Undercover

 Yesterday, Gabby Giffords came to town. 

You’d only know it from the media, naturally.  When “Everytown” scheduled Rep. Giffords’ appearance, they made a point to keep the location secret, and to only invite media that could be trusted to report the event exactly the way Michael Bloomberg was paying for it to be reported. 

GOCRA sent out a press release:

Gun control advocate Gabrielle Giffords will [met] secretly [yesterday] with politicians, inviting only the press, while excluding the public, especially any dissenting voices.

The press event was announced to news outlets only [yesterday] morning. This is a common tactic from gun control groups, which enjoy lavish funding but little popular support.

Now, I get it; Bloomberg and “Everytown” want to control the media environment around Rep. Giffords.  They want absolute control over how Giffords is presented, so that her message isn’t diluted by any inconvenient dissent.  It’s standard PR optics. 

It’s the point where optics meets reality that is always a problem for the Orcs:

“When an event is announced in advance, gun rights supporters outnumber gun controllers, 20 to one,” according to Professor Joseph E. Olson, who founded GOCRA 25 years ago. He pointed to gun control hearings in 2013 and 2014, where Second Amendment supporters in maroon shirts flooded the state capitol. “Our legislature is not for sale. Why is Gabby trying to buy it?”

Well, clearly part of  our legislature is for sale. 

GOCRA President Andrew Rothman agreed. “Gun control in Minnesota has always been driven by out-of-state interests,” he said. “For years, it was the Chicago-based Joyce Foundation that funded gun control efforts in Minnesota. More recently, New York City’s billionaire former mayor, Michael Bloomberg, has bankrolled gun control lobbyists. Follow the money.”

I’m just into my third decade of observing the irony of the fact that the Democrat party is, and has always been, about waving the bloody shirt of class warfare – and yet on the gun issue, it is they who have always been on the side of the patricians, against the unruly plebeians. 

And those plebeians must be kept out of the public eye at all costs.

The Peasants $trike Back

In 2003, and again in 2005, when Minnesota passed its “shall issue” firearm permit law, a slew of businesses “posted” themselves; they put signs on their front doors indicating they didn’t want firearms on their premises.

Two things happened – or, rather, didn’t happen:

  1. There were no crimes in public related to legal post-2003-permitted firearm carriers.  None.  Zero. 
  2. While few anti-gun-rights people made a point of shopping posted stores, pro-Second-Amendment people made a very serious point of steering clear of posted establishments.  Many of us quietly and politely engaged with owners of posted stores, telling them that while we respected their decisions, our consciences would not allow us to shop at stores that disarmed the law-abiding and thus became victimization zones. 

Most “posted” stores quietly dispensed with their signs in the year or two after the Minnesota Personal Protection Act was re-enacted in 2005.  Things stayed pretty well put, Minnesota-wise – except, of course, the number of law-abiding citizens with carry permits, which was well over 160,000 177,000 the last I checked (far eclipsing pre-2003 legislative research estimates of 50,000-90,000 permittees). 

But the Obama Administration has been eagerly working to roll back gun rights, especially in the past two years.  And with Michael Bloomberg bankrolling his efforts, there is a concerted effort to turn law-abiding gun owners into the New Lepers – to try to re-stigmatize gun owners, the way the media were able to do in the 1960′s and 1970s. 

All are, of course, attacking the problem of violent crime by going after those who dont’, won’t, and never have committed any (and by their existence indeed deter it) – but no matter.  It’s not about crime – if it were, Washington DC and Chicago would be crime-free paradises. 

But if you read this blog, you’re probably smarter than that.

Unfortunately, a lot of uninformed and incurious people vote.  And Michael Bloomberg’s money is aimed largely at them.  And so the re-stigmatization effort is in full swing.  We’ve seen this with a small but vocal number of stores dusting off their posting signs – and, this summer, with the Minnesota State Fair posting its “no guns” signs, very possibly illegally.

It’s time for Real Americans – the ones that believe in all ten Amendments in the Bill of Rights – to come forward again and put their money where their mouths are.  Or perhaps to be more accurate, to not put their money where their mouths aren’t. 

It’s time to stop spending money at places that are posted. 

20140904-115701-43021574.jpg

So take note, local merchants; if you’re posted, I won’t spend a dime at your establishment.  If I see you or your ownership siding with the anti-gunners in the media, I’ll also cut you off, and do my best to keep you cut off until you recognize the civil rights of law-abiding Americans.   

That includes you, Minnesota State Fair.  While I broadcast from the Fair annually, and am happy to do it, I will no longer patronize any vendors at the Fair as long as the Fairgrounds are posted.

As much as it pains me to think of ten days of broadcasting at the Fair without Sausages by Cynthia’s Italian Dog, or a London Broil, or the Swiss Crepe from the Crepe stand, or a beer at O’Gara’s on a hot day, I’m not going to spend another dime at any Fair vendor, until the State Fair tears down the “Only Criminals May Be Armed!” signs. 

Be advised, Twin Cities merchants.  You have your rights to run your business any way you want.  But you’re not going far without customers. 

Can you afford to piss off 120,000 of us?   Especially since we’re the ones that tip, clean up after ourselves, and pass word of mouth along?

UPDATE:  I do need to credit the “No Guns = No Money” Facebook page for the image, and the whole “getting a movement rolling” thing.   Check out the page, and support them and, most importantly, the goal.

ABM: Wrong About Minnesota

I haven’t had the time to do as much in the way of digging into the DFL ad machine this cycle as in some past cycles.  It’s been a crazy summer.

