The Elmer Gantries

When it comes to Second Amendment rights groups, I’ve always said “let a thousand flowers bloom”.

You prefer to fight the national fight by proxy?  Send your $35 to the NRA.  Want to get more into the thick of things nationally?  Contribute to the Second Amendment Foundation.

Wanna affect what happens in the Minnesota legislature?  Support GOCRA.  Wanna affect who gets elected to the Legislature?  Support MNGOPAC.  Feel like taking it to the streets?  The Twin Cities Carry Forum is the place to go.

If you want to donate money to an organization that seems to have little tie to Minnesota, that is closely linked to a network of similar organizations that seem to do more harm than good in the legislature in other states (Iowa, Colorado and Mississippi), which probably means it’s a good thing all that Minnesota fundraising has no visible impact in the Legislature itself?

A bipartisan group of pro-Second-Amendment legislators would like to have a word with you about that:

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This bipartisan group of legislators, most of whom have been key leaders in pushing back the Bloomberg-financed gun grab bills, are urging you not to be fooled.

Now, I’ve written a bit about “Minnesota Gun Rights”, as well as “Iowa Gun Owners” and the “National Association of Gun Rights” in the past year and a half.  And I get two questions about the subject:

  • “Berg, aren’t you connected with GOCRA?  Isn’t this just trying to thin out the competition?”:  I’m “connected” with just about everyone in the Second Amendment movement.  I network like a madman.  Hello – I’m a blogger and talk show host; I go where the info is. And no – “competition” is good, where the goal is “who can be the first to drag Governor Flint-Smith kicking and screaming to the table to sign the legislation we want”.  As I believe I and the sixteen oversigned legislators have established, MGR isn’t really competing on that front.
  • “MGR stands for Constitutional Carry – GOCRA, the NRA and MNGOPAC don’t.  If we pass Constitutional Carry, we won’t need any of the other legislation.  Why waste time?”:  That’s a little like saying I’m swearing off dating until Morena Baccarin returns my calls.  I mean, if I get into a position where Morena Baccarin returns my calls, great – but until I do (and I’m not), what then?    Saying “We’ll accept nothing but Constitutional Carry, and any lesser legislation merely accedes to government’s power to regulate  your God-given right to self-defense”.  Which is true – in a philosophical sense.  The law is not philosophy.  If the Minnesota gun movement had adopted that idea in 1994, we’d still be begging our police chiefs for carry permits, mostly in vain.  And the simple fact is, until we get a pro-Second Amendment governor, and legislatures that are not just mostly pro-Second Amendment (as they are today) but very strongly so, we’re not going to get Constitutional Carry.  Minnesota is not Arizona or Wyoming or Alaska.  By the way, passing Constitutional Carry won’t solve many of the other gun related issues – like reciprocity, the Capitol felony trap, or the right to purchase in non-contiguous states.  It just won’t.
  • “Isn’t ‘Shall Issue’ just a moneymaker for the carry permit instructors that run GOCRA?”:  No more so than fund-raising over a pie-in-the-sky proposal that is years away from passage, assuming everything goes perfectly from an electoral perspective (which Minnesota Gun  Rights is doing absolutely nothing to assure).

More later.

Clearly All Of Minnesota’s Problems Have Been Solved

Because they have time for this:

A bipartisan Minnesota House proposal suggests the engraving on a statute of Christopher Columbus should be edited. It now reads “Discoverer of America.” The proposal says it should be re-written to read, “Landed in America.”

The bill is sponsored by DFLer John Persell, of Bemidji.  Who, to be fair, may be (fairly and accurately) representing for his Norwegian constituents, who may prefer to honor North America’s actual European discoveror, Leif Ericson.

Still.  They have the time for this?

Break Out Your Maroon Shirts

Tonight, and Thursday morning, the legislature is going to be debating a bill – HF722, sponsored by representative Jim Newburger – which would prevent government from confiscating civilian firearms during states of emergency.

This is no idle worry; after Hurricane Katrina, the police went door to door through the storm ravaged neighborhoods, confiscating peoples firearms, leaving them helpless in the face of looters and thugs.

There are going to be two rounds of hearings:

  • Tonight at 6 PM, in the Civil Law committee. This will be in room 500, at the State office building. You can park for free in lot AAA, at Aurora and rice, after 4 PM – and meters are generally open along John Ireland Boulevard after business hours, too.
  • Thursday morning at 10:15 AM in the Public Safety committee. This will be in room 10 at the state office building.

Second Amendment humans rights advocates are on the offensive, this session – but that doesn’t mean anything is a shoe in. Showing up at hearings, or calling your legislators, is still essential.  Maybe moreso than ever.

Any DFLer who votes against this bill is essentially tipping their hand; they won’t “waste a crisis”, and if offered the chance will use that crisis as an excuse to extort firearms from the law abiding citizen. They need to be held accountable for this 2016

Orwell Would Puke…

,,,at this proposal, from the usual assortment of Metrocrat hamsters.  It may be the worst anti-gun bill, and the most toxic attack on civil liberty, in recent years.

It would essentially allow any cop or domestic violence victim to claim you brandished a firearm and have the authorities remove all firearms from your house and person.

Without even a hint of due process.

I say again; without even a plaintive whiff of due process.

Now, this bill is DOA in the House; Tony Cornish, a legislator who makes Ted Nugent look like Oprah Winfrey on Second Amendment issues, is chair of the Public Safety Committee; the DFL may as well deliver the bill directly to the paper shredder.

