Useful Idiot? Firearms Trainer Rob Pincus Endorses Expanded Background Checks

Rob Pincus, left, Jon Hodoway, right at SHOT Show some years ago.

I’m not writing this to pillory Rob Pincus.  Lord knows there’s enough of that going on already on social media, 2A message boards, and the like.  

What I want to know is how someone with his 2A bona fides can say with a straight face that expanding the background check system, to include criminalizing private transfers, will effectively reduce gun-related violence.

Because there is no credible evidence to suggest that that is the case.  None.

Let me back up a minute. 

For those that don’t know what’s going on, Pincus wrote an open letter recently with Dan Gross, the former president of The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, entitled, “Guns in America: Ending the Culture War & Starting a Productive Conversation,” that calls for both sides of the gun divide to come together to embrace strategies to curb gun violence in America. 

Though I believe Pincus’ intentions are grounded in a sincere attempt to impart positive change (not sure about Gross’ agenda in all this), the reality is most of the letter is stilted rhetoric detailing repackaged solutions that come across as nothing more than lip service to 2A supporters.  

Things like “raise awareness,” “educate the public,” “enforce existing laws” — all stuff that we as a society should already be doing to the nth degree, but we’re not because, well, so much valuable time, energy and money are being used to stop Bloomberg and his minions from disarming America.  

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: imagine if Bloomberg called off his gun-grabbing dogs altogether. Imagine if he hadn’t wasted $1 billion on the 2020 election (including his own failed presidential bid) and instead partnered with gun-rights group to put all that money behind suicide prevention (suicides account for two-thirds of gun deaths), gun safety training for young people, improved mental health treatment, violence interrupter programs in high-crime neighborhoods, the hardening of schools, churches, and other soft targets.  

You know, stuff that actually shows promise. How many lives could’ve been saved this past year alone?  

WATCH: Suspect Shot Dead After Trying to Rob a Gun Range

It’s a question we’ll never know the answer to, sadly. Bloomberg isn’t interested in funding programs that work. Destroying the 2A is his sole focus. And, the roadmap to doing so starts with criminalizing private transfers. 

Which is why it’s so puzzling that Pincus would close off the letter with the following call to action: “Fortunately, the policy area with the most synergistic message is also the one that represents what we believe is the greatest potential for impact: Expanded Background Checks.”

This is B.S. Pincus is too smart of a dude not to recognize it as such. No proof exists to suggest that what anti-gunners call “universal background checks” reduce gun violence.  

Whether it’s prison surveys from inmates involved in gun crime that show the vast majority obtained their firearms using methods that would NOT be thwarted by expanded background checks, or studies from unbiased think tanks like that find “private-seller background checks have uncertain effects on firearm homicides” (emphasis added), or the fact that most mass killers have no disqualifying record that would prevent them from buying a firearm in a commercial setting, you can’t hang your hat on background checks as a legislative priority unless you’re ignoring the facts.  

The sole purpose of universal background checks is to prime the pumps for universal registration. This has always been the case. In fact, our own government has admitted as much.  

National Institute of Justice Deputy Director Greg Ridgeway noted in a 2013, Obama-era memo, titled, “Summary of Select Firearm Violence Prevention Strategies,” that the effectiveness of universal background checks depends on the “ability to reduce straw purchasing, requiring gun registration and an easy gun transfer process” (emphasis added). 

Again, I’m sure I’m not telling Pincus stuff he doesn’t already know. Pincus has been a pro-2A advocate for decades. All of this is common knowledge to dyed-in-the-wool gun guys.

I will say that in his defense, Pincus does explain in the letter that he would carve out an exception to make “it impossible for the government to compile a comprehensive list of gun owners.” I’m sure he means it, too.  

But the problem is Pincus won’t be in the room when the sausage is being made, nor will he be on the Senate and House floor when lawmakers are giving the bill their final yeas and nays. 

The most recent national legislation — H.R. 8 Bipartisan Background Check Act of 2021 — does include a clause prohibiting a national gun registry. But that prohibition only applies to that specific bill. It isn’t a prohibition on the federal government in perpetuity. Once Congress realizes that enforcing universal background checks is impossible without a national registry, Democrats will start to push for one. And the next time they gain the White House and a majority in Congress, they’ll make it law.

