Welcome to Tea Party 2.0: Gun Rights Edition

So I’m afraid my initial skepticism of Gun Appreciation Day has unfortunately panned out. We went down to the local gun shop to see if there was anyone participating that maybe we could reach in terms of helping to write lawmakers. But as you can see, just a typical Saturday down at Classic Pistol. No lines out the door or obvious presence.

But Gun Appreciation Day being a success or not, today was no failure. We have an excellent example of Tea Party-style organic organization happening right under our noses, which us by surprise. If we had known about this we would have gone to Harrisburg instead of trying to implement our plan.

Harrisburg, PA:

Images courtesy of @lauraolson

Denver, CO:

Images courtesy of @TickdOffPatriot & @fffalcon

Albany, NY:

Image courtesy of @anna12061

St. Paul, MN:

Images courtesy of @S_Larson & @robdoar

Salem, OR:

Images courtesy of @Beeshabomb2011 & @RedOregonCTU2

Salt Lake City, UT:

Images courtesy of @streetbauble

Madison, WI:

Image courtesy of @chunnamark

Jefferson City, MO:

Image courtesy of @BadtotheBohn

If you have pics from a rally at your State Capitol, please share.

56 thoughts on “Welcome to Tea Party 2.0: Gun Rights Edition”

  1. How did the Harrisburg Rally happen? It almost seems like it really was spontaneous, i.e., people heard about Gun Appreciation Day and thought to themselves that the capitol was the most logical place to head for. If it had been really organized, I would think someone here would have heard about it.

    But, I personally think spontaneous is best, and what will impress legislators the most, so if I’m right, that was a good thing! In which case I hope no group goes around claiming they organized it.

    1. As best I know it was totally spontaneous. Enough that I’m checking my back comments to make sure I didn’t miss something. Going to the Capitol of each State wasn’t what Gottlieb’s page said to do, but people decided to make that modification on their own, and kudos to them for doing it. Hitting up local gun shops was never going to make much of an impact, especially without any real organization, but hitting up the capitol is making the media pay attention, and I’m already seeing stories of Gun Appreciation Day being a success, even though this isn’t what they were “supposed” to do.

      Maybe there’s hope for mankind after all :)

      1. Damn! It looks like Huffpo knew about this yesterday! I hope I don’t have to cancel my Old Farts Card and start getting into social media.

        1. I’m pretty plugged in to social media and I missed it. But I was also busy with work Thurs and Fri. Maybe that was enough to miss it.

          1. Good.

            I didn’t miss it, but I didn’t think to message you because I’d assumed you heard. From what you and many commentors posted, you hadn’t. That only means that we are stronger than what we’ve seen and the showing was strong to start.

      2. ABC News Sunday Morning ran a short segment and a long ticker tape and sub-title on “Pro-gun rallies at State Capitals.” It was enough to catch their attention at least. We’ll see in a few minutes what Geo. Stephanopolus says on “This Week.”
        – Arnie

        1. David Plouffe thinks Magazines and Background checks are doable; not so much on AWB.

  2. I couldn’t go, but I joined NRA today.

    According to Ohioans for Concealed Carry there were 2300-3000 people in Columbus today. Apparently we stretched around the entire block with open carrying of guns/signs with little to no police bothering them.

    Channel 6 news is the only news I could find about it right now but I suck at googlefu. THey had like 1 paragraph explaining it and half of it was ProgressOhio leader saying we need to restrict guns. Can’t wait to see the actual photos of it though, with any luck someone will have them on OFCC forum in a little bit.

    1. I’m not very big on the typical rallies, but if I had known about this, quasi-spontaneous and organized on short notice (?) via social media, I would have tried to go.

      Most of our rallies in Harrisburg are canned affairs, that are actually annual campaign events for the usual suspects in the General Assembly. This appeared to be different.

      I wonder if any hacks showed up to campaign?

  3. That many Americans not sitting on their asses watching TV? Something’s up!
    I was at the rally in Albany, NY today. The park was packed and there was lots of enthusiasm.

  4. Keep in mind-our rally in Buffalo (AKA HockeyTown) was happening at the same time as the season opener against the hated Flyers.

  5. Sebastian: Can we expect to see you and Bitter at the PAFOA rally on Wednesday?

    1. Unfortunately not, because I have to work. I’ve been giving a lot of time to the issue recently and work is suffering for it, unfortunately. I do plan to be at the April rally.