Fortunately, Bill Glahn is on patrol

Glahn takes apart one of the latest flight of anti-Johnson ads from the Alliance for a Better Minnesota – the attack PR firm funded by liberal plutocrats that has run toxic sleaze campaigns against every Republican to run for office in Minnesota in the past eight years or so. 

ABM’s ads have been punctilious about punching up the phrase “Tea Party” in their ads, especially about Johnson, this cycle – even though Johnson is not especially identified with the Tea Party.  Glahn reaches one of the same observations I do:

Apparently the pejorative “Tea Party Republican” must test particularly well with low information voters. Or, perhaps its use in the ad is a sign the Democrats are concerned about turning out their base in an off-year election.

The Democrats have spent millions this past five years, trying to turn “Tea Party” into a pejorative.  If you go by what you hear in the media, it’s worked. If you go by election and polling results in red and reddish-purple states, it hasn’t.   Minnesota?  Well, the 2010 gubernatorial election showed Minnesota has 8,000 more low-information voters (along with Duplicate-Americans, Fictional-Americans and Deceased-Americans) than smart ones.  It might be a winning strategy. 

It might also show that that’s the best they can do; sputtering “Tea Partier” may be the “lowest blow” they think they can come up with. 

Anyway – the ad.  Like everything ABM puts out, it’s got an assortment of outright lies, and factoids stretched so far out of context as to be devoid of truth: 

Ms. Livermore [a "classroom teacher"] makes the dubious claim that Johnson “cut education by over $500 million” back in 2003, and then gave that money to corporations in 2005. Keep in mind that a similar ABM ad was judged “Misleading” by Minnesota Public Radio (of all places) for making those exact same claims. [The bill Johnson voted for in 2003 actually increased (rather than cut) public school spending.]

As always with ABM, though, there’s a level of stuff they don’t tell the voter (emphasis added):

No, the real lie in the ad comes from the “appeal to authority” of having an ordinary “classroom teacher” attack Johnson’s education policy. According to her LinkedIn profile, Ms. Livermore served on the governing board of the teachers’ union Education Minnesota from 2004 to 2007. [By the way, she spells the word “education” incorrectly on her profile.]

Although her service to the state teachers’ union may have given her some familiarity with decade-ago state legislation, it doesn’t exactly qualify her as a garden-variety “classroom teacher.” “Former union official attacks Republican,” just doesn’t have the same ring. Funny thing, the viewer is never informed of Livermore’s connection to the union, who happens to be the largest donor to Democrat campaigns in the state.  

And to be fair to ABM, why should the viewer be informed of this?  The campaign isn’t about informing voters.  It’s about framing the opposition, just like Saul Alinksky taught them to.

When Seconds Count

When Michael Bloomberg (and all of that money of his) entered the anti-gun market, some of us worried that all of those Jacksons would bring a new air of professionalism to the anti-human-rights movement. 

And in some ways it has.

But in others?

Just saying – this video by “Everytown for Grabbing Guns” pretty much underscores exactly the points we shooters have been making all along:

When seconds count, the police are minutes away. 

If the improbably cute mom had had the means to deal with the inevitably evil ex, the police would just need to clean up the mess.

My Apologies To Heather Martens

To: Heather Martens
From: Mitch Berg, Your Longtime Nemesis
Re:  Apology

Ms. Martens,

For most of the past decade and change, I’ve been running down your accuracy, your knowledge of Second Amendment issues, and the extent to which you confused “purchased lobbying power” with “fact”.  Whenever you’ve opened your mouth about anything gun-related, I’ve snickered, comparing  your command of logic and fact with, say, Jessica Simpson or Jeanne Kasem.

But Rolling Stone’s Krystyn Gwynne has certainly qualified for a job on “Protect MN”‘s executive committee. 

That is all.

ABM Flies Above That Circling Fin

SCENE:  In the office of “Governor” Mark Dayton, at the Minnesota State Capital.  Carrie LUCKING, Executive Director of “Alliance For A Better Minnesota”, is sitting at a large, mahogany desk.  She is leaning back, feet up on the desk, looking idly upward at the paintings and carvings that decorate the ornate office in the classical romanesque structure. 

Across from her is a larger, more ornate mahogany desk.  The nameplate says “Alida Messinger”; it shows signs of being only intermittently occupied. 

A knock is heard on a door leading to a small closet (off right).  LUCKING barely stirs. 

LUCKING:  What?

GOVERNOR MARK DAYTON (dimly heard through door):  Can I go to the bathroom?

LUCKING:  Go.

(DAYTON opens closet door, walked quickly, shoulders hunched through the door to the left, as Hannah UNDERLING, a staff assistant, walks in)

UNDERLING:  Er, Miss Lucking?  House Minority Leader Daudt is calling for hearings on MNSure.

LUCKING:  Put out a press release calling him “extreme”.

(UNDERLING makes a note). 

That’ll be all. 

(UNDERLING leaves). 

(Time passes.  LUCKING indolently pecks a message into her cell phone, until T. Giles HUMID, a highly trained puppeteer and member of the Governor’s staff, enters the room).

HUMID:  Er, Carrie…

(LUCKING clears her throat)

HUMID:  …er, Miss Lucking?  A group of of Saint Paul school parents are demanding better results from the public schools for their children.

LUCKING (staring idly at the ceiling, twisting her hair):  Put out a call to Keri Miller saying they’re…extreme. 

(HUMID takes a  note, leaves the room).

(There is a knock on the door).

LUCKING:  What?

GOVERNOR DAYTON (voice muffled outside the door):  Can I come in?

LUCKING (Bored):  Yes. 

(DAYTON walks past, stops at LUCKING’s desk)

DAYTON:  Say, uh…

LUCKING:  I’m busy.