So why do it at all?

Politics:  Because Ron “Did You Know I Went To Harvard?” Latz is running the show in the Senate public safety committee, so it’s pretty much guaranteed a floor vote.  Which means a bunch of GOP senators will be on the record with “no” votes, which will be dutifully relayed during the 2016 campaign as “Senator X voted to give firearms to domestic abusers and people who threatened cops!” by the Alliance for a “Better” Minnesota.

That’s my two cents worth, of course; I have no doubt that Ron Latz would love to send SWAT teams to the home of every law-abiding gun owner on principle, but the political realities don’t support it right now.

We’ll keep you posted.

UPDATE: GOCRA is taking this bill very seriously, and so should you:

Everyone has moments in life where things seem hopeless. A death in the family, a job loss, PTSD from military service, a divorce… Responsible gun owners know that a doctor or psychologist can help. But this bill would encourage doctors to trick you into signing away your rights!

Imagine: there you are. You’re hurting. You go see a professional. He listens, then says he can help. He gives you a pile of forms to sign. Buried among them is a form created by this bill — one that puts you on the NICS no-buy list. “Voluntarily.”

Call your legislator. Tell them this bill needs to be killed with fire.

It’s Go Week

This is going to be a big week at the legislature for Second Amendment bills; five vitally important gun rights bills are going to be hitting the legislature in the next week.

End The Trap: Currently, you have to notify the head of capitol security if you are a carry permittee who wishes to carry at any building in the Capitol complex – the Capitol, the office buildings, and even the Minnesota history center, across the freeway. This is what’s called a “felony trap” – an obscure law which happens to be a felony. It’s also obsolete; it made sense, back when carry permits were cardboard chits carried in the wallet, and police didn’t have instant access to computers. But today they do; police can validate a carry permit as fast as they can validate a drivers license these days. This law serves only to trip up people who aren’t clairvoyant about the law, and it needs to go away. Representative Jim Nash Will be introducing a capitol carry bill today,

End The Other Trap: Did you know that it was illegal to buy a gun in a state not directly bordering Minnesota? I’m pretty up on the law, and I didn’t know this. But it’s true – if you buy a firearm from a state other than Minnesota, the Dakotas, Iowa or Wisconsin, you have to transfer it through a federally-licensed firearms dealer. It’s a stupid law, and another felony trap, and it needs to go. And go it shall, if the bill be introduced by Representative Lucero passes into law. Lucero is introducing the bill tomorrow.

Secure In Your Homes A lot of urban legends sprang up in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. One that was all too real? On government orders, the police went door-to-door, confiscating firearms and leaving the remaining citizens disarmed and helpless in the face of looters and gangs. And the fact is, Gov. Dayton could order the same confiscation after any sort of disaster, here in Minnesota, today. Heck, he could order firearms confiscated if he sees the walls pulsing in his office. Representative Newberger is introducing a bill on Thursday that will restrict governments emergency power to confiscate guns from the law-abiding citizen.

A Right of the People – The vast majority of states have a state constitutional provision echoing and reinforcing the US Constitution’s Second Smendment guarantee of the right to keep and bear arms to the people. It’s not redundant; states have Powers reserved to them by the constitution, and it’s good to make sure that they are enumerated. Representative Hackbarth will hopefully be introducing an amendment to the Minnesota state constitution this week.

Noise – if you drive your car without a muffler, you get a ticket. But if you try to put a muffler on your gun – to forestall the hearing loss that can accompany the noise involved in shooting – it’s a state felony.

Minnesota is one of very, very few states that bands civilian ownership of firearm suppressors. They’re called “silencers” by people who know nothing about firearms; they don’t “silence” anything. In fact, a suppressed firearm is still fully detectable I shot spotter, which is the police’s Big beef with the proposal to allow suppressors. They are governed by federal law – it requires a federal license to own a suppressor, so it’s not like this bill will open them up to criminals. Indeed, there has never been a confirmed crime committed using a suppressor of any kind, much less he legally owned one. Ever. Outside the movies, anyway. Hopefully, there will be a bill legalizing federally licensed suppressors in Minnesota next week.

All of you Second Amendment supporters, need to get your dialing finger is Limbird up. We’re going to have all sorts of work to do.

By the way – after this last two sessions, it’s nice to be on the offensive again, isn’t it?

Pay Up For Your Rights

Up until 1974, Minnesotans didn’t need a permit, or a sheriff’s permission, or a card costing $100, to exercise their Second Amendment right to carry a firearm. Minnesotans could carry anything they wanted, subject to their criminal record; they could do it anywhere they wanted to subject to their senses of etiquette.

From 1974 to 2005, Minnesotans had to beg, convince, or suck up to their local police chief to exercise their Second Amendment rights. And since 2004, Minnesotans have had to pay for the privilege of having Minnesota law-enforcement try to prove they weren’t legally entitled to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

So over the context of the past 40 years, things are moving generally in the right direction.

But there is a proposal of footage, floating around somewhere in the legislature, to adopt “Constitutional Carry” – as several other states around the union have. Constitutional Carry means that any law-abiding citizen can carry a firearm, openly or concealed, as long as they don’t have a criminal record that would deny that ride.

Not only is that exactly the way Minnesota law stood before 1974 – it is, in effect, exactly the way it is today; The law abiding jump through hoops to exercise their right to carry, and criminals carry anyway. Just as they did before 1974.

