The Tactical Industry and the Erosion of Constitutional Rights

by Eric Dorenbush – Green Eye Tactical

Benchmade assists Oregon City Police in the destruction of firearms
Benchmade assists Oregon City Police in the destruction of firearms

U.S.A.-( Earlier this week, a Facebook post by the Oregon City Police went viral and resulted in severe backlash to the knife company Benchmade.

Right up front, I want to restate, as I have in the past, that Green Eye Tactical trains RESPONSIBLE citizens. That is how I look at it. I don’t care if you are civilian, LE, Fed, Military, or whatever we will offer the same high-level training. I provide no training for LE or Mil that I would not offer to civilians.

I base my position in the issue on the Constitution and its original intent. Period. I’m not a “but”er. You either believe in the Constitution, as written, within the purpose and frame of when the founders wrote it, or you don’t.

I do have a high degree of respect for our Law Enforcement Officers. They do a completely thankless job where they are underpaid, underfunded, undermanned, undertrained and under-equipped. And it is OUR fault as taxpaying voters and citizens. However, you are volunteering for a job where you are enforcing laws and protecting rights- and all that entails.

Just as there are people who I would not train, there are departments and agencies that I will not teach. One of my local departments are on my blacklist due to their ingrained positions on engaging someone for the mere presence of a firearm, whether it was legal use or not. Everyone has to search themselves and determine where they stand and what lines they will not cross. That’s mine. Your lines may be different, and that’s fine. It is your choice. /rant off.

Back to the issue at hand, in this post, the department thanked Benchmade for assisting in destroying confiscated firearms, in the Benchmade shop. There were also pictures of the destruction posted.

This post quickly spread on social media pages and has resulted in numerous boycott campaigns. The new leading 2a advocates, the Firearms Policy Coalition, even posted a screenshot of their FOIA request to Oregon City Police.

Firearms Policy Coalition FOIA request to Oregon City Police
Firearms Policy Coalition FOIA request to Oregon City Police

So, why is this such a big deal?

Well, if you have been following the news lately, there have been massive encroachments into many Constitutional rights across the country, including, in this case, the Second Amendment. Recently, Oregon narrowly passed their Red Flag laws- along with some other states. These laws allow for the immediate confiscation of firearms, without due process. These laws are a very sensitive issue in the industry today.

When we put things together and view the totality of circumstances, we see a police agency in a red flag law state destroying confiscated firearms. We have a popular company in the industry aiding them (interestingly, committing a federal felony in one of the pictures). This insight can give viewers the perception that the Police may have taken these firearms without due process in one of these red flag cases.

That might sound like a bit of a leap in logic, mixed in with assumptions- but there is more to the story.

As with most things, when someone calls attention to something, that thing gets looked into:

It looks like starting in 2012, Benchmade increased political spending. They also ceased contributions to Conservative candidates and solely donated to Democrat candidates.

Benchmade donated to two primary state officials in 2017-2018.

The first is Rep. Kurt Schrader. He is the rep for Oregon’s 5th Congressional District. He is not a pro-2a official. In 2012 he was quoted by The Oregonian as saying:

“However, while the immediate focus will inevitably be to ban certain firearms and magazines, the problems we have are more deeply rooted in American society.”, after the Connecticut school shooting.

If that 2012 date looks familiar, that is where Benchmade’s political contributions switched from small donations to Conservative candidates, to more substantial contributions to Democratic candidates.

The second contribution is even more puzzling than the first. That donation was to Senator Martin Heinrich of NEW MEXICO. I scrubbed through all of Benchmade’s business listings and couldn’t find any business interests in that state.

Martin Heinrich is an interesting name. He is not well known, but he was one of the names in the hat for Hillary Clinton’s Vice-Presidential candidate for the 2016 election. This guy has MUCH scarier views on the Second Amendment.

In 2018 the Albuquerque Journal as saying:

“It doesn’t matter if you have a folding stock, it doesn’t matter if you have a pistol grip … but it does matter how the action cycles and how fast they (the weapons) can throw lead downrange, and how many times you can pull the trigger before you’re out of ammunition, Those are the functional things that are at the heart of what makes these (guns) so dangerous compared to other firearms.”

Yeah, this guy wants to forget targeting cosmetics and re-define language restricting firearms to function, capability and effectiveness.

Read the interview to grasp the full extent:

So, now when we look at the totality of circumstances, we see that Benchmade changed politics back in 2012. They supported two leading candidates, both anti-2a Democrats, one of which isn’t even in their state.

Oregon passes controversial Red Flag confiscation laws, and these laws are a very hot button topic in the industry today. Then Benchmade’s local police department asks Benchmade for help in destroying confiscated firearms, and they happily comply.

Both Oregon City Police and Benchmade have posted replies where they apologize or walk back the posts. I think that they are very telling also:

Oregon City PD Satement
Oregon City PD Satement
Benchmade Statement
Benchmade Statement

First off, the Oregon City Police’s wrote the post craftily. Pay attention to:

“We receive guns that are turned in from community members that they no longer want the guns and want them destroyed. We also have guns that are evidence and when a case is adjudicated the guns are ordered by the court to be destroyed.”

This post is a broad and general statement. It does not say “the guns in this picture” or “the guns in this post.” To excuse the pun, this raises some red flags immediately to me.

If criminals used these firearms in violent felonies (robbery, assault, etc.) I think most people wouldn’t be too upset. Equally, it is the property owner’s choice to do what they want with their property. So, if some gun owner doesn’t want their firearm anymore and takes it willingly to the police to have it disposed of, then hey, that’s your choice. I may not agree with it, but that’s your right. Regardless, what they are NOT definitively stating speaks volumes, at least to me.

Likewise, if you look at Benchmade’s response above (or in the gallery of pictures if you are on FB), it is utterly devoid of addressing the issue that has caused this uproar. They simply state:

“Oregon City Police requested the use of specialty equipment within the Benchmade facility to follow these requirements, and as a supporting partner of our local police force, we obliged the request.”

And then they follow up with:

“Benchmade is a proud and unwavering supporter of both law enforcement and Second Amendment rights.”

Yet they make zero statements quantifying what “rights” they support, nor do they address the gun confiscation issue. How simple would it be to state:

“We were assured by OCP that all firearms destroyed were used in violent crimes or destroyed at the owner’s request”?

Case closed at that point for me. You can’t hide behind policy or law if it is unconstitutional. You can’t hide behind “I was following orders” if that order was unconstitutional or immoral, period.

I reserved judgment when I saw this issue go viral before I had time to adequately research this issue, which is why my article here is late to the party. However, at this point, I feel that there is enough to make a statement on the subject.

Here it is:

Green Eye Tactical will no longer recommend Benchmade products. While Green Eye Tactical has never been contacted by or provided training for Oregon City Police in the past, they will be added to our Blacklist and will be ineligible for any Training, Consulting, or Advice in the future. If either Oregon City Police or Benchmade make definitive statements that clearly state their position on the pertinent issues (following policy doesn’t count), then we will re-evaluate this position.

It is my hope that other product suppliers, consumers, and trainers in the industry also make their position on the issue clear as well.

About Eric Dorenbush – Green Eye TacticalGreen Eye Tactical

Eric is a U.S. Army Special Operations veteran with Extensive combat experience in Afghanistan and Iraq. He has served in the 82nd Airborne Division and 1st SFOD-D as an Operator. He has been instructing Special Operations personnel, Law Enforcement, Military and Civilians since 2010. He is also an NRA certified instructor and a Texas Concealed Carry Instructor.