DAYTON:  Ok.  (He walks through the closet door again)

(LUCKING, bored, starts folding an origami swan.  It quickly starts resembling a badly-formed paper airplane.  She wads it up and throws it in a trash can that is overflowing with wadded-up pieces of paper)

(Tina FLINT-SMITH, the Governor’s chief of staff and Lieutenant-Governor candidate, enters the room)

FLINT-SMITH:  Carrie, I’m going to be out at a town hall meeting in Cambridge, and I need a term to use to refer to the GOP’s criticism of our budget.

LUCKING:  I’d run with “extreme”.

FLINT-SMITH:  Um…OK.  Do we use that a lot?

LUCKING:  No.

FLINT-SMITH:  Um…OK.  (Leaves the room). 

(More idle time).

(Finally, UNDERLING enters).

UNDERLING:  Ms. Lucking, I got a request from some DFLers from Greater Minnesota.  They need some talking points during upcoming debates.

LUCKING (sounding bored):  DFLers from where?

UNDERLING:  Um, Greater Minnesota?  (LUCKING stares, not compreheding.)  The part outside the Twin Cities Metro.

LUCKING:  Huh.

UNDERLING:  They want to know – what do we call Sheila Kihne?

LUCKING:  Er…hm.  Let me think.  I’d say “too extreme!”

UNDERLING: OK.  How about Jennifer Loon?  The rep whom Kihne is primarying? 

LUCKING:  I think we should call her…too extreme!

UNDERLING (sotto voce while writing): …too extreme.  OK – how about Dave Senjem, from Rochester, the leader of the “moderate” faction of the GOP in the House?

LUCKING (absent-mindedly twirling a piece of thread):  Oh, he’s “too extreme”. 

UNDERLING:  Hmm.  OK.  How about Julie Rosen?   Republicans are constantly complaining she’s too moderate.  What is the message about here?

LUCKING (staring into space):  Too extreme. 

UNDERLING:  And how about Tom Bakk.

LUCKING (visibly bored):  Too extreme. 

UNDERLING:  But he’s actually the DFL’s Senate Majority Leader.

LUCKING:  Oh.

(Ryan WINKLER walks in)

WINKLER: Hey, I was talking with Colin Peterson. He’s getting a run for his money from Torrey Westrom. How’s about we call him “shortsighted”?

UNDERLING: Really?

WINKLER: What?  You’re gonna say that’s racist, too? 

UNDERLING:  You don’t know…?

WINKLER:  What?  He’s a black lawyer, too? 

UNDERLING:  He’s blind. 

WINKLER:  I don’t get it. 

LUCKING:  He’s too extreme.

UNDERLING:  Right…

LUCKING:  But we must counter him as well.  (Turns toward DAYTON’s closet)  Hey!   Find some Ray Charles glasses and a long white cane!

(Silence from behind DAYTON’s door)

LUCKING:  HEY!

DAYTON:  Ok. 

(And SCENE)

On The One Hand…

…if I did have a gun and a carry permit, I’d never carry openly.  Part of it is that is that it’s the sort of thing you want to keep under wraps if you ever need it.

Part of it is that the anti-gun movement has trained the weak-minded to be such incredible ninnies.

And part of it is that it is, to some people, a scary imposition.  And while I disagree with them, there’s no point in picking fights I don’t need to.

Indeed, there is a definite point to meeting people halfway in terms of perceptions.  When the group that eventually became GOCRA got organized almost twenty years ago, one of its ironclad rules was “No Camo”; nobody was to wear camouflage to any of the group’s events.  The point?  Help people see that shooters were like them, not like their stereotypes. 

So while I understand and respect the opinions of many of my open-carry activist friends – “a right un-used is a right easily abridged” - I’ll demur on carrying openly, since while there are as many good reasons to carry openly as there are to wear camouflage, there are exactly the same reasons not to. 

Don’t get me wrong; I disagree with Chipotle’s decision to ask shooters not to bring guns into its stores.  They’ve got a lot of customers to keep happy, and the bobbleheads who decided to use a Chipotle to stage their pro-open-carry protests ruffled some feathers. 

The Denver-based company notes that it has traditionally complied with local laws regarding open and concealed firearms.

But in a statement Monday, the company said that “the display of firearms in our restaurants has now created an environment that is potentially intimidating or uncomfortable for many of our customers.”

 Of course, it’s not really about complaints from real people.  There are professional ninnies involved:

The announcement came after a petition by Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, which has called on other companies to ban firearms in their stores as well.

 Of course, there are two dumb calls here; the “protesters” picked a fight they really didn’t need to – and Chipotle caved in to an astroturf group’s toothless yapping. 

That said?  I’m not boycotting Chipotle, for the same reason as David Harsanyi:

As a 2nd Amendment fan, I believe Chipotle is making a mistake. Yet, it isn’t exactly undermining our Constitutional rights by asking consumers to keep their guns out of their businesses. (Please read Charles Cooke’s dismantling of the perpetually confused Sally Kohn’s attempt to conflate two very distinct ideas.) Though Chipotle acted for the wrong reasons, it has every right to create an experience for its consumers that it finds safe and inviting.

Fact is, if the CEO of Qdoba’s was a libertarian plutocrat who supported all my favorite organizations, I’d still choose Chipotle because when it comes to food I owe more to a good product than a philosophically sound owner. Chipotle was founded on an exemplary idea and its execution and consistency have won my business — even when I disagree with its choices.

And here’s the key distinction, with emphasis added:

Now, if this company was forking over millions to some finger-wagging Michael Bloomberg-funded gaggle of authoritarians I’d would probably have to reconsider. But, as far as I know, that’s not the case.

 That’s the line, right there.