The actual record is clear and unequivocal; law-abiding citizens in Minnesota are phenomenally unlikely, statistically, to commit any kind of crime of all:

I think the proposal is a good one; Gov. Dayton will veto it, of course, but before that we will get some votes on the table before 2016.

But after 40 years of having to pay, and submit to scrutiny, to exercise our God given constitutional rights, I think we need to have a proposal with more teeth to it.

I think we need a Mandatory Carry law.

Under my law, all law-abiding citizens over the age of 21 will be required to have a firearm on their person.

Now, anyone who doesn’t want to have a firearm will be able to exercise that right – by getting a “Permit to Not Carry”. This permit can be gotten one of two ways:

  • Pay $100 to your local county sheriff to obtain a Permit Not to Carry,
  • Applying to your county sheriff, with proof you have reason not to carry a firearm.

I think that would be perfectly fair. Or, at least, bring a form of Justice after this past 40 years.

Money In Politics: Talk Dirty To The DFL

The DFL is in the midst of an extended campaign of sniveling about the amount of money in politics.

A look at this list of independent expenditures registered from the 10 Minnesota House races that flipped last election shows you why:

The DFL spent more.  Sometimes a helluvva lot more.  And it didn’t work.

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Courtesy John Rouleau of the MN Jobs Coalition, via Twitter.

The candidate with the most indy spending in each race is color-flagged.

Of 10 races, DFL groups outspent GOP groups in eight of them, notching a little over 10% more independent spending.  And that doesn’t even tell the whole story.

  • Remember all the whining Zach Dorholt did the Twin Cities media did on Zach Dorhold’s behalf about big money in his district?  His independent expenditures were 20% higher than Knoblach’s.
  • The GOP spent more on Peggy Bennet than the DFL wasted on Shannon Savick – by about $4,000.  That speaks to what a terrible campaign Savick ran, and what a lousy term she had in office – and the power of the grass roots that turned out to bounce her.  Don’t screw with the Second Amendment outstate!
  • On the other hand – Erickson vs. Hancock (over 2:1 in favor of the DFLer) and Fritz vs. Daniel (almost 3:1 for the DFL?)  Holy cow.
  • Against that, the GOP indies only outspent the DFL in two of the flips; the Bennet/Savick race, as already noted, and a 15% margin in the Heintzelman/Ward race.

So no wonder the DFL is so concerned about rationing money in politics; theirs didn’t work.  They need less competition.

Petition

Senate File 32, as proposed by Senator Branden Petersen in the current session, would basically reiterate the Fourth Amendment…

…which is good, because the last couple of Presidents, going back to Clinton, have put the Fourth Amendment on life support.

The bill would require law enforcement and prosecutors to show legitimate probably cause before doing any electronic eavesdropping.

Senator Ron Latz, of course, controls the Senate Judiciary Committee.  And he apparently believes that if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.

Please sign this petition urging Senator Latz to bring the bill up in committee for an up or down vote.

Because it would be good to know where our Senators stand on privacy and, y’know, freedom.

 

Golf Clap

The House GOP caucus is making some encouraging noises these days; speaker of the house Kurt Daudt is putting the kibosh, for the session, on funding for the Southwest light rail pork train:

Daudt said the 16 mile light rail line is not a priority for House Republicans .

“We are not interested in moving forward on the Southwest light rail project. I think we need to get real with our priorities in Minnesota on how we spend our transportation dollars. Our plan is to spend them on roads and bridges.”

Gov. Mark Dayton said he isn’t willing to fund the Southwest Light Rail project until the Minneapolis Park Board’s objections are resolved. The park board is funding a study to determine whether a deeper, more expensive tunnel is a better option to protect city parkland than the Metropolitan Council’s plan that features a shallow tunnel.

Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, said Senate Democrats are committed to funding the project.

Dibble, who chairs the Senate Transportation Committee, released his transportation funding package today. It would rely on $800 million in new revenue through a wholesale gas tax hike, and higher license tab fees. The plan also borrows $576 million for new roads and bridges and includes a half cent sales tax in the metro area to pay for transportation projects.

It’s good to see the House GOP come out of the gate taking a serious stance on something.  It’d have been nice to have seen more of this during, say, the Vikings Stadium jamdown, but better late than never.

More importantly?   The GOP controls half of a third of Minnesota’s government.  We get it – negotiation and compromise is going to be involved.  But it’s so good to hear House GOP leadership smell the coffee, and stop leading negotiations with the “compromise”.

Status Quo Ante

While this blog has repeatedly referred to Sally Jo Sorenson of Bluestem Prairie as “one of about five Minnesota liberal bloggers that don’t deserve police surveillance” – not the highest compliment I can give, but the highest warranted under the circumstances – one should not presume that I agree that Ms. Sorenson will go out of her way to tell a story that the DFL doesn’t want, or  pay to have, told.

So with yesterday’s post about the Minnesota Senate “tightening” media credentialing rules, which was signal for including just the bits that fit the DFL’s narrative about media and communications:

Via David Montgomery’s post at the Pioneer Press’s Political Animal blog, MN Senate tightens rules for press credentials and The Uptake’s MN Senate Tightens Media Credential Rule, we learn that ““individuals affiliated with a political organization” can no longer be credentialled as journalists or keep their press pass at the Minnesota Senate.

