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Profile Piece of NAGR/RGMO’s Dudley Brown

This is a very interesting article for people who like politics, essentially describing one viewpoint on how Colorado was lost. I don’t know enough about Colorado politics to have any insightful commentary, but the state, like many other western states, strikes me as having a pretty strong libertarian streak, much of which I’d imagine is incompatible with Brown’s very strong social conservatism. There’s a strong current in the GOP base, and especially in the Tea Party, that if we just run candidates that are conservative enough, we’ll never lose. I’ve never believed that to be true, and Colorado is evidence. You can run candidates that alienate other parts of your coalition, and hand the election to your opponents. That if we just run someone conservative enough is a myth peddled by talk radio hosts that making their livings telling people what they want to hear. The reality is getting to enough votes to win an election is not so simple.

Brown may be correct that the Democrats in Colorado have really stepped in it with the gun issue. I hope he’s correct in that. But for gun rights to be secure in Colorado, or anywhere, over the long term, you have to have a workable governing majority, and sometimes that involves making compromises. That would seem to be something Brown has trouble with.

Post H.R. 38 Rant

I should be happy that HR 38 has passed the house, but I can’t muster a whole lot of excitement. We’ve done that before, and the Senate has always been the problem house. I’d like to think “We got this!,” but I know realistically we have a hard time getting 60 votes in the Senate. If FixNICS isn’t enough to give a handful of GOP Congressmen cover enough to vote in favor, how do we get to 60 votes in the Senate? Unless the filibuster rule changes, and at this point, I think it should, the Senate is a body that can confirm judges and pass budget bills, and that’s it. Maybe the FixNICS sweetener will get it 60 votes.

I got invited to participate in a Town Hall by Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick last night, and we tried to get in a question about his vote on HR 38. It was interesting that he fielded two callers asking about the Bill, but neither of them knew he had just voted against it, or knew much about it. We made clear to staff queuing callers that we did know how he voted, but the clock ran out and we never got our question in. To the callers he did take, he stated he had issues with the bill, but supported it in concept. Of course, he never stated what those issues were, because he’s a worm. He even wormed his way out of saying whether he voted for or against it. Allowing your constituents to get arrested by the State of New Jersey for bearing arms is not supporting the Second Amendment, no matter how often you say you support it.

All three of them, Fitzpatrick, Meehan, and Costello, are scared to death of Bloomberg’s money, and the ads he could afford to run in this media market. None of this was a factor when the gun control movement was in dire financial straits. Bloomberg coming in with big money was all it took to undo years of progress we had made with lawmakers in this area. I had wondered why Bloomberg wasn’t running ads here, whereas he was in other swing or blue state GOP districts. Now I know; he had their votes in the bag already.

Costello was OK on the issue before Bloomberg brought his billions. Fitzpatrick’s seat has a had a history of anti-gun Republicans, and the Curt Weldon, who held Meehan’s seat for years, was always squishy too. So this isn’t new. But we’re going to need a lot more organization in the Southeast if we’re going to counter Bloomberg’s money. We’re going to need people to care, not take their rights for granted, and be willing to show up and be counted. That’s been the struggle. NRA seems to no longer be interested in real grassroots organization, and has instead started promoting a culture  that only serves to feed anger and outrage on issues unrelated to guns. How are we going to use all that anger? We have to do this ourselves.

Let us not just talk about Delaware Valley Republicans, who invented the anti-gun Republican, after all. I’d also like to talk about retiring Congressman Massey and Texas Rep. Louis Gohmert, who is spreading the same bullshit. You see, Rep. Massey never supported H.R. 38, if you talk to his constituents. But once it became apparent he’d have to post a vote on it, he started spouting a bunch of nonsense about the FixNICS component of it. So now he gets to go down as Paul Revere sounding the alarm against a boogeyman of his own creation while posting a vote against us. Representative Gohmert seems to have joined him in this.