I didn’t patronize Minnesota businesses that posted “No Firearms” signs in the wake of the Shall Issue law passing in 2003.  Neither did so many others that the vast majority of those signs have disappeared. 

And I personally didn’t patronize Hewlett-Packard, Pepsi, Pizza Hut, KFC or Taco Bell when they donated big bucks to the Brady Campaign.  Either did hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of others – which is why those donations have evaporated.  Working to show up Moms Want Action’s! message as the vapid lies they are, and destroy their credibility with thinking people?  Goes without saying. 

But asking people to keep their guns out of plain sight in deference to the customers who may be hoplophobic ninnies, but whose money hits Chipotle’s bottom line with the same satisfying “ching” yours does? 

I’m not thrilled, but I get it.

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.

The Puppet Caucus

Say what you will about Minnesota’s gun-control movement – and I certainly have over the past 12 years on this blog – it’s always been local.  Even “Grass Roots”, even if only in the sense that “there just isn’t that much grass out there”. 

And the movement’s leadership was at least local; while Rep. Heather Martens (DFL, 66A) has never, not once, made a significant factual assertion about the Second Amendment, gun rights or the law-abiding gun owner; Jane Kay is a frothing bigot; Joan Peterson is just insane.  Together, they created a legacy of PR incompetence, in conjunction with a local media which, once bought-off by the Joyce Foundation, spent the better part of a year giving Martens, Kay and Peterson a rhetorical tongue-bath – or just making things up to fit the narrative. 

But it was local.

But now, the local gun control “movement” seems to be entirely run from Michael Bloomberg’s offices.  The face of Minnesota’s anti-civil-rights movement has morphed from the doddering, morally-incontinent visages of Martens, Kay and Peterson to those of a crew of highly-paid lobbyists who’ve never been publicly associated with gun control, but do know how to spend Bloomberg money. 

Which is ironic, since the last has spent the past two years demonizing conservative groups like ALEC for “copying and pasting” bills and being “under the control of lobbyists”. 

Of course, the entire war on ALEC was a case of applied Berg’s Seventh Law; when lefties complain about a conservative behavior, they’re deflecting from the same or worse on their part.  

Minnesota’s anti-civil-rights “movement”, anæmic as it has always been, has evolved from incompetent low-grade astroturf to pure, out-of-state funded carpetbagging colonial status. 

You’ve come a long way, baby.

Imagine

The worst enemy that fabian statism has is generalized prosperity.

It’s always been a theory – ’til now.

The North Dakota Democrat Party can muster not a single Democrat to run for office anywhere in Bakken country, according to Rob Port:

Democrats have managed to recruit exactly zero candidates in legislative districts representing the state’s oil patch with all local district conventions completed and less than two weeks to go before their statewide convention…If we count the urban districts in Minot and Bismarck as being “oil patch” districts, we add five more: Districts 3, 5, 7, 47 and 35. Of those, all have a full slate of Republican candidates, and just one has Democrat candidates.

And the North Dakota Democrat Party is fielding candidates for only about 1/3 of the state’s legislative races overall, almost exclusively in the eastern part of the state:

That speaks volumes, doesn’t it? Democrats will talk a lot about oil and energy policy this year, but the lack of Democrat candidates in the oil patch tells us their arguments aren’t getting much traction where that policy has the most impact.

What a glorious time to be alive.

Before The Door Swings Shut

Michael Bloomberg and the Victim Disarmament movement are going to make as much hay as they can on the issue this year…

…because  their highest profile group is fading away as we speak:

 As it has broadened its attacks on lawmakers and Second Amendment groups like the National Rifle Association, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s aggressive “Mayors Against Illegal Guns” group has experienced a sharp 15-percent drop in mayor-members.

According to a new count, the group’s membership has gone from a high of 1,046 following the shootings at Newtown, Conn.’s Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012 to a low today of 885.

That’s a fast drop of 161 members.

Watching what happened in Colorado and, yes, Minnesota has given a lot of mayors a reality check; support for Victim Disarmament is a half a mile wide and two inches deep.  The Second Amendment movement is half a mile wide and 200 feet deep and has a current that’ll pull stumps. 

Although some of the mayors are attributing it to Bloomberg’s greedy scope creep:

As they’ve left MAIG, many of the mayors have publicly assailed Bloomberg’s group, suggesting that it has gone from a group targeting “illegal” guns to one simply against guns.

The “original mission swayed,” said Rockford, Ill., Mayor Larry Morrissey as he exited. He even explained that he planned to get a concealed carry permit because his family has been threatened.

Just this week, Poughkeepsie Mayor John Tkazyik bailed. He wrote a letter about in the Poughkeepsie Journal. “I’m no longer a member of MAIG. Why? Just as Ronald Reagan said of the Democratic Party, it left me. And I’m not alone: Nearly 50 pro-Second Amendment mayors have left the organization. They left for the same reason I did. MAIG became a vehicle for Bloomberg to promote his personal gun-control agenda — violating the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens and taking resources away from initiatives that could actually work to protect our neighborhoods and save precious lives. Gun control will actually make a bad situation worse.”

Bloomberg’s offensive this year is going to be like the final banzai charge at Iwo Jima; furious, and deadly, but a dying gasp.

At least for this cycle.   

(By the way, all you Victim Disarmament activists?  We’re all against illegal guns.  Unlike Bloomberg, we Real Americans actually have done something about keeping them out of the hands of illegal people).

Chanting Points Memo: Will Susan Perry Ever Stop Treating Readers Like Junior High Kids?

There must be a legislative session coming up; the MinnPost – a local group-blog funded by liberals with deep pockets employing a rogue’s gallery of recycled local big-media people – is back on the gun beat.