Now, the mainstream press is noplace to get information about this issue, since they’ve been blissfully above it all from the beginning.  And the Uptake has a bit of a conflict of interest, as it was the DFL’s favoritism toward them (they gave credentials to the stridently partisan Uptake, but denied them to conservatives) in 2010 that led to the whole “Senate Media Rules” fracas in the first place.

Back when the GOP took over the Senate in 2011, then-Senate-GOP-comms guy Michael Brodkorb convened a working group to come up with new rules for media credentialing.  I was part of the group, along with David Brauer.  And we did a really good job; they were among the best, fairest rules in the country, balancing the investment the big mainstream media outlets had made in coverage with the access for alternative media sources.

And to prevent the system from being hijacked by the parties, the rules barred people who were on party payrolls from getting credendialed.  Period.

In 2013, the DFL took control of the Senate:

Montgomery reports:

That’s a pretty broad definition, but the background appears to be related to a blogger named Shawn Towle, who received a Senate press pass while also being paid by the Senate DFL.

Republican senators made a stink about Towle in April of 2014, putting out a press release accusing DFL leader Tom Bakk of “secret payments” to Towle.

Introducing the proposed change today, Bakk described it as “something the rules committee had considerable conversation about near the end of the session last year.”

In other words, Bakk is reiterating the process that we came up with in 2011.  With a great deal of noise, he returned the Senate to the rules it had before.

Thank goodness.

One presumes that the DFL will find some way to sneak Towle, their favorite hit-piece writer, into the room – but it’ll be the traditional Democrat way; rules be damned!

And that is the rest of the story.  

Marching Orders

As we get ready for tomorrow’s beginning of the 2015 Legislative session, Senator Dave Hann gave the state a pretty fair look at conservative GOP priorities in an open letter to Governor Flint-Smith…er, Dayton in the PiPress over the weekend.

The whole thing is worth a read.  I’m going to pullquote the bit on education, which sounds like a little Scott Walker might just at long last be leaking across the border, thank God:>

Republicans will also be ready to consider bolder ideas and reforms such as breaking up our large urban school districts into smaller and more nimble organizations, able to better focus on solving our persistent achievement gap. Empowering parents and local school boards through public-employee-union rules reform and expanded school choice options are tools other states are using effectively. Every year there is talk about closing the achievement gap. But the policy of the DFL is always the same: increase spending. Every year we get the same results: flat or declining achievement. It borders on criminal to tell half the parents in Minneapolis we’ve improved education by providing more expensive schools from which their children will not graduate.

The whole letter is music to my ears – provided the GOP delivers on it (and prevails over the DFL majorities in the Senate and Governor Flint-Smith’s…er, Dayton’s partisan obstruction.

Hann was silent about the elephant in the room (for conservatives, at least), and perhaps justifiably so, from his perspective; the need for the GOP majority in the House to hold, or at least work hard to try to hold, the line on spending – especially the mindless pork-mongering that marred the GOP’s generally decent performance in the majority in the 2011 and 2012 sessions.

Wanna fire up the base?  Get the House caucus to chug a down some of whatever Scott Walker has for breakfast, sack up, and tell Governor Flint-Smith…er, Dayton where to put those proposed spending increases; show the “targeted tax breaks” (aka, swag to DFL constituencies) off to a place where the sun rarely shines.

Be, in short, what you were elected to be.  You were sent to office over the peoples’ revulsion over tax hikes, spending orgies, losing our doctors and our clinics and spending days signing up for MNSure, union money-grubbing from childcare and home care providers, and building useless trains while our roads flake away into impassability.

Remember that. Seriously.

 

Targeted

H2O –  two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen – makes water.  You drink a lot of it daily.

H2O2 is Hydrogen Peroxide.  It just adds an extra oxygen atom – but if you drink it, you’ll get sick; it’s toxic.

They lookalmost the same – but they are very different, just with the addition of that one little Oxygen atom.

Little changes mean a lot.

Like Crack Whores With A Stolen Credit Card: Minnesota has a “billion dollar surplus” – meaning that the state is on track to take in about a billion dollars more than even the DFL planned to take in after jacking taxes up by two billion dollars in the last two sessions.

Now, back in the nineties, we had surplus after surplus after surplus.  And the largely DFL-controlled legislature, aided and abetted by Governor Arne Carlson (who was an old-school “moderate” Republican, who’d probably be a “moderate” DFLer today, if any such thing existed), turned every single one of them into permanent spending – which is a little like finding a $50 bill on the street, and adding $50 to your monthly entertainment budget as a result.

But it’s a new year, and another decade.

Notwithstanding the fact that the GOP wave largely skipped Minnesota (except for the House races in Greater Minnesota), the aftereffects are still being felt in Saint Paul.  There’s less of the triumphalistic talk about equalizing society through taxation that the DFL gave us in the last two sessions.

It’s Such An Innocent Little Word: But make no mistake; the DFL wants to turn the surplus into spending.

They’ll call it “targeted tax relief”.

The phrase is a clever one; it includes the phrase “tax relief”, so the average Minnesotan will see “tax relief”,and assume that their taxes are going to be, y’know, relieved.

But “targeted” is to “tax relief” as “extra Oxygen atom” is to “water”:  it turns it from an unalloyed good into a cudgel of DFL social engineering.

Governor Flint-Smith Dayton has her his fingerprints on some of it:

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton’s already made it clear that child care tax credits are on his list.

Currently, about 38,000 families receive the credit. Dayton said he wants to lift the income eligibility to include 137,000 more families. He said the cost would be $175 million over two years.