So, my question for Pincus is this: why tee up support for a bill that will have no measurable impact on crime, that will leave the door open for more draconian legislation, and that effectively does the bidding of the most anti-gun zealot known to man, Michael Bloomberg?

I’ll end by saying, I don’t know Pincus personally. I met him in passing once at a SHOT Show some years back and found him to be a nice guy and an asset to the gun community.

And based on his published material online, I know he is not an idiot. But in this isolated case, it’s like he’s acting as a useful one for the Bloomberg machine. What gives?

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About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 52 comments… add one }
  • Ej harbet April 16, 2021, 4:37 pm

    I knew Robb was a pinko for a couple years now. Glad he finally committed sepuku finally. May he get what comes to quislings.

  • Jonathon W Hood April 15, 2021, 5:27 pm

    This doesn’t sound like the Rob Pinkus that I have followed for years. I guess that I would have to see something from him directly to believe that he would even go down that road. If he chose to go that way he would certainly lose any support and consideration from me. To give up anything would be far too much and I believe that Mr. Pinkus is well aware of that. I would like to or have to see something directly from him before I could believe that it was how he stands. Far too much BS on Facebook to put any stock in anything that they have to say…

  • sh68137 April 9, 2021, 7:09 am

    Brady Act Background checks compelled as a precondition to exercising a Right:
    The right to keep and bear arms encompasses the right to buy and sell firearms. The Ninth Circuit has so ruled.

    Being compelled to ask government permission to exercise a right converts the right into a government-issued permission and the permission is revocable. Conversion of our right to keep and bear arms into a revocable government-issued permission was one of two fundamental purposes of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993.

    The second purpose of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993 was to sucker citizens into supporting destruction of their Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Tenth Amendment-guaranteed rights as a pre-condition to obtaining government permission to exercise their right to keep and bear arms.

  • john April 7, 2021, 5:23 pm

    A useful Idiot? No just an Idiot.

    • Ej harbet April 16, 2021, 4:38 pm

      Useful to the enemy

  • Joe Maz April 5, 2021, 3:42 pm

    Everyone is constantly complaining about their rights being violated whether it’s 2A or wearing masks,etc.
    What about free speech??? Pincus has a right to his opinions and all I see here is people going after him for voicing his opinion. Whether you like it or not, that’s his right. You all have your heads where the sun doesn’t shine.

    • John Z April 18, 2021, 7:20 pm

      Rob does have a right to speak his opinion. But, as a representative and leader of the gun rights community, he has an obligation to be sure his be position is not based on emotion, ignorance or self promotion. In other words, he should know better!

  • Shawn April 5, 2021, 10:50 am

    Rob “Pinko.”

    • Ej harbet April 16, 2021, 4:41 pm

      I should’ve trademarked it.
      Somebody probably registered the domain by now.

  • "Doc" Graham April 5, 2021, 10:11 am

    I know Rob Pincus. through a couple of courses I took with him. I am an FFL and I do not think Rob knows other FFL-related problems exist with the “Expanded Background Check”. One is that if a “Delayed” response is obtained during the submission of a background check, the “Delayed” period (which is currently 3 BUSINESS days before the the firearm can be transferred increases to virtually 1/2 a calander month, with another provision that after 1/2 calendar month, the ATF can extend the delay to a total of an entire calendar month. I receive a “Delayed” response from the ATF about 10-12% of the time. This is just another name for an imposed “Waiting Period”.

  • No one special April 5, 2021, 2:48 am

    Just a thought here, but maybe he’s less of a turn coat and more playing the long game?

    He realizes more gun control is an unfortunate inevitability given our current senate/congress/presidential roster, so is moving to back the one law (just or not) that will have the least negative impact on lawful gun owners and shut up the gun control advocates because they “finally got a win!”

    I mean compare expanded background checks with other laws, such as limiting high capacity mags, the 6th circuit B.S about the right to carry not being a right at all, etc, etc.

    He could of realized that sure, we can let the weenies have the background check “win” and they’ll piss off for a while and leave us in peace, and when the new “harsher law” proves to amount to jack shit when it comes to actually reducing “gun violence” we can point at it and go “we tried it your way, it didn’t do a lick of good, so no, we won’t agree to x, y, or z!”