Last week, Susan Perry – their “consumer health reporter”, whose sloppy reporting on this subject we’ve repeatedly, even routinely, beaten up in this space – wrote a fluff piece about a metastudy (a repackaging of the data in other studies) appearing in the Annals of Internal Medicine that shows that having a gun in the home doubles chance of a murder, and triples the chance of suicide.

And it reminded me of an episode from twenty years ago.

Let’s flash back, shall we?

The Gullible, Biased Hack Beat:  Back in the early nineties, the anti-gun media (which was most of them, back then) breathlessly recited a factoid; a study in the New England Journal of Medicine had showed, we were told, that a gun in the home was 43 times as likely to kill the owner, or someone the owner knew, than it was to kill a criminal.

The media reported this uncritically, without question, much less the faintest pretense of analysis of the data that led to that very specific number.

Of course, some Real Americans in the Second Amendment movement did dig into the study, back when “the internet” was still “Usenet” for most people.

They found that the data came from King County, Washington, during a period of several years in the late eighties.  And the “43:1″ ratio actually broke out, over the period of time, to nine justifiable deaths of criminals that the shooter didn’t know, against something like 380-odd other firearms deaths.

And of those 380-odd firearm deaths, the vast majority were suicides – enough to account for 36-37 of the “43″.  Of the remaining 6 from the “43″ – 50-odd firearms deaths – there were a few accidents; the rest were murders or manslaughters of one kind or another.  And note that it only counted the presence of a gun in the home, not whether it was used; if someone broke into your home and shot you as you were peeling potatoes at your kitchen counter, but there was a gun in the house, it went into the “43″.

Suicide is obviously a problem – but it doesn’t depend on firearms.  Japan, where guns are unobtainable, has double the US’ suicide rate.   But leaving out suicides, the rate dropped to more like six to one.

But there were other clinkers in the way the “43:1″, or even the 6:1, figures were generated, and related to the public by a media that, at best, didn’t know what it was talking about and, at worst, didn’t care.

Walt White Knew Jack Welker!:  The phrase “gun owner or someone they know” was the first problem.

Someone who shoots himself, obviously, is “killing themselves or someone they know”.  But then so is a drug dealer shooting a rival, or a customer that owes them money, is “killing someone they know”, as is a gang-banger shooting a long-time rival So is a woman shooting an ex-husband that’s been stalking and threatening her.  So is someone killing a robber that they had met, even once, ever.

The NEJM study didn’t distinguish between those types of killings.  The “1″ in the “43:1″ ratio only included justifiable homicides where the shooter had never met the victim.

Why So Bloodthirsty?:  Did you notice that the only “good” results in the New England Journal study – the “1″ in “43:1″ – were the nine justifiable killings of complete strangers?

Leaving aside the likelihood (indeed, fact) that some of the homicides of acquaintances were justifiable – why is a justifiable killing of a complete, malevolent stranger the only legitimate use of a firearm?

The study didn’t account for deterrences of other crimes.  A gun used to scare away a burglar or a stalker doesn’t have to kill anyone to have a beneficial effect – deterring a felony without a shot being fired.

The Real Results?:  So when you take the numbers from the “43:1″ ratio, and then…:

  • factor out suicides (which are a problem, and were the vast majority of the deaths in the study, but are entirely different than crimes committed with malice against others)
  • move the justifiable homicides of “acquaintances” – ex-spouses and the like – into the “good” column”
  • Account for the “bad” shootings that involved someone who was drunk or high, or had a criminal record
  • Add in estimates of the number of crimes that would have been deterred by law-abiding citizens with guns in the same area during the same period

…then the original New England Journal of Medicine study’s numbers came out more like this:

  • A gun in a home in which one or more residents had a criminal record, drinking or drug problem was equally likely to be involved in a murder or unjustified killing as it was to deter a crime.
  • A gun in a home without any of those problems was dozens or hundreds of times as likely to deter a crime (depending on the estimate of deterrences you accepted – from the conservative FBI estimate to the much more expansive estimate by Gary Kleck, which by the way tracks pretty well with the Centers for Disease Control’s recent work on the subject) as to be involved in an unjustifiable homicide.  That’s dozens at least, hundreds at most

So How About Sue Perry’s Article?:  A quick scan of the metastudy in Annals shows that it (or, more proximately, the studies it mines for data) does not, in fact, control for…:

  • drug abuse
  • Alcohol abuse
  • criminal records

…among the subjects in the “study”.

Like the reporting on the NEJM study twenty-odd years ago, it considers firearms in a vacuum, without accounting for any of the human factors – criminal activity of the owner, sustance abuse issues, or mental illness.

Neither does it distinguish between justifiable homicide – which accounts for 2-3% of all firearms deaths in America in a given year – and murder, manslaughter or accidental deaths. 

It’s junk science…

…well, no.  It’s junk social science, which is the worst kind.

Susan Perry is doing junk reporting of junk non-science, to report a meaningless, junk conclusion. 

Why?

Remember:  The MinnPost operates with the assistance of a large annual grant from the Joyce Foundation.

Follow the money. Journos do it – when it’s not Alida Messinger or Michael Bloomberg’s money, anyway.

The Joyce Foundation also funds…

  •  ”ProtectMN”, the closest Minnesota gets to an actual gun control “organization”,
  • “TakeActionMN”, which essentially serves as an unregulated “progressive” political party whose mission is to drive the DFL to the left.  It may be the most successful political party in Minnesota today – precisely because the laws that apply to the GOP and (to some extent) DFL don’t apply to it. 

 

All “journalism” about guns – and politics and general – from the MinnPost must be considered with that in mind.