“The state program is capped very low and phases out very quickly,” Dayton said. “It really doesn’t reach working middle-income, one- and two-parent families. Talk about tax reduction that benefits the middle class — that to me is probably one of the most significant things we can do.”

And isn’t that just like the state of Minnesota – spend two years trying to force daycare providers into AFSCME, and then making taxpayers pay for it again?

Just Hand It Over: In the meantime, Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk has different ideas:

Bakk said tax reductions will compete with other spending proposals during the budget-writing session, and he said the final product won’t satisfy everyone. He said he favors tax relief targeted to economic development in struggling areas of the state.

And by “struggling areas of the state”, he means the Iron Range, which after 50 years of being put out of business by DFL policy still votes DFL, and wants the rest of the state to pay for it.

Anyway – “targeted tax cuts” are to “tax cuts” as “H202″ is to “H20″; they are another term for “payoff for DFL constituencies”.

How Can You Tell “Moms Want Action” Is Lying?

Oh, please.  Like I even need to finish the punch line.

But some of you have been under rocks for a while (vide Governor Messinger’s Flint Smith’s Dayton’s re-election).  So for your benefit:

“Their lips are moving, and/or their fingers are typing something”. 

To wit:  Moms Want Action sent out a post-election thank-you to their supporters (and quite a few Real Americans who get their updates as well):

Many thanks to those of you who made hundreds of phone calls in support of Sen Al Franken. His re-election means that both of our US senators are lawmakers who support gun-sense legislation. Gun violence prevention was not a major campaign theme for any federal candidate, [And why do you suppose that is? - Ed.] although a few did mention it. Notably, US. Rep. Betty McCollum’s campaign materials called it out, and state attorney general candidate Andy Dawkins of the Green Party did, too (McCollum won re-election; Dawkins failed to unseat Lori Swanson)

Side note:  Betty McCollum runs in a district that would elect a wheelbarrow full of manure to Congress, if the DFL endorsed it. 

And what Moms Want Action failed to tell you is that while Lori Swanson may be an interventionist, activist who’s continued her predecessor and mentor Mike Hatch’s policies on nattering away at private business, she is one of the better state AGs in the country on gun rights.  So the Moms would be more honest to say that the pro-gun candidate utterly destroyed the only AG candidate who explicitly mentioned support for gun control and the Bloomberg Oompa-Loompas. 

But here’s the big one.  I’m bolding it for emphasis:

All of Everytown’s endorsed candidates in Minnesota won re-election. Yay!

Oh, did they? 

Follow the link to Everytown’s extraordinarily badly-designed site.  Look for “Filter by State”, and select “Minnesota”. 

Scroll down. 

Do you see Will Morgan?   “Moms Want Action”/”Everytown” offered him endorsement; the then-incumbent was arrogant enough to figure he didn’t need the votes of pro-2nd-Amendment Real Americans to win in District 56B. 

And Roz Peterson absolutely brutalized him with an eight point upset win.

So what is it we say, again?

“If a gun-grabber group says it, it’s probably a lie”. 

Pass the word.

An Idea Whose Time Is Long Overdue

This is from a piece of constituent mail, reprinted on a Minnesota legislator’s facebook page:

What do you think about replacing the word “free” to read “Taxpayer Funded” in all goverment paper and documents?  Like instead of schools “Free” lunch program, it would read “Schools Taxpayer Funded Lunch Program”.  It would be more truthful. 

I say submit the bill and run with it, hard.

Giving Them Ideas

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Modern cars have computers that act like a Black Box data recorder and the data can be used as evidence against you in court. The Minnesota Court of Appeals recently upheld the conviction of a woman charged with Reckless Driving, based on data the State Patrol downloaded from the computer inside her wrecked car after the accident.

I’m seeing a market for a Black Box Eraser device. Involved in an accident? Afraid it might be your fault? Push a button and ZAP, the Black Box memory is wiped and can’t be used against you. Order before midnight tonight. Don’t leave home without it.

Joe Doakes

I bet Alice Hausman reads this and submits a bill regulating such devices in the Transportation Committee before the next session.

The Sweetest Win

One of the brighter spots in Tuesday’s proceedings was the crushing victory of Peggy Bennett over Shannon Savick in Albert Lea. 

It was an old-fashioned whooping – 53-40.  Not even close.  And that was with an Indyparty candidate who took 6% out of the race, likely mostly from Bennett. 

I’m still doing the end-zone happy dance in my head. 

Shannon Savick was one of the DFLers from Greater Minnesota who supported Michael Paymar and Alice “The Phantom” Hausman’s gun grab bills in the 2013 legislature. 

And she was one of the DFLers who joined Hausman and Paymar in getting up and theatrically walking out of the hearing room when the Real Americans of the Second Amendment movement started their testimony against their proposals.  Indeed, the DFL made a shameful spetacle of ignoring their opponents’ testimony.

Watching their bills – and all of their support from Michael Bloomberg – go down to whining, piddling defeat – was sweet.  And it was what mattered most.

But seeing Shannon Savick tossed out of office with all the ceremony of a day old egg salad sandwich is right up there.

OK, Ms. Savick.  NOW you may get up and leave the room.

UPDATE:  It wasn’t just Savick – and it wasn’t just in Minnesota.  Gun grabbers were crushed nationwide.  It was lopsided in the Senate, of course – but the most astounding progress was among governors.