    2. I don’t want to seem like I’m always sniping at what other people are putting forth good efforts to do, but whose idea is it to try to have well-attended rallies on week/work days? Why not this Monday, when presumably some people would have off for MLK Day?

      Back in the ’90s, beginning with ’94, we held rallies on June 14, because it was Flag Day. But, only the ’94 rally was super-successful, because that year we were still highly motivated by the near-miss of an AWB back in January, and the Republican Party had pulled out all its stops to get us there for what was really a campaign event leading up to their 1994 UnRevolution. It was supposed to be a gun rally, but looked more like a Santorum rally, on the ground.

      Anyways, the following year there was an attempt to repeat the phenomenon, and where we had a turnout of almost 10,000 in 1994, the turnout in 1995 was about 30, not counting curious passersby who stopped to see what was going on. But both were weekdays.

      1. It was on the 19th and at least 1 reporter decided that MLK day was on the 19th too*. If we really did have it on the 21st, a bunch of liberals would bitch and 90% of the reporters would say it was a bunch of gun owners being happy that MLK died or something. The 20th is the day Obama starts his second term, so having it the 19th works out that way too.

        Reporters can’t be trusted to get a day on a calendar correct with access to a instant communications and knowledge center riding around in their pockets or sitting on their desks, so they can’t be trusted to read the hundreds of signs, the press releases, listen to the interviews, or basically not straight up lie. That’s probably why it wasn’t on MLK day.


  6. Didn’t hear a thing about this. Wonder how many pro gun signs/pro gun protesters will crash the inauguration on Monday? I’ve got to attend – but will be wearing my 2nd Amendment tie (and will also have guns on my tie for the ball I have to attend).

  7. I’m very new to 2A activism, but here are a few of my reflections from today’s rally in Buffalo:

    As expected, a very well-mannered and orderly crowd.

    Most of the speeches were the usual barnburners by local politicians and activists that you’d expect at an event like this. One of the most eloquent speakers was an African American woman who talked about some of the racist roots of American gun control.

    The rally was largely organized by the local Tea Party organization, and that flavor was definitely discernible in the speeches. That’s fine by me, as I’m in agreement with the tea party movement. But I wondered how the rally would be received by someone who was in favor of strong gun rights, but was otherwise politically moderate. By aligning ourselves so closely with very conservative politicians and organizations, I wonder if we are limiting ourselves to a very slim segment of the population. NY is a deep blue state and we probably wouldn’t get many folks from across the aisle, but I think a message we should be sending is that gun rights are for all Americans, regardless of their political ideology. A couple of speakers did touch on it.

    Finally, I think we need to get smart about the ways the media twists images and soundbites. A few attendees carried signs with swastikas on them which made points about NY becoming a fascist state, which it is. One of them was also wearing a yellow star of David to make his point. But I can almost guarantee some of the local news outlets will show a split second of a sign with a swastika on it, without enough time for viewers to actually read the sign. Perhaps a simple red X or a crossed out circle over the swastika would have made the same strong visual impression and denied the antis any propaganda.

    Despite my criticisms, it was well worth my time. I joined SCOPE while I was there and saw several members of my local club, which gave me an idea of who I can network with. I hope that this spring or summer there will be a state-wide rally in Albany on a business day when the legislature is in session.

  8. Seeing all these people willing to use the First Amendment to protect the Second gives me hope for the future.

  9. I think everyone down here in ATL was with me at the fun show. And then again at Adventure Outdoors. But I ordered two rifles and traded into a High Standard .22. Guess I was on the original plan.

  10. I only spent a few minutes on research, but it appears Guns Across America was around for awhile before the December 14 Newtown tragedy, and that they were promoting the January 19 rallies several weeks ago, possibly back in December. (It might appear Gottlieb Enterprises tried to piggyback their “Gun Appreciation Day” efforts on Guns Across America.)

    Who is Guns Across America?

    Sebastian’s title makes the analogy to the Tea Party. I’m hoping that’s not true, because a lot of Tea Party efforts were astroturf. Not that I think that the TPers who turned out for rallies weren’t sincere, but often they were being steered by Invisible Hands. (Been there, done that, in the 1993 – 1994 CAGW rallies.)

    Whatever works, I guess, but I prefer the motivations of my rallies to be pure.