So why would the MinnPost publish a continuous chain of stories about Second Amendment issues that range from bad science to bad history to bad scholarship to really, really bad reporting

Because, I suggest, it’s what they’re being paid to do.   

There was a time when “journalists” would have recoiled at any suggestion that their coverage was bought and paid for to secure some special interest’s narrative. 

Those days are long past us – to everyone who pays attention.

The Left’s Koch Habit

I was about to write “if the Koch Brothers – eeeeevil shadowy right-wing financiers – didn’t exist, the left would have to invent them”…

…but in fact h they did.

This – and last year’s fixation with the American Legislative Exchange Commission (ALEC), a small lobbying group no different than a raft of identical left-leaning groups – may be the most dramatic manifestation of Berg’s Seventh Law ever.

Divide And Conquer

For years, I’ve been pointing out potemkin gun-grab groups – “Sportsmen for Gun Control” and the like.

As Michelle Malkin notes, this is part of a larger strategy of t creating and/or funding “moderate” groups trying to create an impression of “moderate” “grass-roots” groundswell

Of course we’ve seen this in Minnesota; in addition to the phony “sportsmens’” groups (not to mention buying instant media), the entire Tom Horner campaign was floated (or, more accurately, funded) by the left to try to sap votes from Tom Emmer. 

Lesson:  Check every “group’s” pedigree.  Odds are they’ll turn out no more substantial than, say, “Protect” MN

Horner

IP

Lipstick On A Pig

The gun grab movement in Minnesota is going to try to be a liiiiiiiittle bit more subtle this year.

Look for more carefully-bearded ELCA ministers, and less Jane Kay.  Less magazine size, more “responsibility” and “safety”.

With that in mind, “Protect” MN – the astroturf gun group run by Representative Heather The Legislatin’ Lobbyist!” Martens and supported by Joyce Foundation money – is apparently trying a subtle rebrand:

Click for full-sized image. (C) 2014, Liberals With Deep Pockets

It used to just say “Minnesota Gun Violence Prevention”.

They’re trying to be less threatening, I guess…

Scott Gillespie And The Catechism Of Uselessness

Scott Gillespie of the Strib editorialized about the one-year anniversary of Sandy Hook.

At least he ended the piece constructively:

Those 26 faces will stay frozen, though. The children and their teachers, lost forever except in photos and home video. At least — if you believe it will help — say another prayer for them and their families. If we offer nothing else, at least say a prayer.

Other than that?  Gillespie foreshadows what will, I suspect, be the anti-rights movement’s two big hooks in Minnesota this year; guilt, and the vague need to “do something”, even if the “something” is completely useless at preventing actual crime, with both of them always, always, wrapped in the memory of people who would not have been saved by anything that they’re proposing.

But practical responses aren’t the issue, here.  This is about emotions:

You see those faces frozen in time on your TV screen now. They are angels, every one of them. You would like to look away, turn the channel and move on. Our Congress did, and most of our state legislatures. One year later, little has changed.

It’s not the Sandy Hook kids’ faults the were all white and upper-middle-class, and that the media focused on them and not the many, many more children slaughtered in ones and twos in Barack Obama’s Chicago – who are almost entirely black.  But it is Scott Gillespie’s fault that he ignores, or doesn’t know, that not a single law proposed in any state legislature, or in Congress, would have prevented Sandy Hook – but that the City of Chicago has “done something”, a near complete civilian gun ban, that is closely correlated with a skyrocketing murder rate in Chicago.

But those kids are black, and in a Democrat stronghold.  As always, they go unmentioned.

The emotions that Gillespie – and the anti-rights movement whose water he’s carrying – aren’t just about sympathy.  No, there’s gotta be ninety seconds of hate: 

Wayne LaPierre is on the screen now. You can hear the anger in his voice. If he feels any pain, any regret, he hides it. The perfect man for the job. Raise more money and spread more lies. Intimidate. Bully. Threaten. Win at all costs, from coast to coast. Not undefeated, but close.

Scott Gillespie, I hereby challenge you; where was LaPierre wrong?  What are the “lies?”  Let’s talk about that.  Preferably face to face, but I’ll do email.  Let’s hash this out.

No, it’s not that LaPierre lied; he didn’t, and doesn’t have to.  He was right.  His opponents were wrong.  And they – in this case Gillespie, but it could be any lefty columnist – are attacking LaPierre with the dim ad-homina and the scurrilous accusation – the “lies” – because it’s all they have, and a boogeyman, a Goldstein, is what they need.

And then there’s the murderer. We should ignore him and his story, right? Make him as abstract as possible because it’s too hard to answer the why question without that research. There are more like him, but how could we possibly know how to find or stop them? So we move on, trying not to say his name.

Now Gillespie is just making things up.   This is where LaPierre – and all of us on the human rights side of this battle – have been focusing; Adam Lanza.  The current system worked, in that it denied him a gun.  He killed his mother – already illegal in fifty states – to steal her legally-purchased firearms to use in the rampage.

And it’s on the crazies, like him, James Holmes, Harris and Klebold, Seung-Hui Cho and the like, that Wayne LaPierre – and, incidentally, all of the rest of us on the human rights side of the argument – are focused.

And not a one of them would have been affected by any of the laws that were passed in places like Colorado, New York, Pennsylvania or California.

So when Gillespie plaintively asks…:

The anniversary show is over now. Will there be another one next year, or the year after that? Why wallow, right? We are Americans. We press on. We buck up and never look back. Like LaPierre.

…the answer is “maybe, but nothing you’re proposing would change a thing”.

But Gillespie is part of a wave of mainstream media that are working to pave the way for the anti-gun movement’s next big campaign in Minnesota.