To sum it all up?  The NRA-endorsed candidate won in Maryland

Perhaps bigger, but definitely more subtle?  The flip of the Senate will at least slow down President Obama’s ongoing campaign to pack the Federal Appelate courts with gun-grabbing activists. 

It was a good Tuesday for Pro-Second-Amendment Real Americans from coast to coast.

Joe Persell: Context Goes Both Ways

The big DFL strategy in this election, so far, seems to be to scare to death the voters who they haven’t bored to death.

There was a debate on Wednesday in Bemidji.  Since a couple of districts – 2A and 5A – are in play in the Bemidji area, candidate from both were apparently in the ring.

The topic turned to gun control:

In response to a question on gun control, [HD2A GOP challenger Dave] Hancock said shooting incidents usually occur in places where guns are banned.

“If we look we look at the areas where tragedy has occurred with guns, they are usually in gun-free zone(s),” he said. “Where you have people armed and carrying concealed weaponry, the criminal in use of a gun thinks twice.”

That’s pretty much the fact.  Hancock got it right.  No surprise there.

Here’s where it gets interesting – and when I say “interesting”, I mean “A DFLer starts saying things that misinform the uninformed”.  The DFL’s Joe Persell responded to the question; I’m going to add emphasis:

Persell disagreed, saying carrying weapons can exacerbate tense situations.

“Folks that are out there carrying, playing cop … I don’t think we want them to be doing that,” he said. “There’s more instances of people being killed because they are carrying, and they think somebody said something nasty, and they felt threatened, and so they shot them.”

Really, Rep. Persell?

I wanted to ask Rep. Persell to name one example of either of a Minnesotan…:

  • being killed because they were “playing cop”
  • killing someone who “said something nasty” to them.

Conversation:  I sent Rep. Persell an email asking for clarification.  He contacted me, saying he’d been taken out of context in the Bemidji Pioneer.  We wound up having a conversation last night.   I pointed out that there has never been such a case involving a legal post 2003 carry permit holder in the state of Minnesota (although there were a few incidents with pre-2003 permits – the ones issued by sheriffs).

Rep. Persell told me that the conversation referred to the Second Amendment as a general, nationwide issue, and that he was referring to cases like those of Michael Dunn, the Florida man who shot a teenager over, the court case said, “loud music”.

Those cases certainly grab the headlines – the media, being left-of-center and largely anti-gun, makes sure they do.

But even those lavishly-publicized incidents are exceedingly rare.  I ran the numbers, nationwide, a few years ago; in a typical year, a carry permittee is two orders of magnitude less likely to commit any kind of crime than the general public.

So while Persell wasn’t “lying”, per se, he was focusing attention on a type of incident that is exceedingly rare in real life.   While his original quote in the Bemidji Pioneer may have been out of context, the context of his remark is misleading and inflammatory.

The problem with guns, statistically, nationwide, isn’t a guy with a carry permit killing someone unjustifiably.  It’s the thousands of criminals without permits who kill people without regard to the law at all.

Hope that word gets out…

Continue reading

The DFL’s Edina Brahmins

Why does the DFL hate the First Amendment?

Trackers – interns for various campaigns and groups filming footage of politicians giving speeches and doing other public appearances – have been a fixture of Minnesota political life for at least a decade now. Most politicians – and by “most” I mean “everyone I’ve encountered, from every party, so far” – accepts that with good grace, and tries not to say something stupid.

Apparently “good grace” is beyond DFL Rep. Paul Rosethal, from District 49B in Edina:

“You’re in the Edina City Hall. You’re not allowed to be here without their permission to film. So I’d appreciate your leaving,” Rosenthal said in an exchange posted on YouTube.

“It doesn’t matter. It’s a public building” replied [photographer Ethan] Hellier.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” said Rosenthal, moving in front of the camera.

Clever, Mr. Rosenthal.

At least, compared to representative Ron Erhardt, from District 498, who seems to be going more and more Tony Soprano as he gets older (With emphasis gleefully added):

Rep. Ron Erhardt, a Democrat, took a different approach.
Do you know what would happen to that thing if we dropped it? Probably wouldn’t work very well. Now would you back off please?” Erhardt said.

At least he isn’t threatening to blow Mr. Helier’s head off.

Dear Edina – these are the thugs you sent to StPaul in 2012. Let’s shoot for better this time, okay?

The Really Good Guys

Since we’re talking endorsements, the Minnesota Gun Owners Political Action Committee has issued its endorsements for this round of elections:

• Tony Cornish – House District 23B, Republican Party of Minnesota
• David Dill – House District 3A, Democrat-Farmer-Labor Party
• Steve Drazkowski – House District 21B, Republican Party of Minnesota
“Each of these three representatives has a long track record of strong and vocal leadership in support of the constitutional rights of Minnesota’s gun owners,“ said Mark Okern, Chairman, Minnesota Gun Owners PAC. “Tony, David, and Steve are power brokers, “ Okern said. “When they talk gun rights, their caucuses listen.”
“We are confident that Representatives Cornish, Dill, and Drazkowski will easily win re- election and continue to be steadfast supporters of the civil rights of gun owners in Saint Paul during the next legislative session, “ said Bryan Strawser, Executive Director.

More, I’m told, to come.

Rep. Ron Erhardt: “I’ll Blow Your Head Off”

The Minnesota Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance has spent the past few weeks compiling its biennial legislative report card.

As, for that matter, have a lot of Minnesota activist groups. It’s election season, after all.

