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On Scott Brown & National Concealed Carry

On the eve of a House vote on H.R.822, the national concealed carry law, I have a few random thoughts on Scott Brown’s statement against us on the issue. As a former Massachusetts resident, and as someone who supported his run for the State Senate, it’s a bit disappointing, but it’s far more baffling from a political standpoint.

What He Doesn’t Gain
Typically, the easiest way to figure out why a politician does something is to figure out what he will gain. This may mean the support of constituent groups or access to new campaign donors. But, Sen. Brown seems to ignore the fact that Tom Menino isn’t going to run around campaigning for him in 2012. Gun control groups in Massachusetts won’t suddenly endorse him. He won’t gain any votes for his position because anyone who looks to this as a key vote will choose to back a more extreme anti-gun candidate. I doubt he’ll line up any new donors for his single position on the bill if he won’t even earn their votes for it.

In a best case scenario, he saved himself from direct attacks on this issue. However, it won’t stop Democrats for attacking him for his previous pro-gun votes. Taking this very specific gun policy off the table doesn’t take the entire gun issue off the table, and they will hit him for every remotely positive thing he has ever said or done to support the right to bear arms. In fact, Menino has made 2011 the year of attacking Scott Brown over his support of gun owners. Ever since Brown was elected, there have been discussions about the massive warchests Massachusetts Democrats have been building to boot him from office. In other words, appeasing them on this one issue isn’t going to stop his opponents.

The Very Odd Timing
He wrote a letter to Menino nearly two weeks before a House vote. That might make sense if he served in that chamber. He doesn’t. Given that it’s nearly the end of 2011, we don’t even know if H.R.822 will be on the Senate’s radar in coming months or by the election. In other words, he made a public declaration that gains him nothing in an election as campaign season starts to ramp up before it’s even an issue in the chamber where he actually has a voice and vote. What was the purpose in that?

What Gun Owners Should Do
Make it known that he’s needlessly pissed you off if you’re a Massachusetts voter. Remind him that he needs every vote he can get, and he has now put yours at risk. Remind him that Massachusetts has a very big problem with discretionary issue of the license to even own a firearm to law abiding citizens, so the state can’t be trusted not to abuse the rights of gun owners.

What He Loses
Here’s the thing, Massachusetts gun owners are used to having to make a choice between “actively hates my rights” and “sometimes surprises us with a vote in our favor.” But, with this being the only major issue up before the election, he’s running off gun owners who might have been preparing to volunteer for him or start talking to friends and family about they planned to vote for Scott Brown.

Unlike the frustrations we sometimes face in a state where gun owners always feel safe, many folks in Massachusetts are willing to get involved and help out for a political cause. I remember when some guys would take laptops & printers to their club meetings to get everyone to write up a letter & sign it for a political issue before a big vote. The club leaders would then gather the letters & coordinate to get them to the State House. He could have had that system working on his re-election. Now, there will probably be a few who are a little less inclined to do that in 2012.

The good news is that because this isn’t an actual vote in the Senate, he still has plenty of opportunities to do the right thing so that he doesn’t lose these valuable supporters. We should try to make sure he sees enough support to come around to the right decision.

2 Responses to “On Scott Brown & National Concealed Carry”

  1. mike says:

    No surprise there – he’s from MA. Just like Mitt Romney. Think about that.

  2. I can’t vote for him, but I contributed to his campaign.If he votes against concealed carry reciprocity, he won’t get a dime from me next time.

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