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School Bias – Getting Grades for No Dissent

A Connecticut school filters out all Republican and issue group websites that are commonly associated with GOP supporters, including pro-Second Amendment websites while gun control websites were all approved.

Even more interesting is that the student was attempting to look up the material while conducting the research for an assigned classroom debate. It’s awfully interesting that the school, which made it partisan when it opted to ban the official GOP website while allowing the Democratic website, is grading students for their participation in “debates,” but refuses to allow them to see any alternate viewpoints to present to their peers.

It’s even more interesting that the student only reported the incident to the media after notifying school authorities and he noticed that they refused to fix the blatant bias. Even now that the media is on the story, they only say that they “appreciated hearing the comments” and he raised an accusation that might warrant an investigation. But, hey, it’s just the tax dollars of Connecticut voters shutting down access to information from different political views – no big deal and nothing to see here…

Gun Possession in Iraq

Clayton Cramer notes that reports out of Iraq show that the ISIS leaders have declared new rules for those in area they control that include a gun ban for anyone not in their ranks. It’s interesting how that also comes along with a ban on any public gathering not organized by ISIS as well.

It’s almost like those people who use the bumper sticker phrase that their Second Amendment right protects the First Amendment rights of others might possibly be on to something about the importance of both rights.

Hickenlooper: Let Me Feed You Another Lie…

I really hope that Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper keeps on talking because he’s keeping himself in the press for all of the right reasons – at least from our perspective of wanting to see him lose his re-election bid.

First, he “apologizes” for not talking to local law enforcement before pushing gun control that they would end up suing that state over. However, in his apology, Hickenlooper lied to the sheriffs by claiming that he never spoke to Bloomberg during the gun control push. Except he did, and there are records to prove it.

It would seem that perhaps Hickenlooper’s version of “stick[ing] to the facts,” a phrase he used to open his lie to the sheriffs, is a bit more like “sticking to complete falsehoods and hoping that no one has yet obtained the phone records to prove it’s a total fabrication.” I have to say, I hope that he stays in the media for such gaffes.

Targeting Gun Ranges to Steal Guns

It seems that two armed robbers decided they needed more guns and robbed people coming out of a local shooting range (Delaware Valley Sports Center) to get them. Unfortunately, they also shot one of the victims as they were fleeing. Police also say that there was a robbery at another area gun shop the night before.

Be careful and extremely observant, shooters in the Philadelphia area. These people have more guns and ammunition, and they are clearly willing to shoot you if they think they can get more guns off of you.

I will say that this makes the private club Sebastian shoots at more appealing because there’s no easy access without having to closely follow a member in and no easy exit.

Bloomberg’s Cash Shows Up in the Mississippi Primary

I confess that I have not been paying close attention to the Mississippi Senate primary, but now I’m curious to know if any of our readers know why Mike Bloomberg has recently donated $250,000 to keeping Thad Cochran in office. Cochran has the NRA endorsement and is rated A+, so this seems a little counter-intuitive.

My first assumption was that the PAC Bloomberg gave the money to was involved in multiple races around the country, but all I see is pro-Cochran material on their site, so I don’t think that’s the excuse. Any Mississippi voters who are paying close attention want to chime in?

Who Gabby is Giving Money To

Gabby Giffords is focusing on a local (to me) politician:

Aiming to spend as much as $20 million, the group also will weigh in for Democratic House Reps. Michael Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Carol Shea-Porter and Ann McLane Kuster of New Hampshire and Ron Barber of Arizona. Barber has a special meaning for Giffords because he used to work in her congressional office and was also wounded in the 2011 Tucson shooting that gravely wounded Giffords.

Emphasis mine. Fitzpatrick is actually a Republican, but those of you who live here might get a little giggle out of that. One thing we’ve been wondering is whether Fitzpatrick will hold on to his NRA endorsement. By all rights he ought to lose it, because he signed on to the House version of Manchin-Toomey, but his voting record has generally been good otherwise.

The last Democrat we had in Congress supported bans on semi-autos. The last few challenger to Fitzpatrick returned a favorable questionnaire.

National Reciprocity & Pennsylvania Votes

A few years ago, I decided to make a note of which lawmakers sought or ran on NRA’s endorsement who initially refused to step up and support national reciprocity. After people reported calling the offices of the mysteriously missing potential co-sponsors, several stepped up and signed on.