But I’m going to guess not very many got a response like a GOCRA volunteer got from Minnesota state representative Ron Erhardt (DFL, HD 49A) of Edina:
20140803-132016-48016012.jpg

“No more surveys! You come near me, I’ll blow your head off” was Erhardt’s  response, according to GOCRA.  I have sent Rep. Erhardt an email asking for elaboration.

I’m trying to imagine what’d happen if a pro-life Representative had said that to a volunteer from Emily’s List?  If a fundamentalist Christian rep had said something like that to a gay marriage advocate?

I’m not saying that only Democrats have this sense of depraved entitlement.

Just that only Democrats can get away with it in this state.

Note to Aaron Rupar, Rachel Stassen-Berger and Tom Scheck:  Boy, wouldn’t this be a big, juicy story to report on!

(Note to the Dario Anselmo campaign:  Merry Christmas)

Doakes Sunday: Killed

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Another feel-good law passed by Minnesota Democrat-controlled legislature.  If your cell phone is stolen, the cell phone company must do something to switch it off so thieves can’t use it.

Private industry already offers that service – you call the cell phone provider to report your phone stolen and they shut it off.

There are two ways to kill a phone: the Hard Kill that turns the phone into a brick permanently, and the Soft Kill that shuts it off temporarily, but we have no control over which option your cell phone company takes so if the phone is lost but recovered, it still may be unusable.

Worse, industry experts don’t think it’ll solve the problem because thieves can work around the shut-off with SIM cards and computer program.

Providing a mandatory service costs the cell phone provider money.  The state isn’t funding this service.  So your cell phone rates will go up to pay for other people’s carelessness.

The U of M Police Chief who claims guns are often used to steal cell phones on campus is LYING.  He must be, the U of M is a “gun-free” zone.

Joe Doakes

It’s amazing how little the DFL accomplished this past session that wasn’t entirely “feel-good”.

Of Those With Cow, And Those With Moo

This session, Senate File 2639 (and its house companion, HF3238) have been the subject of a lot of misunderstanding (including on this very blog).   The bills would define how local authorities enforce federal law regarding dealing with firearms in the hands of those accused of domestic abuse.

The bills have also been the subject of an amazing amount of grandstanding rhetoric.

We’ll talk rhetoric first.  Then we’ll talk about the bill.

Aiming Low:  Representative Tony Cornish has, for a long, long time now, been the prime mover for Minnesota’s Second Amendment movement in the Legislature (after the retirement of Pat Pariseau).  Nobody has ever, ever called him “soft” on Second Amendment issues and escaped without being laughed out of the conversation.

But Cornish isn’t stupid.

After the debacle of the 2013 session – where the DFL marched into the legislature with reams of gun-regulation and confiscation bills copied and pasted from California, New York and Pennsylvania, and got publicly humiliated by the “Army of Davids” that the Minnesota gun rights movement mobilized, and a bipartisan assortment of pro-Human-Rights legislators – the anti-rights crowd, led by a more capable batch of professional politicial consultants and armed with shopping carts full of Michael Bloomberg’s cash, came to the Capitol with a brand new plan.  Their goal; find an emotional, red-meat issue that crossed party lines and would involve ratcheting up some sort of gun regulation, to eke out a win and help take the stench of death off of gun-control political efforts.

And there has been no better year since the seventies for the DFL to try to jam something down.  Remember – the DFL controls both chambers of the Legislature, and the Governor’s office.

All they’d have to do to pass any law – magazine restrictions and backdoor registration, to say nothing of taking guns from those accused of domestic abuse – is close ranks.

The fact that any such move would be political suicide is the result of two decades of organizing by the Minnesota 2nd Amendment movement – GOCRA, the MN-GOPAC, the NRA, the Twin Cities Gun Owners, and more. 

But politics is a two way street.  Both sides can play it – and Michael Bloomberg and the Joyce Foundation bought themselves some consultants who know how to play.

Remember – Tony Cornish, and all the other pro-human-rights legislators, are facing a DFL majority.   To avoid getting steamrolled, one of two things is needed:

  • Being OK with being steamrollered, or
  • canny negotiation.

Cornish and the rest of the pro-human-rights lobby chose negotiation. 

We’ll come back to that.

We Interrupt This Story For Some Law  – Domestic abuse is no laughing matter.  The law provides victims of domestic abuse some remedies under the law.  It also provides those accused of domestic abuse with the the right to due process.

Here, more or less, is now the process works (and every situation is different, so curb your inner lawyer.  Or outer lawyer, if you went to law school):

  1. Joe alleges his spouse, Jane, is beating him.  He goes to get a restraining order
  2. A judge signs off on an ex parte order (which means “one party”) “order for protection” (OFP).  The OFP prohibits contact (to say nothing of abuse) between Jane and Joe.  Firearms are, however, not an issue – yet.  It’s a temporary order, until the hearing (aka “due process”)
  3. Joe has Jane served a copy of the OFP.
  4. Jane has the option to request a hearing to review and contest the order.   She can (and probably should) bring a lawyer – it’s serious business (this, by the way, is the part many accused of domestic abuse skip, which screws things up for them badly).
  5. If  the judge believes, after the hearing that Jane is a significant threat to Joe’s safety, the judge may make the order “permanent” (which really means generally three years or so).
  6. If the order finds that the threat is really serious, the federal “Wellstone Amendment” may prohibit Jane from possessing firearms.

And it’s here that the contention slips in.