    1. Shoulda read my own link above, more closely:

      “While Guns Across America has the hallmarks of a grassroots effort, Reed and other organizers say they are unpaid volunteers, a Washington-based Republican consulting firm called Political Media has launched Gun Appreciation Day.”

      Now how did I know?

      1. Larry Ward is the honcho at Political Media, Inc. Apparently he has been doing some TV rounds about this (CNN, MSNBC) and we all missed it.

        “Larry Ward brings two decades of corporate, non-profit and political marketing and advertising experience to Political Media, Inc. as its President and CEO.

        “Larry burst onto the political scene in 2002 under the tutelage of world-renowned political consultant, and Fox News commentator Dick Morris. Using Dick’s political savvy and Larry’s online marketing expertise, the two were able to influence several key congressional and gubernatorial races across the country.”

        Maybe it’s all about the guns. Then, maybe not.

        1. “Guns Across America” was in existence before 12/14/2012, and using Google Advanced Search and limiting the search period to different weeks, I found they were promoting the rallies several weeks ago, at least. So yes, they are the ones behind it. And it has been a Political Media, Inc. effort all along.

          Once again, the appearance of grassroots is really astroturf. And if a rank amateur like me can figure that out in a few minutes, how impressed are legislators going to be, that once again the real grassroots could be turned out for partisan campaign rallies?

          Better than nothing, I suppose, but not much.

          1. I think it’s more grass-roots than we think. It’s one thing to try to organize such things, but what good would it be to announce such things, if people weren’t willing to go to them? Furthermore, it’s pretty clear that no one was passing pre-printed signs out to these organizations.

            I am disappointed I wasn’t able to make it to the one here in Utah; as far as I could tell, there was a certain “sponsorship” by some sort of local gun store, and somehow they drudged up three speakers (only one of which was a politician, if I recall correctly, and a pretty low-level one at that)…but the decisions of those who could make it, shouldn’t be discounted.

    2. Here’s the problem I see with your argument here. The site for Guns Across America may have existed long before Newtown. The person behind that website may have even pushed for the concept of a day of rallies. What that website DID NOT do is pay for microphones, secure permits, and all of the other work that goes into actually making an event HAPPEN. They may have successfully gotten people to add a hashtag to Twitter posts, but that one website did not spur thousands of people to turn out to capitols today. Trust me, I saw very grassroots shitty photoshop images coming across my Facebook from all of my older relatives who are pro-gun pushing the January 19 rally idea. I just didn’t think that anyone would actually show up here in Pennsylvania because there wasn’t a single source/be all, end all organizer for the event to make it happen.

      1. Oh, you’re right. But going back to my too-often-repeated 1994 rally example, neither did anyone but the grassroots pay for things like bus rentals to carry us to the capitol — where everything that sat still for five seconds got a Santorum sticker pasted on it.

        At our own club, which paid for a bus or two, Republican committeemen had mentioned to the club president and/or a board member or two that the 1994 rally would be a good thing to support. So with “official” endorsement like that, the club sprung for several hundred dollars to transport members to Harrisburg to get Santorum literature, and stickers pasted on their hats and jackets.

        Pretty cool. We supported a campaign rally with our own dimes. If anyone was impressed with anything, it was what dependable suckers gun owners are.

        And the most important bottom line is, that rally accomplished less than nothing for gun rights. I say “less” because it contributed to electing gun-grabber Tom Ridge that November, and Santorum, who seemed to be the rally’s poster-boy, never did squat for us that was tangible.

        1. When I think of astroturf, I think of supporters bussed in or paid to attend. I think of a central organization taking care of all the scripting. I think of staged photos that make a crowd of 10 look like 100. Astroturf are people who may or may not actually be committed to the issue who are showing up to get paid.

          I think its fairly hard to call this astroturf.

          1. Don’t forget the vast majority of signs being professionally printed with only a few designs used..

            The serious lack of that is all the evidence we need to refute Andy’s assertion that “a lot of Tea Party efforts were astroturf” unless we want to quibble about what “a lot” means in this context.

          2. “When I think of astroturf, I think of supporters bussed in or paid to attend. . .”

            Those are the amateur or lazy astroturfers. Unions do that a lot, and you see where unions are these days. The professionals know how to get suckers to pay for their own buses, and come for free,taking time off from work if necessary. Still, if the event is conceived of by, and set in motion by, (say) some industry lobbying group, and is not a genuine grassroots initiative, it is still astroturf.

