I would recommend staying away from this person. Here is what publically available information says. His website says he has smicha, but it does not say from where he received it. On a Yahoo answer, I found this: " I asked Mr. Menza from where he received smicha and from whom. He responded with apparent documents of smicha on which he blurred out both the institution and granting organization. He indicated that he didn't want anyone to 'bother' the Rabbis at these institutions. Further questioning by me indicating that it is normal for any professional to share there credentials openly when asked and indicating that he seemed fearful of giving a direct answer resulted in him defriending me and blocking me from his site." Source: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20120930175111AAG4emE
So, in short, does he have smicha? He says he does. But he refuses to say where which is very sketchy and bizarre. This is most likely do to one of couple things (a) he is lying about smicha or (more likely) (b) he is involved in doing and saying things that are against Judaism (e.g., doing invalid conversions) and are an embarrassment to the people who gave him smicha and is trying prevent them and himself further embarrassment.
If you're Jewish, he wants you to carry a gun around. He carries guns on the Sabbath (which, by Jewish law, is forbidden unless there is a risk to one's life). This article quotes him as saying, "I'm not advocating for everyone to walk around with an AK-47, but I walk around with a handgun on the Sabbath, and I think it would be better if most Jews did" (source: http://www.timesdispatch.com/news/video-of-guns-causes-unrest-in-jewish-community/article_b54ee96d-0ecf-5e77-819b-bc46c566e6b4.html). He seemingly was in a safe subuurb of Richmond and felt the need to either ignore Jewish law or felt his life was in danger in that area.
Of most concern is this article (http://www.torathmoshe.com/2012/07/our-total-non-affiliation-with-dor-deah/) from a respected and well known Orthodox Rabbi about Mr. Meza and one of his associates, "false Torah teaching." See the above link for the full article:
Please be aware that, while we count Mr. Yosef Eliyah ben Avraham as a sincere, learned and well-intending friend and budding scholar, The Ohel Moshe Society (Beth Midrash Ohel Moshe) is in no way affiliated with the new organization “Dor De’ah”, which he has formed together with Mr. Asher Meza.
A MOCKERY OF AUTHENTIC HALAKHAH
While we thank and appreciate Mr. Yosef Eliyah for the zeal for Mishneh Torah and the other important Torah sources he shares with a wide and growing internet audience, we see it as a tragedy that he has joined a promoter and performer of mass conversions, one who routinely puts down normative Orthodoxy, insults the Noahide path –as if Noahides were no better than idolaters without conversion to Judaism– and shows ignorance in halakhah.
Mass Conversions… and by Converts
To promote and perform mass conversions, especially as a convert oneself even to officiate as a rabbi to begin with –all this in the name of the RaMBaM– is a cascade of halakhic error and a stumbling block:
2) To claim loyalty to the authentic halakhah of RaMBaM on one hand, and to encourage non-Jews who are unable to access a proper Beth Din to convert themselves –that such conversion is fully kosher– is disingenuous.
Disrespect for Torah Scholars
We lament the blasting of such a critique to an audience overwhelmingly made up of non-Jews, converts and ba`ale teshuvah.
Spreading Confusion and Derision at the Path of the Seven Laws
Based on Laws of Idolatry 10:9 and Laws of Kings and Wars 8:13, Mr. Meza understands that for RaMBaM, a Noahide is none other than a Ger Toshav (resident alien) – a status that will not exist again until the Jubilee (and Sanhedrin) is restored. Therefore, no option but conversion exists for a righteous non-Jew. He mocks rabbis who teach that we are to spread the Noahide Laws, showing an image of Pinnochio and his that keeps growing longer the more lies he tells. Besides stooping to such a disgraceful way to prove his point, Mr. Meza reveals himself to be terribly confused when elsewhere he speaks about “Bene Noahh” being permitted, if not obligated, to keep Shabboth.
Michael Shelomo Bar-Ron, Beth Midrash Ohel Moshe
Also see http://www.thehebrewcafe.com/forum/showthread.php?tid=1847&page=2
which says, in part, "Asher Meza.. is dangerous. The rabbis here do not take him seriously. He has been kicked out of many synagogues. He carries and flaunts firearms. Won't give his semicha. I feel for the people in Brazil and other's going there with him to convert. They have been deceived and must be warned. I will probably get a bunch of phone calls and emails and threats on my life again for posting this. That is how seriously mentally ill this man is."
· 6 years ago