And yet, a lot of our people are buying this posturing hook, line and sinker. They are politicians. They don’t like the bill. They don’t want to vote for the bill. But rather than coming out and just stating they don’t and have never supported federal civil rights enforcement, they invented a narrative that turn them into the heroes. Even GOA, run by the Pratt family, who I’ve suspected have strong reservations about federal civil rights enforcement, didn’t feel they had the juice to come out against H.R. 38, but they sure were willing to spout bullshit. Another person I’ve long suspected of opposing federal civil rights enforcement is Dudley Brown, and he did not defy expectations either. Do you know why Bloomberg and the anti-gunners were against combining the two bills? Because they feared it would get us the 60 votes we needed to actually pass National Reciprocity, which they know will be a disaster for them. FixNICS is the same kind of thing we’ve done a million times. What’s the old saying? You can lead a bureaucrat to water, but you can’t make him do his fucking job? Or something like that.

I get that GOA and NAGR hate NICS, and I don’t think it’s worth a whole lot either. But as long as it’s the law of the land, and for the foreseeable future it will be, we have an interest in seeing it function well and do what it’s supposed to do. If extra funding for NICS gets us the biggest civil rights victory since FOPA, I’m willing to make that trade.

Journalists Who Can’t Do Math

This is real Baghdad Bob shit right here. Basically, to sum up, the NRA is increasingly dependent on the firearms industry for money, because $14 million has been donated by gun makers over the years. The author even mentions NRA’s revenue is $310 million from membership dues. Do you even math!?!?

But even with that, white men are headed to political extinction, gun ownership is in decline, especially among women, because the General Social Survey says so. NRA is facing stiff competition from Larry Pratt and Dudley Brown, most of its members secretly hate the NRA and disagree with it. Members will probably revolt just like Republicans did against the establishment because they secretly support gun control.  3D printing will be the end of the NRA because it will dry up that 14 million a year because it will put all the manufacturers out of business.

Seriously, Sarah Ellison ought to stick to writing about topics she knows about, and should also stay away from math. Last I checked $14 million dollars was 4.5% of NRA’s revenue from individual members. We call that “not really a lot.” Ms. Ellison could also use a lesson in discerning propaganda from gun control groups from actual research.

Weekly Gun News – Edition 30

It’s not often I’ll start out with a news post on Monday, but if I sit on some of these links, they’ll go stale.

Bill to legalize silencers passes out of committee…. in Massachusetts. I think the hearing argument is a powerful one. We should ask our opponents why they want people to go deaf? Traditional hearing protection can interfere with the ability to hear range commands, which is also a safety issue.

Yes, next question: “Did Guns Doom Hillary in Michigan?”

A counter drone system. Looks good for one or two drones, but what about a swarm attack?

The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a hatchet, is a good guy with a gun.

Anti-gun Republicans are a rare breed these days, but where I grew up, you can still find them in the wild. There’s almost nowhere to shoot in Delco. There’s one club, and one public range, and I’ve seen enough unsafe things in that public range that I won’t shoot there. That’s not good for a healthy gun culture.

Let’s hope this is a trend: Jury nullification instructions coming to New Hampshire.

Trump & Guns: Bob Owens correctly points out some really bad advice. The law frowns on shooting people threatening or using non-deadly force.

Don’t for a minute think folks like this wouldn’t take your guns if given half the chance.

European gun control push on hold for now. They learned exactly the wrong lessons from the Paris attacks.

Maryland is looking to make colleges and universities gun free zones. Meanwhile, Georgia is moving in the opposite direction.

Yellow Journalism: Inside the Crackdown on Florida’s Shady Private Gun Dealers. They are conflating very illegal sales with lawful private sales.

Miguel on Colorado Magazine Ban: “When you see Dudley Brown, Be Sure to Thank Him.” The Dems were willing to cut a deal to do at least a partial repeal of the ban, but it was scuttled by Dudley. Now Coloradans are probably stuck with the 15 round limit forever.

What liberals can learn from the NRA.” It’s not just liberals. A lot of conservative and libertarian groups would do well to look at how NRA does things.