    • Kevin April 5, 2021, 7:15 pm

      No. No. No. Not one more inch.
      “He realizes more gun control is an unfortunate inevitability given our current……..” realizing an unfortunate inevitability…..that is how we got into this mess to begin with. So keep digging the hole, that’s the answer? Maybe you and Rod can suck on an egg together.

      • Ej harbet April 16, 2021, 4:42 pm

        Or dock

  • FB April 3, 2021, 11:00 pm

    What you are proposing is exactly what we are trying to avoid. The 2A is a RIGHT, not something to be dispensed at the whim of some overlord. Tying it to something like CCW background checks puts everyone at the mercy of bureaucratic arbitrariness at best, politically motivated confiscation at its worst. “Shall issue” lawsuits are one manifestation of the tendency of the left to deprive citizens of the power to protect themselves. Forcing training with standards determined by political enemies is not something I want to contemplate either. The end result of this would be to shrink the pool of firearms owners and users, and have them registered and tagged for collection.
    If the recent surge in firearms sales is largely due to lefties, all the better. If they want training the NRA offers plenty. If not, I’d rather they be inept and more dangerous to themselves than us.

    • FB April 3, 2021, 11:03 pm

      This was a reply to DT – see below.

  • Lt. Dan April 3, 2021, 10:45 am

    He took money or someone has pictures.

  • JOHN RANDO April 3, 2021, 1:35 am

    The problem is that neither side rally wants this to end Brady or 2A groups. Why? Money. The real answer to this has nothing to do,with Firearms but to tackle the root means that real work would have to be put in. And the realization and acknowledgement that some people cannot be given certain rights and/or privileges without endangering the rights and privileges of all. But that once again would take real work and dialogue.

  • Amicus Curae April 2, 2021, 4:00 pm

    If an illegal law is passed, it would seem that it wouldn’t/couldn’t be enforced. If there was an attempt at enforcement, it would have to occur at a retail level. Mom’s, Pop’s and great uncle Looey’s exchanges would occur at a level too low for enforcement. The only way enforcement could occur would be if one of the parties involved, contacted the police/BATFE. I can’t see that happening very often, if ever.
    The Redcoats were on there way to confiscate weapons from Concord and Lexington. In the modern world, if this era’s “Redcoats” march on Spokane or maybe Waldorf, does anyone think there will be a different result? Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it time again and again.
    The British are coming, the British are coming!!!

  • Grant Stevens April 2, 2021, 3:58 pm

    The Second Amendment is an all-or-nothing proposition. And until it is repealed, it remains the supreme law of the land. There is no such thing as “reasonable” and “common sense” gun control. The ultimate goal of such compromising language is to disarm the American people. The Second Amendment is the line in the sand for saving the rest of our Bill of Rights and our Republic. There can be no compromise and no quarter given to politicians, judges or government agents who seek to infringe upon the unalienable and God-given right of law-abiding American citizens to keep and bear arms. “Shall not be infringed” means just what it says, political legalese and double-speak notwithstanding. These power-crazed tyrants would do well to remember what happened the last time a tyrannical government came for the guns and ammunition of the American people. Sic semper tyrannis!

  • John April 2, 2021, 2:58 pm

    I hope your not to naive to know this! You said Bloomberg is a multi Billionaire. “HE GOT PAID OFF! ” Like I have said before,
    ” There is an estimated 392 million guns in the country today, also there are estimates of up to 12 trillion rounds of ammunition in private hands today in the USA. IF LEGAL GUN OWNER WERE THE PROBLEM YOU WOULD KNOW IT”

    • John April 2, 2021, 3:00 pm

      Also, I wanted to say that you made some great points about prevention and what could be done with a billion dollars or so.

