter I am requesting the Inspector General of the Treasury Department to formally investigate this unlawful conduct and the Attorney General to investigate to determine whether Mr. Ross's civil rights are being violated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Sincerely yours,

James H. Jeffries, III

cc: Attorney General of the United States
Inspector General, Department of the Treasury
We in the gun rights community were fortunate to have an attorney of Col. Jeffries' caliber on our side.

Rest in peace, Col. Jeffries.

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