Ban cars? Ban private sales of cars? No more lending your keys to your buddy! That would be the gun control mentality applied here: “Pedestrian deaths appear to be climbing: Can we reverse the trend.

Trump’s supporters aren’t notably authoritarian, according to the WaPo. There’s a lot more authoritarianism to go around than I’m comfortable with, but that’s nothing new.

A private transfer ban is being considered in Minnesota.

Looks like Facebook’s anti-gun-sale policies aren’t really having much of an effect. It’s almost like gun control doesn’t work at all!

Good News for Colorado Gun Owners

A new poll shows that Colorado voters oppose tougher gun laws. Opposition pushes to 70% for men, with women barely getting a majority of 51%. That’s still a pretty significant gender gap, but support is still dropping among women, it’s just dropping much faster among men. This is good news. The article does note that Hickenlooper enjoys a 51-40% approval rating, which is pretty good. But there is significant hope that is Colorado activists can get ahead of Dudley Brown, there’s a pretty good chance they can get the 15 round limit raised to 30 rounds, and then get rid of it if the legislature can become more favorable.

Newsmax: Here’s a Crappy List of 100 Pro-Gun People We Could Think Of

Newsmax has published it’s list of 100 most influential people in the pro-gun movement. Newsmax is normally on the list of sites I won’t link, because they are the National Enquirer of the conservative news sites. But this was a stupid enough list I had to comment.  It strikes me more as “Let’s list out 100 people we can think of or Google who are in the pro-gun movement and list them, and we can do it in the order we find them.” It would hardly be wrong to say that, Dudley Brown, for instance, is not influential, but when he actively sabotages progress on our issue, I don’t think it’s wrong to question his priorities. It also seems that all you have to do to get on their list is be a minor celebrity, well-known and own guns, or have once said a kind word.

The list is insulting to the real people who have dedicated their lives to this fight, often out of the limelight and not in the expectation of getting any thanks for what they were doing. So here’s who ought to have made this list, in no particular order:

  • Don Kates
  • Dave Hardy
  • Dave Kopel
  • Robert Dowlut
  • Clayton Cramer
  • Nelson Lund
  • Robert Cottrol
  • Glenn Reynolds
  • Stephen Halbrook
  • Nicholas Johnson

And that’s just ten legal scholars I can think of off the top of my head, who have all done tremendous things for the issue. I could probably list ten more, all of whom belong on that list more than twenty others who have no place on it.

What about Alan Gura and Alan Gottlieb? I mean, I know Alan Gura argued only argued two landmark Second Amendment cases and all, but hey, Bruce Willis once said something pro-gun! Alan Gottlieb, whatever his faults, has still done a hell of a lot more on the issue than Whoopi Goldberg.

Or what about Chris Cox and his whole lobbying team? Everyone thought we were going to get it good and hard in Congress during the 2013 fights, and our opponents walked away empty handed. Not even worth an honorable mention?

This list was written by people with no understanding or appreciation of the issue. It’s one reason I will continue to not link to Newsmax, or take them seriously.

Magazine Ban Partial Repeal Dead in Colorado

I’m sorry to report that it appears Dudley Brown was successful in scuttling a Democratic proposal to raise the magazine limit in Colorado from 15 to 30 rounds.

Caldara said Wednesday that he had not yet received the letter, but agreed that it would be impossible to pass a 30-round limit this year with 26 Republicans in opposition. Supporters of the plan would need every House and Senate Republican behind it, plus a few House Democrats.

Years from now, when Coloradans are still living with a 15 round limit, you can thank Brown and all the people who drink the RMGO kool-aid  for it, because I think that’s going to be the result. Colorado’s demographics aren’t going to improve from here for Republicans. Unless there’s a major realignment, it’s hard to see how we’re getting rid of that limit. Maybe we’ll get extraordinarily lucky in the courts.

That said, I don’t want to get into endless bickering over this. It’s time to move on and keep pushing for either full repeal, or whatever we can get out of the Democrats, who are likely to control the Colorado House for some time.