While looking at the Pennsylvania angle again for this year, imagine my surprise when I found some key names left off of the sponsors list – again.

These are the members of the Pennsylvania congressional delegation who support the bill:

  • Rep. Mike Kelly (R)
  • Rep. Tom Marino (R)
  • Rep. Tim Murphy (R)
  • Rep. Scott Perry (R)
  • Rep. Keith Rothfus (R)
  • Rep. Bill Shuster (R)
  • Rep. Glenn Thompson (R)

I might add that Rep. Rothfus actually didn’t have the NRA endorsement last time around. He had an A rating, but with the incumbent Democrat’s record, it was issued to the incumbent.

These are the members of the Pennsylvania congressional delegation who sought & received NRA’s endorsement in 2012 against anti-gun opponents who are not on that list:

  • Rep. Lou Barletta (R)
  • Rep. Charlie Dent (R)
  • Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R)
  • Rep. Jim Gerlach (R)
  • Rep. Pat Meehan (R)
  • Rep. Joe Pitts (R)

For 2014, Rep. Gerlach is retiring, but the others will be on the ballot. Reps. Dent, Barletta, and Pitts are expected to be pretty safe, so I’m surprised that they are not willing to help their law-abiding license holder constituents. In fact, Charlie Cook has all three of those seats, plus Rep. Meehan, in the “Solid Republican” category as not really competitive.

In 2014, I find it hard to get excited by candidates who don’t even think that law-abiding citizens who undergo regular background checks still can’t be trusted with firearms. If you live in any of these districts, it might be good to let them know that you noticed they wanted your vote in 2012, but that they won’t even get on board with national reciprocity.

California Democrats Like Leeland Yee

Charles C. W. Cooke and others note that being indicted for multiple felonies that include accusations of arming mafia members and arms smuggling doesn’t turn off about 10% of California’s Democratic voter base, at least based on the results of yesterday’s election. Nearly 290,000 primary voters thought these accusations made Leeland Yee a great candidate for Secretary of State worthy of their support.

Perhaps what’s more interesting is that Yee was only polling at 8% before he was arrested, so he actually performed better with California Democrats after the charges came to light. In fact, the same polling firm found that even after he was arrested and the charges against him were disclosed, 15% of voters maintained a favorable view of Yee.

Political Carrots

As Sebastian mentioned, he asked me to write a post about examples of using the carrot as opposed to the stick when it comes to leading politicians in your direction. There’s nothing better to use than a real life example, and we happen to have one from just this week.

Our local state representative who carries an A rating from NRA-PVF held a reasonably priced fundraiser – $50/person with open bar and bites to eat at a local joint that was nice and casual. He also has several events that are in the range of $25/person, and these events aren’t a case of going out to rub elbows with elites or something that you need to get on an inner circle list to join. This was an event where almost everyone was in a t-shirt and jeans. I was one of the most “dressed up” in just a light summer dress and flip flops. The next table over was surrounded by mostly volunteer firefighters from our town who are younger than me. This event was the kind where community members came out to show a small bit of support to someone who represents issues important to them.

In fact, we ran into someone we know because he had his NRA shirt on when he arrived. He sat with us for a while, and the bit of “rubbing elbows” we did was more like a handful of politicians stopping by to introducing themselves and then learning that this small group of normal looking folks turned out because of the representative’s support for our Second Amendment rights. It was casual, and the real message that it sent is that we’re a community that stands together, and we’ll stand up for our friends instead of just getting angry when someone crosses us. I even commented to Sebastian that it’s too bad members of the gun clubs around here haven’t shown more interest in this type of political organization on a broader scale because this was actually a nice and fun event for those types of groups.

The interesting element was that these types of community-focused fundraisers also attract a few of the professional political types. It can be kind of amusing in that regard because they do tend to stand out. We met a professional fundraiser who was the only person to show up in something close to a suit, and we chatted for a bit, catching him off guard when we said that we were there because of the representative’s support for gun rights. He was clearly not expecting that response, and it sends a message that there are gun owners willing to put up money and political support for our primary issue.