  • DT April 2, 2021, 2:49 pm

    I have an idea, just some thoughts and I’d like constructive feedback. I support 2A and understand the meaning of all of it, but I’m wondering if we, as gun owners can come up with something we can live with. Most of us have a CCW permit that required a fair amount of background check handsome sort of demonstration of proficiency in safe handling and shooting. Can we require that that as a prerequisite to a handgun purchase? Meaning that before a purchaser of a handgun takes possession of it they must show or obtain a CCW permit. It would not effect those of us that already have one and we could even eliminate the current background check for new purchases by showing your current CCW and the shop just checking online to see if the CCW has not been revoked. The CCW requirements should be standardized and reciprocal between states (allowing for municipalities to impose restrictions as long as they stay within the constitution).
    A similar proposal could be implemented for rifles and shotguns (long guns) but using the Hunter Safety Program and a card issued to the owner (prospective buyer) that would allow for a purchase by showing a current card. With so many new firearm owners (purchases) by new shooters that don’t have proper training (if any) most of us were lucky enough to have grown up with some training and exposure to shooting but I would like to see that there was something in place that would provide some training for new owners. These ideas would have a minimal effect on current owners/shooters and by implementing a CCW reciprocity system across the country it would make traveling with a firearm easier for all of us. I’d love to hear how these ideas can be amended and added too that would make this something representatives could propose and that doesn’t further restrict our 2nd Amendment rights. I’d rather we try to come up with ideas that we can live with before the left enacts laws that would eventually restrict and take away our rights/guns.

    • J anonomous April 5, 2021, 10:52 am

      DT you ARE a fool to think these lefty commies will EVER stop their march to eliminate the 2nd Amendent. EVERY time we accept their INFRINGEMENTS they advance their agenda and we give up liberties whether or not it directly affects you at the time, eventually it WILL affect us ALL.
      Figure it out dude! They have no interest in safety,reduction in crime or any other excuse that they spew in order to dis arm the AMERICAN PEOPLE, to dis arm us IS THEIR GOAL!
      You buy a gun YOU are responsible to learn proper use, You buy a lawn mower, chain saw or countless other “dangerous items” YOU have the responsibility to learn safe use, we don’t NEED gov’nt to mandate it.
      Funny we need an ID /BG check to excercise a RIGHT, after of course a considerable delay and yet the commies fight tooth and nail to mandate showing an ID to vote, HOW DO YOU SQUARE THAT?
      KEEP your capitulating comment/suggestions to yourself as they have NO USE in protecting or furthering the rights of true gun owners!

  • Ben April 2, 2021, 1:45 pm

    I like the point that illustrates what resources and efforts would be available for bipartisan initiatives that might actually work rather than having both sides waste a fortune to try to eek out a pyrrhic victory over the other.

  • area 52 April 2, 2021, 1:10 pm

    These so called gun training instructors have a habit of supporting mandatory training requirements to get a concealed carry license. Now I’m all in favor of getting good training and getting educated on your state’s gun and self defense laws if you want to carry. However mandatory training will cause more hoops for one to jump through, more fees, and you might end up on a waiting list to get into a class to apply for or renew you carry license.
    The reason the instructors support this requirement is more money for them. That’s why I don’t take any of the internet gun guru(s) very seriously.

  • Peter Brown April 2, 2021, 12:32 pm

    The cancer of communist china incrementally consumes this country in minutia. The patient was infected long ago and the diagnosis complete with the fraudulent election. Senator McCarthy, you paid dearly attempting to wake up America. You were right, sir.

  • Peter Brown April 2, 2021, 12:20 pm

    Does pinkas carry a rubber pistol?

  • Nicholas April 2, 2021, 11:29 am

    I have spoken to Rob Pincus about putting forth the proper arguments in law to protect and enforce the RKBA. Recently, I sent him and several others this
    While Pincus is the subject of his involvement with promoting background checks, he is not much different from those who are presented as leaders in the community. You can go through the entire leadership and attorney’s, but for one, and you will find the same mindset. Refuse to bring the proper arguments, and lets see if we can compromise our way to the eventual loss. They are making money, living nice life styles from contributions and legal fees, but they have no incentive to actually fight this battle in a manner that will provide a true victory. Heller, was in no way a true victory.
    With the number of members in the NRA and GOA, alone, any gun control could be scrubbed from the books, and future arguments laid to rest. Sadly, there are just a few of us who want to win. The rest don’t care to win, and the followers have been completely mislead as to the proper legal fight.

  • Otis Boss April 2, 2021, 11:29 am

    Rob Pinkus, there is nothing you can say for 2A. Swollow that blue pill and be the anti-gunner you truely are.
    Too bad. Goodby mofo!