UPDATE: I know I have a few Colorado readers. What two Democrats are potentially vulnerable in 2016 or 2018 in the Colorado House? How likely is the GOP to hold the Colorado Senate in a non-wave year?

The Magazine Battle in Colorado

Most everyone is aware of the effort by Senate Republicans in Colorado to repeal Colorado’s post-Sandy Hook gun control laws. That effort runs into issues in the Democratically controlled house, and then finally with Governor Hickenlooper. So you’d think of the Democrats conceded that maybe they went too far, and they’d be willing to consider a bill that would ease the magazine ban to 30 rounds, you’d jump at that right?

Not Dudley Brown. See more at the Denver Post:

“It is unforgivable that it is RMGO and not Michael Bloomberg keeping me from buying a 30-round magazine,” Caldara said Friday. “Just as every gun owner needs to know who was behind the terrible gun laws in 2013 — Bloomberg and Gov. John Hickenlooper — every gun owner needs to know that Rocky Mountain Gun Owners is stopping a huge step toward fixing it.”

Dudley is holding out for full repeal, suggesting the Dems need to repeal the law or “face the election consequences in 2016.”

First, I’d never be that confident that the 2016 elections are going to go our way. If the GOP fails to take back the Colorado House, you’re probably stuck with the 15 round limit, unless the courts come through, which I also would not count on. If Colorado stays in Democratic hands through the 2020 census, there’s a very good chance there is no saving the state at all, and it’ll continue to get worse.

On the other hand, 30 rounds is on the table now, which would mean the vast majority of magazines people tend to own in Colorado would be legal. It would render the magazine law essentially meaningless, which would mean getting the other half of the pie later would be an easier sell. If the GOP does prevail in 2016, well, then you’re one step closer to full repeal already. I just don’t see any downside to taking the House Dems up on their offer.

The Denver Magazine asks “Has Dudley Brown Finally Gone Too Far?” Also see this video with Dave Kopel:

Last Wednesday, Brown tried an unheard of maneuver that caught everyone off guard, and was eventually ruled out of order, and ultimately defeated, with five Republicans joining the Democrats. It should be noted that even on a straight party line vote, this would have been defeated. Brown is now threatening the five Republicans who voted against the motion in primaries. Those Republicans are:

  • NRA A Rated and Endorsed Rep. J. Paul Brown
  • NRA A Rated and Endorsed Rep. Timothy Dore
  • NRA A Rated and Endorsed Rep. Bob Rankin
  • NRA B+ Rated Yeulin Willett
  • Rep. Jon Keyser (never returned the NRA questionnaire

OK, I’d give Dudley challenging Keyser, and maybe Willett depending on whether or not that district can support a better candidate, or whether replacing him with a stronger gun rights candidate would throw the race to an anti-gun Democrat. I don’t know the district. But the first three are solid people on the issue, who perhaps voted against the maneuver because once you unleash a weapon like that, you invite your opposition to use it on you. There is a reason deliberative bodies have procedures.

We all want the magazine ban completely gone. But we can get 95% of the way there now, or hold off and rely on vague hopes that things will go as well or better for the GOP as they did in 2014. I’m for taking what we can get now. This no compromise stuff just doesn’t work in the real world. If Dudley were really the powerhouse he claims to be, and if he were truly a strategic genius, Colorado would never be in this mess in the first place.

NAGR Opposing National Reciprocity

See NAGR’s release here.

I was previously wary of National Reciprocity supported solely on the herpes theory of the commerce clause, so I don’t outright scoff at people’s concerns with federal involvement in this area. But with the advent of Heller and McDonald rulings, Congress now has another, more constitutional avenue to legislature in this area, namely Section 5 of the 14th Amendment, which grants Congress the power to enforce its provisions that guarantee rights. This has been used to promote civil rights in many contexts in the post-Civil-War period. National Reciprocity is really a quite appropriate exercise of this power, given that the Heller decision assumed a right to carry a firearm, and the Court applied it to the states in McDonald. In fact, I’ll go farther and argue that Congressional action is likely the only way we’re going to restore the Second Amendment to the few remaining states which disrespect it. So let me take on some of NAGR’s arguments.