            I did a bit of fronting for CAGW back in the early ’90s. I was featured for a few seconds of footage on CNN and another broadcast network or two. I was identified as a “citizen activist” but I was fairly well scripted.

            Going back a little farther, in 1989 I kicked off, genuinely on my own, a “Vote No” referendum campaign in my county. Totally coincidentally I held our kick-off press conference in the county court house, at the same time a “citizens” group that was a front for the state Republican Party and their industry supporters was holding their press conference in Harrisburg. As an amateur I and my people were soon drawn into the greater front group by flattery, and because they could supply the “grassroots” materials needed for the campaign. E.g., copy machine produced handouts and flyers, but produced and funded by a state industry group. It looked as citizeny as all hell. But, we met in a powerful state senator’s office in Harrisburg, and other than supporting their activities as directed, our own activities had to coordinate with them and meet their approval. For example, somewhat ironically, I almost held the first “Tea Party” rally in Pennsylvania — in 1989 — but the county Republican Party for some reason put the kibosh in it. But, I was good enough to be allowed to debate the state Secretary of Community Affairs on regional network TV.

            And the whole time I collected not one single dime, because I was an ideologue, and dependable. I traveled up and down the eastern tier counties campaigning for industrial and Republican interests — at the expense of ignoring my own business — and never got so much as gas money. I contracted for the production of thousands of dollars worth of campaign buttons, and would have got stuck for the bill myself, except that a Republican notable in another county took pity (or had honor) and put the arm on some of his business buddies to pay the bill.

            But the bottom line is, I may have fallen off the turnip truck when it comes to astroturf, but that was years before the term was coined.

            Oh — and the funny bottom line is that the “Vote No” campaign succeeded, but it was eventually the Republican Party itself that got passed the constitutional change we were fighting so hard in 1989 — when it came to be to their advantage to do so.

  11. @ Albany’s today. Packed the park from street to steps. Only YNN showed up. I guess major media got told to go have a scooter pie.

  12. Classic Pistol was @mobbed@ at ten after nine this morning. There was even a waiting list to purchas guns because PICS was jammed up.

      1. No, just a bunch of people waiting for an hour or more for a lane. There must have been 30-50 people waiting and all of the lanes were occupied within minutes of opening. I had to wait almost two hours to buy a S&W 625JM because PICS was hopelessly jammed up. CP employees told me that background checks have been running very slow since the shooting in CT, especially on weekends. I have no idea why PICS checks are conducted over the phone in 2013. You would think they could have a website going so store employees don’t have to waste manpower hitting redial hundreds of times in the hope that the PICS line will eventually answer.

  13. Connecting RKBA with a group like the tea party does not advance our pro gun fight.

    Tea party is very political on other issues not gun related. Keep RKBA party neutral . I know tons of dems that would never consider tea party but are 1000% pro RKBA.

    Not good to equate us to a group with high negatives nationally.

    1. Also, to the extent that the Tea Party wasn’t guided by astroturfers, it had no consistent identity, and thus became identified with any number of extraneous issues that broadly fell under the “hard right” rubric.

      I don’t know how many times I had online debates in other venues where people insisted the Teaparty wasn’t about issues “A”, “B”, or “C”, and I would come back in ten minutes with a string of links to self-identified TP groups that were about almost nothing but issue “A”, or “B”, or “C.”

      If I am for one thing other than gun rights themselves, it is for issue purity; and you will find my most frequent suspicion or complaint is that many of our self-styled leaders have an additional agenda. Their energies put into the RKBA cannot be maximized if something is being held in reserve to advance another agenda.

  14. If you’re from Virginia, don’t forget that tomorrow is Lobby Day with the VCDL!

      1. Coming from a hunting perspective, Rule 2 is paramount, always keep it pointed in a safe direction.

        This represents violations of Rules 2 and 3 (Keep your finger off the trigger, i.e. Don’t Touch It) in a recognition of Rule 1, a gun is always loaded. Before letting one into a gun show it makes sense to confirm it’s unloaded (not that that allows your to ignore Rules 1-3 afterwords), and whoever did that obviously screwed up big time. Well, there’s the vague possibility of a mechanical failure before it could be pointed in a safe direction but that’s not the way to bet.

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