Here’s the thing to remember in this case, it’s not just about going to one event where we paid to get in the door (or, really up on the outdoor deck) that serves as a reminder that we’ll really stand up for our friends in the legislature. The carrot from the carrot & stick equation in this situation is the entire scope of engagement. This state representative has run into us when we are going to vote (for him), when I’ve been standing outside of a polling place in his district, and when I have showed up to drop off literature in targeted neighborhoods that aren’t mine. He knows us from community events like the Friends of NRA dinner which he stops by every year. He knew about us as activists doing real get out the vote activities before we ever decided to attend a fundraiser.

These kinds of activities are not that hard, folks. Sebastian commiserated with an older public official who admitted that she’s really not a fan of phone banking. She’ll walk neighborhoods all day long knocking on doors, but she really hates making phone calls. Sebastian is the same way, so that sent a message that even though we’ve never helped this woman out (since she doesn’t have anything to do with our issue) that we aren’t just there as donors, but as volunteers with real experience helping out our allies.

If you’re not the social type, offer to do a lit drop where all you have to do is just drop off literature at targeted homes in a neighborhood. If that even runs the risk to much social interaction for your tastes, offer to deliver signs to people who request them through the campaign. See if your gun club property can host a casual hot dog and hamburger fundraiser for a few bucks for your local friends in the legislature. These aren’t about raising big money, and the lawmakers know it. They’ll still come out because the real message you’re sending is that you’re a community willing to help out friends who stand up to Bloomberg & his paid followers.

A handful of gun owners in local districts participating in events like these and helping out a few times during election season while telling politicians that they are doing it because of their record on gun issues will make it far more likely that your voices will be heard when it comes to moving our issue forward rather than just having to be on the defense as we deal with legislative attacks.

Allyson Schwartz’s Bad Night – A PA Primary Round-Up

Yesterday was primary day in Pennsylvania, and the big race to watch was to see how the Democratic primaries shaped up since those were the main contested races. NRA also offered a few endorsements, so we’ll look at how things shaped up.

Governor’s Race
I can report with 100% certainty that Tom will win the gubernatorial election in November. Unfortunately, we don’t know which Tom – Corbett or Wolf – it will be.

The biggest news from last night is just how terribly Rep. Allyson Schwartz did in an all-Democratic election. She was one who many people wondered if she would be a bit too liberal for a pretty purple state, but the Democratic voting base gave her an embarrassingly low second place finish last night – 40 points behind Tom Wolf. Instead, it turns out that she was ripped apart by progressives who were horrified by the fact that she has, at times in her nine year Congressional career, worked with moderate Democrats. Basically, the fact that she had a record to tear through worked against her.

For the gun issue, it’s not really good news or bad news. On one hand, the Democratic candidate with the lowest grade from Ceasefire won the primary. On the other hand, the entire pool of Democratic candidates for 2014 are far more hostile to our rights than the group in 2010.

Tom Wolf, the Democratic candidate now, told Ceasefire that he supports their policy proposal “imposing a ban under Pennsylvania law on the sale and possession of assault weapons.” A ban on possession implies confiscation. That’s a big freaking problem there, beyond the ban on sales which is also a hugely unacceptable response.

Wolf also said he supported their idea to “imposing a limit under Pennsylvania law on magazine capacity” where they did highlight that restrictions on size vary, so that paves the way for a push to something like NY’s SAFE Act coming from a Wolf administration.

On carry, Wolf says he will oppose any form of national reciprocity, and he also added a response to congratulate Attorney General Kathleen Kane for screwing with Pennsylvania’s reciprocity agreements. Oddly enough, he didn’t back the push for an outright ban on all campus carry, and he only stated that he believes colleges must make their carry policies transparent.

Wolf also says that he wants a bill “requiring gun owners to keep firearms and ammunition in separate secure locations.” That box of ammo you keep in your range bag? That’s not secure. The shelf you might keep your ammo sorted on? That’s not secure. Oh, and you can’t just stuff it into your 800 pound gun safe bolted to your floor because your guns are in there and they must be secured separately. That’s fine, you say, because it’s not like they’ll send inspectors around for this stuff. Well, just hope you never have to call 911 for a medical emergency in your home or have a fire where public safety staff will enter your home and report whatever they see that may possibly be a violation. Tell Grandma that her ambulance for the stroke she’s having will have to wait because you need to run out to a gun shop and find a new locking case for that ammunition.

Needless to say, those gun owners are going to be given a pretty stark contrast this year at the polls.