SF 2639 and HF 3238 were originally given to the DFL by Michael Bloomberg’s organization.   I’m not sure that Alice Hausman would have been arrogant enough to submit the bills in their original form,  which did not allow those accused any due proces at all, with guns required to be stored elsewhere as soon as the complaint was filed, before any hearing took place. 

Power Changes Everything - Like its namesake, the “Wellstone Amendment” is big on pronouncements and short on details.  It says those accused of a certain level of domestic abuse shouldn’t have firearms.  It leaves the details to the states.

And the original versions of the two bills, as sent from Michael Bloomberg’s organization, did terrible things with those details;  they would have invoked the Wellstone Amendment when the initial, temporary order was invoked (i.e. before any hearing), required the accused to store their guns with the police (for a “reasonable” fee that would be anything but in real life) and served as de facto gun registration.

And in a state like New York or Connecticut, with a weak or nascent gun rights movement, that’s exactly what would have passed.

But Minnesota’s Real Americans have spent the past two decades organizing one of the most potent grass roots movements in the state.  It’s a movement that has swayed entire elections in the past (the 2002 House race).  And after the humiliations the DFL suffered in 2013, they figured they weren’t going to get away with the ”loud and stupid” strategy favored by the likes of “Moms Demand Action” and the like.

So the DFL came to the gun rights movement, looking for a solution that would give them a “win” on domestic violence, but not stir up the hornet’s nest needlessly.  And the movement – GOCRA, the NRA and the like – gave them the solution.  To return to our example above, Jane will need to store any guns she owns with friends, the police, or a licensed dealer, but only after the hearing for the permanent order.  The new bill will require Jane to transact this within three days, and for the police to notify the judge two days after that.

No guns move before “due process” – a hearing, with counsel – has taken place. 

Ever. 

Let’s make sure we’re clear on what just happened – and I’m going to put this in loud blue text to make sure everyone catches it; even though the DFL controls both chambers and the governor’s office, they had to come to the Gun Rights movement to get some form of their bill passed.   And the bill got turned from Michael Bloomberg’s fascist nightmare into something that can exist in a free society. 

It wasn’t perfect.  But when you’re outnumbered two chambers to none, and have a DFL governor who will follow whatever way Big Left pulls his leash, “perfect” isn’t an option.

Everyone’s A Kamikaze With Someone Else’s Plane - When you walk into a restaurant, and see two items on the menu – peanut butter sandwich, and lard sandwich – you can try to order a Porterhouse with a baked potato.  You can order it, and order it, and order it again.  All it’ll do is give you a pissed-off waitress, and no food at all.

And that’s the strategy that some “gun rights” groups, including Iowa-based “Minnesota Gun Rights”, took.   They spent the session demanding that the pro-Second-Amendment minority impale itself on demands to completely reject the legislation – which was the “porterhouse steak” option in a restaurant full of peanut butter and lard.

Their “plan”:  pretend that fuming and spluttering and making grand pronouncements and handing the DFL a cheap chanting point for the fall would be anything other than an invitation to a catastrophe for liberty. 

This, of course, gives us not only the prospect of watching a Michael Bloomberg-penned bill get signed into law and the wholesale violations of rights that would follow, but to the Democrats going into the fall elections with reams of Alita-Messinger-paid ads saying that GOP legislators “voted to give guns to wife beaters”.  It’s a message that only the stupid would believe – but as the 2010 election showed us, there are 8,000 more stupid Minnesotans than smart ones.  And that’s all they need to maintain control of the House – giving the DFL even more time and power to jam down even worse gun laws.

And worse, in its way?  These astroturf groups engaged in “blue-on-blue” campaign that was either deeply stupid or intensely cynical, trying to brand not only the GOCRA but Tony Cornish as weak-kneed on gun rights.

Over a bill that was going to pass in some form no matter what anyone did, but which the DFL had to come to the Gun Rights movement for anyway.

Representative Cornish, writing on Facebook, gave us perhaps the best quote there is on the subject:

When the train is coming down the track, it’s admirable to stand and raise the middle finger, but…sometimes it’s better to do the damned best you can to change it’s route and avoid a much less desirable fate.

And those were the only two choices;  throw a finger at Bloomberg, get run over by the train, and have a law that would allow people’s Second Amendment rights to get run over as well – which isn’t even a symbolic victory, since it would make taking back the House that much harder – or enact a bill that basically gave a framework to federal law that protected due process.

When you get a choice between peanut butter and lard, take the peanut butter.  And this fall, find a better restaurant.  One with some cooks that know how to cook a porterhouse.

Correction

A spokesman from the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance responds to Joe Doakes’ piece this morning.

The letter from GOCRA follows, with added text bolded by me:

———-

Doakes is referring to the modifications to 518B.01 on page 4.

At 4.16, you can see the existing language:

4.16 Subd. 6. Relief by court. (a) Upon notice and hearing, the court may provide
4.17 relief as follows:

and at 6.16, in the same subdivision, here’s where the new language starts:

6.16 (g) An order granting relief shall prohibit the abusing party from possessing firearms
6.17 for the length the order is in effect if the order (1) restrains the abusing party from

Due process is preserved.

———-

In the chaos of this past few weeks, I’d missed the final version of the bill. 

It’s not perfect – but as the spokesperson says, due process is preserved.  And in a session where the only thing that separates “good” laws from “bans on magazines over seven rounds” is canny and tenacious negotiation rather than slogineering in pursuit of prinicple, it’s really the better of many possible endings.

UPDATE:  More on this story tomorrow.