More – much more – in coming days and weeks.

Gun Control In Minnesota: The Next Useless Wave

In 2013, the grassroots of the Minnesota human rights movement – pro-Second-Amendment groups like GOCRA, the Twin Cities Gun Owners and other genuine grass-roots organizations – dealt the gun-grabbers a humiliating defeat.  Even though the anti-rights groups were lavishly funded, were supported by a purchased media narrative, and controlled the entire apparatus of Minnesota government, they were unable to jam down any of their useless legislation.

Zero.

It was an epic victory of an army of Davids over a phalanx of obese, arrogant Goliaths.

But 2014 is a whole new year.

Since the last session, the anti-gun movement has made some roster changes.  In place of last year’s leadership – “Protect” MN’s credibility-free Rep. Heather Martens, Moms Want Action’s shrill, self-caricaturing Jane Kay, and the hysterical, deranged Joan Peterson, a flood of Joyce Foundation and Bloomberg money has enabled the anti-rights movement (in this case, “Mayors Against Illegal Guns”) to hire Richard Carlbom, the architect of the campaign to torpedo the Marriage Amendment, and then to pass Gay Marriage in Minnesota.

And this is going to change the game here in Minnesota.

Unlike the Minnesota gun grab movement’s previous leadership, Carlbom is a smooth, polished PR fixer with great talent at running a nuanced, effective campaign – and he’s already got one improbable win against (at face value) longish odds under his belt.

As a result, this is going to be a different campaign, unlike any that Minnesota’s Second Amendment movement has ever faced.

My hunch?  Carlbom will replace Kay/Martens/Peterson’s club-footed yapping, and Michael Paymar’s wide-front legislative bludgeoning, with a more subtle attack:

  • Emotional cruise missiles replace carpet-bombing:  the anti-rights movement has long bludgeoned their audiences with a ham-fisted appeal to emotion.  To be fair, it’s their only argument; to be honest, they haven’t done it well.  Carlbom won the gay marriage debate in part by personalizing the gay marriage issue – showing that gay couples were Just Like The Rest Of Us.  I think you can expect the emotional assault to be much more focused and personalized than in the past; fewer “schoolrooms full of children”; more “let’s talk with this mom, whose son was…[fill in tragic shooting].  Expect those attacks to be far harder to undercut – Carlbom is less likely to focus on the story of a “child” who turned out to be a gang thug than were the hapless Martens or Kay.
  • The friendly face of “reasonable” authority:  The anti-gun movement lost a lot of credibility points by using as its public face the scolding, unctuous, unfluent Martens, the hectoring and red-faced Kay, and irrational Peterson.  Expect those faces to be replaced by Minnesota’s very definition of “reasonable”; lots of Lutheran ministers (ELCA, natch), with their Saint Olaf-bred diction and their carefully-trimmed beards, and liberal-but-not-too-liberal, Jewish-but-not-too-jewish rabbis, carefully and calmly asking for “common sense” measures to “prevent violence” and “promote safety”, and lots of other carefully-focused terms calibrated not to alarm tens of thousands of phone calls and thousands of protesters.
  • Trying to build the “reasonable” brand:  Expect less (overt) talk about attacking puffy-faced white suburban caricatures, and more about how “gun safety” and “violence prevention” appeals to our better natures; the things that make us human, and Minnesotan.   This campaign has, in fact, already begun, with Strib columns by Lori Sturdevant and Scott Gillespie (see this space tomorrow morning) that stake out this emotional, intellectual space (in a campaign that just can’t be coordinated, and I’m sure is just a fluke that won’t, no, won’t get re-iterated in turn by every other Minnesota mainstream media outlet, nosireebob).

It’ll be a campaign calculated not to alarm, and to appeal on at least a shallow level to the conceit most Minnesotans have that we’re a thoughtful, deliberate people, not given to unseemly rash emotionality and open to “reason”.

Underneath and obscured by it all, of course, will be the facts; that none of the measures they’re proposing will affect actual violence in any way.  Nor are they intended to.

But it’ll be done in a way intended to gently gull the gullible, and lull at least a part of the crowd that rose up to repudiate Representatives Paymar, Hausman and Martens in the last session.

So it’s almost time for a new session – one that may be the most dangerous yet for Minnesota’s Real Americans.

Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.

CORRECTION:  This past session was 2013, wasn’t it?

Gun Control PR Fail

One of the tiny network of astroturf gun-grabber groups that’ve been trying to gut the Second Amendment in Minnesota is “Moms Demand Action”.   They are run by the rather overwrought-sounding Jane Kay.

So far, their main contribution to the anti-human-rights effort has been to make Heather Martens and “Protect” MN sound almost reasonable.  Oh, yeah – and generate Twitter spam for legislators.

Now, the Joyce Foundation has been spending big liberal-plutocrat bucks trying to get Minnesotans (outside of white, upper-middle-class Carlton grads in Crocus Hill and Kenwood) to take them seriously.

And so apparently they have a new PR angle – something to put a jaunty face on what had to be as humiliating a year for Moms Want Action as for all the rest of Minnesota’s anti-rights crowd.

Anyway – new branding!  They rolled it out last week!  Here it is!

From Rob D of GOCRA on Facebook:

When your group name already sounds like an x:rated website, circulating an image of a woman disrobing could be considered a marketing fail.

Right?  Like, do you need a credit card to use their website?

I worry sometimes that the anti-rights movement is floating people like Jane Kay and Heather Martens and groups like Moms Want Action! to lull pro-civil-rights Real Americans into a false sense of intellectual, rhetorical and political superiority.

Whether by design or not, I gotta admit – it’s working.

The Many Lies of “Protect” MN, Part XXIV: “No Precedent!”