Lt. Governor’s Race
Again, the only race here was on the Democratic side. However, there is some news to report on the gun issue. First, the NRA grades for each of the candidates were rather interesting. In Mark Critz you had a man who had an A+ in 2012 drop to a C for this primary race, but who also refused to respond to the CeasefirePA questionnaire. Then there was Rep. Brandon Neuman who actually has a current A rating who also refused to answer to Ceasefire. But the winner came from the three candidates who did respond to Ceasefire with a 100% rating.

Oddly, the winner, Sen. Mike Stack, made a very bizarre claim to Ceasefire: “The NRA has consistently given me a failing grade. I would be honored to have CeaseFirePA’s
endorsement in this election and will wear it like a badge of honor right next to my NRA ‘F.’” Um, he has always had a C-, not an F, so his statement is an outright lie. That grade is based on a voting record, too. Regardless, it’s clear that he wants gun owners to know that he’s got a giant target set on their backs.

Congressional Races
The other negative for Allyson Schwartz last night was that she was so confident in her status as a Democratic front-runner that she said she wouldn’t run again for her Congressional seat, but she would back a close supporter for the seat. That close supporter who also tried running on healthcare, Val Arkoosh, came in dead last in a four-way primary.

Perhaps the most interesting part for this solidly Democratic seat was that the so-called “liberal lion” of Pennsylvania politics came in a very close to last third place. The race really ended up being between Chelsea Clinton’s mother-in-law who the Clintons campaigned for and the winner, a state lawmaker who was attacked for backing some level of regulation for abortion clinics, especially in light of the Gosnell issues that happened right here in Pennsylvania.

However, it’s not like the winner is a friend of the Second Amendment, either. In his last state house run, he had a D+. One might expect that to drop to an F now that he’s in a solidly Democratic district and in need of a little extra cushion against the progressive wing of the party who has him in their sights.

NRA endorsed in this primary because of the incumbent rule, so it’s good to report that Rep. Bill Shuster won. The other two candidates had AQs, so it’s not like it would have gone into anti-gun hands if he hadn’t made it.

In our own Congressional district, there was a Democratic primary and the one who many would hope would bring the “War on Women” and “SCIENCE!” message to the race didn’t win. The winner, Kevin Strouse, wants the absolutely terrible Manchin-Toomey bill brought back up, and wants to “ban most ammunition—whether from handguns or rifles” that he arbitrarily decides defeats body armor. He offers no definitions of the terms he’s using, no context, just simply anything that police would support. The WaPo likes him because he has no record and is willing to speak in vague terms on the issue that leaves open the possibility of supporting quite extreme or complicated legislation that risks landing non-attorney gun owners trying to comply in jail.

The Democrats has a competition here between a man whose main hiccup with ethics was on using proper account funds to attend a Friends of the NRA banquet on behalf of his boss, former Rep. John Murtha, and a woman who has backed portions of Obama’s gun control agenda. Unfortunately, the most anti-gun candidate won the primary in this case. I don’t know what her final grade will be, as she has no previous record to run on. She’s challenging Rep. Keith Rothfus who will likely carry the NRA endorsement.

Other Races
NRA endorsed in only a handful of primaries this year, but they won almost all of them.

For voters in the 66th State House district, the new GOP nominee, Cris Dush refused to return a questionnaire based on the ? following the name and the endorsement to an opponent who wasn’t too far behind on votes. Dush claims that he supports the Second Amendment on his website, but voters should probably let him know that he should be willing to sign his name to some policy specifics.

On the bad news front, the most hostile Republican to the Second Amendment in 176th State House district in Monroe County has a 19 vote lead right now. The county claims that all precincts have reported, but I’m not aware if any absentee ballots have been counted yet. Unfortunately, Jack Rader, Jr. returned a questionnaire with a pretty dismal C- rating, and local GOP voters opted for him over a candidate with an A. I don’t know what the Democrat’s grade will look like, but hopefully gun owners in that district will find some kind of friend on the ballot.

In one five-way Republican primary for the 17th State House district, one of the losers was the only GOP candidate to refuse to answer a questionnaire. Unfortunately for voters in that area, both Democrats also refused to answer questionnaires. There was a similar outcome in the four-way GOP contest for 169th State House district with the only GOP candidate refusing a questionnaire losing.

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