NAGR argues that the Second Amendment is the only license you should need. No one steeped in this debate disagrees that there should be no licensing requirement for exercising your Second Amendment rights. But Congressional action here doesn’t necessarily legitimize licensing. Previous Supreme Court rulings make Congressional action on unsettled issues like licensing problematic. Even with National Reciprocity, the other side will certainly argue City of Boerne v. Flores, which circumscribed Congressional power under the 14th Amendment. Congress attacking licensing might spark a turf war with the courts, such as happened in the City of Boerne case. We want to be cautious about reaching too far without more guidance from the Court.

NAGR argues that this bill is a trojan horse that will pave the way for federal control of licensing and carry. That is false. This bill gives no federal agency any regulatory control. It will be a law passed by Congress and enforced by the federal courts against the states. Could Congress pass such regulatory control in the future? Sure. But they can do that whether we pass National Reciprocity or not. Groups like NAGR act like anti-gun folks never thought of passing federal gun control before we gave them the idea. Nonsense!

NAGR uses Obama’s lawlessness as a reason not to do this. But this bill offers Obama no regulatory power to abuse. Could he just mandate something anyway? Sure, but again, he could do that right now. It will come down to what the federal courts let him get away with. That’s true with or without federal reciprocity.

NAGR calls this the “National CCW Registration Act,” despite the fact that there is no registration component to the bill. Nothing changes in regards to federal involvement in carry permitting, and nothing could change. All the law does is demand that states recognize each other’s licenses to carry. No more, no less.

NAGR is simply wrong on this issue, very badly wrong. Some Senators and Congressmen may use Dudley Brown’s opposition as cover to avoid taking a hard vote on this.  I’ve made no secret that I don’t like Brown or his organization, but even I honestly don’t know what’s he’s even thinking here.

I don’t think we ought to stop with National Reciprocity either. Lately I’ve liked Glenn Reynolds idea of mandating that, for someone not prohibited by federal law from possessing a firearm, they can’t be sentenced to more than a petty offense, with a fine not to exceed $500 dollars, for any firearm violation not involving the commission of another serious, violent crime. It would be a good next step, and hopefully compatible with City of Boerne. At the least, it represents the kind of remedy we can probably only get from Congressional action under the 14th Amendment.

I would ignore NAGR’s plea to oppose this law, and make sure your friends know it too. NAGR has built up quite a Facebook presence, so Dudley could do serious damage in trying to move this or any other federal civil rights bills forward if more sensible people don’t help educate.

In Order to Win Colorado Back, House Democrats Must be Removed From Power

The Denver Post is reporting on the committee votes in the Colorado House:

HB 1050: Repeals requirement that anyone besides a licensed gun dealer who transfers possession of a firearm must obtain a background check and repeals requirement that charges a fee for a check. Defeated 6-5.

HB 1127: Establishes immunity from certain civil actions for owners and operators of businesses open to the public who adopt a policy allowing persons to carry a concealed handgun on the premises. Defeated 6-5.

HB 1009: Repeals the ban on the possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines. Defeated 6-5.

HB 1049: Adds a place of business to the locations that may be defended with deadly physical force. Defeated 6-5. 

HB 1086: Requires the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to produce in a certain time frame certificates allowing for the transfers of machine guns, destructive devices or other firearms or explain why, in that time frame, it was denied. Defeated 7-4.

See the whole article to contrast what the GOP is doing in the Senate, which passed constitutional carry out of committee. I hate to raise the bar higher, because Colorado activists have already been carrying a lot of water for the movement, but if Colorado is to be snatched out of Bloomberg’s hands, the Democrats must lose control of the House as well.

These were 6-5 votes. It’s very close. But the next election could determine everything. Abandon false prophets like Dudley Brown, who has a socially conservative agenda that extends far beyond gun rights. The Colorado GOP has to get smart and embrace good candidates who can win in that state’s more socially liberal political climate.

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