  • Gerry April 2, 2021, 10:47 am

    At this point, I’m most interested in a response from Pincus. What about it, Rob?

  • steve Hammill April 2, 2021, 10:33 am

    The time for talk is over.
    It is time to let our tools speak for us.

  • Richard Pilny April 2, 2021, 10:14 am

    Give an inch and they won’t be satisfied and will want the whole yard. Never ever compromise our 2nd Amendment!

  • Tony D April 2, 2021, 9:38 am

    Pincus is just a moron who wants to be an professional operator but to me he’s a joke I didn’t like him very much on personal defense TV with mr Janic I hope I spelled his name correctly

    • Peter Brown April 2, 2021, 12:33 pm

      Maybe he’s been drinking from the same cup as biden.

  • Dr. Strangelove April 2, 2021, 9:04 am

    Here’s an idea: Throw the book at gang bangers who commit crimes with guns. Lock them up and keep them there. Remember when Reagan did that and crime went down?

    • Peter Brown April 2, 2021, 12:25 pm

      But, Dr. Strangelove, lock up potential demorat voters? Oh that’s right, there are efforts to restore voting rights to murderers, rapists, drug kingpins and dealers. I swear, they have their (voting) bases covered.

    • etph April 2, 2021, 1:20 pm

      That’ll never happen. I believe in places like southern CA, LE and gangs have an implicit understanding to avoid one another. I spoke to a person who lives in a place surrounded by several gangs. That geographic location is in neutral territory. But he spoke to a deputy about why they show up the next day after gangs shoot it out among each other in the surrounding areas. They don’t go there quickly unless someone is shot but if it’s just a series of shootings, the sheriff will wait until hours later or the next day to pretend they care. One of the reasons given is that LE showing up while shots are being fired will exacerbate the situation. Now they’ll have additional problems like the gangs shooting at LE and vice versa. So it’s better to let the kids handle their fights among themselves. This is the mentality among at least the sheriff in that area. I suspect this is the case in the L.A. ghetto areas. This is one of the reasons why I will never trust LE with my life. My mother thought so highly about them until we were involved in an incident where I almost shot 1 of 4 thugs from a south central L.A. gang (all ex-cons) who attempted a home invasion. I live in a very nice neighborhood and the sheriff station is less than 10 minutes away. I was already on the phone with a deputy one minute before the idiots attempted to invade our home. The first sheriff arrived 15 minutes later. The “diversity” hire berated me for not having talked to the thug through my closed front door to avoid all that from happening🤦🏻‍♂️ She was more concerned with that than with the health and well being of my partially-disabled mother and my safety.

      • Russell Holness April 2, 2021, 4:59 pm

        I’m curious… what do you mean by the term “diversity hire”?

        • Kevin April 5, 2021, 7:24 pm

          Hiring a non-white person who is less qualified for the job, but fits the proper color scheme. That is a diversity hire. Or having to hire a certain number of non-white people to fill an opening. Even though they may be less qualified for a particular job.

  • Randall Slack April 2, 2021, 8:51 am

    First off Bloomberg wants nothing to do with keeping our rights or the 2A.
    Their goal is to disarm us…
    The new so called assault weapons bill is almost every gun that is a semi- auto.
    So what does that leave us?
    And if it doesnt curtail the criminal violence the rest will be on the chopping block.

    I will say this again , do not rely on a public mouth piece such as Pincus,LaPierre, or Politician to savevour gun rights…IT IS UP TO US NOT GIVING AN INCH ANY MORE!!!


    A background check is an infringement,red flag laws are an infringment, permits are an infringment,waiting periods are an infringment,any law that restricts us from obtaining a firearm IS AN INFRINGEMENT…PERIOD!!!

  • Keith Fuller April 2, 2021, 8:42 am

    So if the proposed legislation does absolutely nothing, that is to say it does not hurt or help the situation, then just do it. The anti-gun folks will think they won a battle when in fact they really didn’t do much of anything. Furthermore, it would make the gun community appear as if they are working towards what they perceive as solutions instead of fighting every single gun safety proposal presented. That will come back to bite you in the long term as killings by deranged gunmen continue.