I almost missed this one in the scrum of this past few weeks.

A couple of weeks ago, when Representatives Paymar and Martens tried to jam down a ban on law-abiding citizens carrying their legally-permitted firearms in the Capitol complex, the Strib’s Abby Simons wrote the paper’s follow-up piece.

It ended with a quote from Representative Martens; like most of Martens’ statements, it reeks of crap from rhetorical stem to stern.  But I’ll emphasize the part I want to focus on today:

Heather Martens, executive director [Ha ha ha! - Ed.] of Protect Minnesota, an organization geared toward ending gun violence [Ha ha ha! - Ed.] and an advocate for the ban, said the intimidation happens when a loaded firearm is worn openly, as it was earlier this year during a hearing.

There is no history of someone like that being a meaningful deterrent or being able to stop an attack,” she said.

If you read this blog,  you are smarter than that. 

John Lott showed how “someone like that” – multiplied by millions – have deterred hundreds of thousands of crimes in shall-issue states, as compared with discretionary or non-issue states (back when there were more of both). 

As to stopping those attacks?  Well, we’ve been through this before.  Here’s a partial list of attacks stopped by law-abiding, non-police, private citizens with legal firearms:

If Heather Martens – or any of her supporters and employees – are talking, the rule of thumb is “assume they’re lying”.  Because they are.

The Potemkin Law

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

House extended ban on all-plastic guns for another 10 years.  Meaningless gesture.  Nobody gets shot with them, banning them won’t stop people from making them any more than banning cocaine stops people from using it.  Posturing to divert attention from real government failures in every other area.

My grandson has a plastic gun.  He carries it in a holster on his cowboy belt when he rides his hobby horse.  I wonder if Rep. Paymar is intimidated by that, too?

Joe Doakes

Heather Martens will no doubt make them a priority in the next session.

To prevent them from “intimidating” other kids.

You think I’m joking.  But if I’ve learned anything living in a city full of liberals with no fear of being held accountable, today’s sardonic jokes are tomorrow’s laws.

Or yesterday’s laws, in some cases.

From A Planet With Several Moons

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Heather Martins talking.  Lying.  Same thing.

“There is no history of someone like that being a meaningful deterrent or being able to stop an attack,” she said.  Seriously?

Someone should inform Abby Simons, the Star Tribune journalist who wrote the article, of some facts about permitted carry holders stopping crime, just for the variety of citing actual truth for a change.

It strikes me:  Rep. Paymar says the presence of armed citizens in the legislative chamber intimidates legislators.  Pistols carried openly are intimidating. Really?  All of them?  How about when cops testify while in uniform, openly carrying their firearms, is that intimidating?  If so, then you should disarm everybody in the hearing room, which you’re not going to do because there’d be nobody to provide protection.

If openly carried pistols don’t intimidate you on a policeman’s belt, why not?  Cops shoot far more innocent people every year than permitted carry holders.  Why are pistols carried openly on cops’ belts not intimidating?  Because you trust cops implicitly but not citizens?  Why is that . . . and what does it say about your attitude toward the people you’re supposed to be representing?

Joe Doakes

If intellectual honesty and logical consistency were gasoline, Heather Martens couldn’t drive around the inside of a Cheerio.

The Many Lies (And Incoherencies) Of “Protect” MN, Part XXII: And Now They’re Coming For The First Amendment, Too!

If you go to the little email widget that “Protect” Minnesota uses to try to spam legislators, you’ll see this text pre-filled.  I’ll highlight the money quote:

Minnesota is one of only a few states that allows private firearms to be carried at the state Capitol without screening. In addition, committee chairs don’t have the authority to keep people from carrying guns into hearings — no matter how volatile the topic of discussion.

At the Nov. 5 committee meeting, a public safety official described and example of a concealed carry permit holder expressing anti-government sentiment and a plan to bring a gun to the Capitol. Members of the committee who support gun carrying expressed their disapproval of such behavior.
But sitting right in the hearing room was a group aligned with the gun lobby wearing Guy Fawkes masks. Nobody on the committee appeared to realize that Guy Fawkes was known for his attempt to blow up the English Parliament, and a recent movie glorified Fawkes’ effort.

The safety risk of loaded firearms is known – but the use of guns for political intimidation is becoming more brazen every year. This is unacceptable in a democracy. Our public safety officials and legislators should be allowed to know when individuals are coming in with guns and keep guns out of all or part of the Capitol complex.
It would be irresponsible to wait for a tragedy to happen in Minnesota before making our Capitol safer. Please give law enforcement and legislators who run hearings the ability to protect our free speech and our safety at the Capitol.

I have to wonder – has Representative Martens actually been to an “Occupy” rally (back when the were still happening)?  The places were crawling with those creepy masks.

But let’s take Heather Martens at her stated word.  The legislature has to guard against “Anti-Government Sentiment?”

So now Rep. Martens is trying to gut the First Amendment, too!

Here’s the letter I sent back through their little email spam-bot widget:

Representatives,

This, like everything “Protect Minnesota” has ever written or said, is a lie.

Capitol Security staff are pretty clear about it; carry permittees are the most polite, least bothersome groups of protesters that ever show up at the Capitol.

By the way – the “anti-government sentiments” Ms. Martens is referring to was a guy in a Guy Fawkes mask. Ms. Martens is filling in the details about “blowing up the Capitol” – because, as usual, she’s lying.  And, apparently, she’s no more comfortable with the First Amendment than the Second.

Please stop wasting taxpayer time participating in Heather Martens’ Joyce-Foundation-funded charades.

Mitch Berg
Saint Paul

Not sure it’ll get through, but it was fun to write.