    • Billy M April 2, 2021, 10:16 am

      The saying “the devil is in the details” applies to this bill. As one commenter put it, “if it doesn’t help or harm, let them have it?. The problem is the details of the bill. The wording in the bill is confusing as to when you don’t have to do a background check. But here is an example of what would require a background check and transfer. Several years ago several of my son’s professor wanted to shoot a firearm (they were not from this country). My son and his professors met me at the range. They had a fun and memorable morning firing a variety of handguns (a shout out of thanks to the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s range instructor that came out and assisted while I went over the safety, how the range works, and how firearms work). This bill would have made that outing ILLEGAL! If you are at the range with your new pistol and another shooter notices it and starts asking you about it, like most of the people I’ve met at the range, you would normally offer to let them fire it. YOU GO TO JAIL under this bill for doing that without going thru a background check. Second problem, if an FFL in your area wont do the transfer and the next closest one is 100 miles away, it would deter someone from purchasing a weapon. Also, this would allow FFL’s to charge whatever they wanted to for a transfer (locally her it’s about $25 to $35).

  • Joe April 2, 2021, 8:37 am

    Give an inch, take a mile. The United States Constitution is in jeopardy. Stand up, speak out.

  • Ramjet April 2, 2021, 8:36 am

    Just think if the anti-gun crowd now including Pincus focused on mental health and spent that money to combat mental health issues? Seems a much more useful endeavor than alienating every gun owner in the country.

    I think he just trying to be significant and well like Clinton any press is good press?

    Rob your significance in the Gun community has been obliterated.

  • David C Brown April 2, 2021, 7:04 am

    There’s nothing useful about Pincus. He’s just an idiot and a grifter.

    Never understood why anyone thought he was worth listening to as an ‘expert’. What are his qualifications? He was a small town cop for a short period and has taken classes from other trainers. Hardly glowing credentials. Maybe it’s his “I’m an operator” action poses.

    Other than that he’s just good at BSing people out of money (grifting) and self aggrandizement.

  • Blasted Cap April 2, 2021, 6:53 am

    Wonder how many 0’s were on the check Bloomberg wrote him.

  • Robert Peterson April 2, 2021, 6:02 am

    Why didn’t you ask him what his rational was?

  • Deodand April 2, 2021, 4:56 am

    Pincus has been a weird duck from as far back as I can remember. Back in the day he gave me his underage daughter’s phone # if I wanted to reach him. Needless to say, I never did. Just a creepy data point about a creepy dude.
    Never was sure of his bona fides in the shooting world either. Seems he came at it all tangentially.

  • Ned Baldwin April 1, 2021, 9:36 am

    looks like pinkos has gone to the dark side too bad but was it money or was he a plant either way y.

  • iasonasVanDer April 1, 2021, 4:54 am

    Hey, Gross-Pincus: Want to “cut the number of gun-involved deaths in our country in half ?” Then focus on the mostly urban, mostly black-on-black crime that FBI and other stats show are responsible for over half the homicide and fully 85% (or more!) of the gun violence in the US (in parts of NYC, it’s virtually all gun-involved crime).

    Instead of unfairly scrutinizing millions of law abiding gun owners, focus on a few thousand gang bangers and other career criminals, many of whom are already known to law enforcement. If it weren’t for that rampant, rising, and out of control violence in about a dozen (mostly Democrat-controlled) cities, the US would have as enviably low rate of homicide as countries like Finland that liberals love to praise. And we wouldn’t even need any new laws to do that.

    Ah, but then that misses the whole point of leftists’ schemes: to distract from the complete failure of “progressive”, Great Society measures in the first place, especially in America’s inner cities. And Pincus in playing into that ploy in perfect, quisling fashion. When Big Government is the problem, more of it is not the solution. Pincus is lying or ignorant if he thinks UBCs wouldn’t become a Big Government nightmare sooner or later, probably sooner. It’s one more slice in a death of a thousand cuts that has already shredded the 2nd Amendment along with the rest of The Constitution.

  • Demo March 31, 2021, 9:16 pm

    Rob Pincus is a complete fake and fraud.

    Not to mention he’s about as articulate has my dog.

    Anyone that spends money on him is a fool.

  • Lou March 31, 2021, 10:41 am

    Pincus is dead to me and anyone who has an account with PDN needs to cancel it immediately.

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