Carpetbaggers: Not Of This World

Tuesday, we showed you a fundraising letter for a group called Minnesota Gun Rights (MGR) that Minnesota Second Amendment activists have been getting.

Wednesday, we got a perspective from Iowa on the effectivess of the Iowa Gun Owners (IGO), run by the brother of MGR’s Executive Director.

Yesterday, we looked at the ties between the Dorr brothers, Aaron (of the IGO) and Chris (of MGR) to the scandal that rocked the Michele Bachmann campaign in Iowa – and to the National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR).  We also noted that “Minnesotagunrights.org” is actually registered in Van Meter Iowa. 

We’re going to look more into the NAGR today.

Interpretations:  Last year, Minnesota Second Amendment activists hailing from a variety of groups got together and pulled off an amazing feat; in a state government completely controlled not only by Democrats, but dominated by extremist, gun-hating Metrocrats, managed to completely shut down a concerted anti-Second Amendment attack, in the wake of one of the most horrific school massacres since the 1920s.

It took a lot of work; painstaking mobilization of thousands of activists, fundraising, intensive lobbying of legislators, communications both on Capitol Hill and all across Minnesota.

Most of all, it took coalition-building.  Gun rights advocates from all groups had to build working relationships with legislators from the famously gun-unfriendly DFL, because – in case you missed in the first time – the DFL had complete control of the legislature and the Governor’s office.

Remember – the DFL started with a raft of bills; expanded gun-free zones, magazine restrictions, bans on weapons that looked cosmetically “assault”-y, handing control of carry permit applications over to the police (who unlike the sheriff do not answer to voters, ever), and a good half a dozen other noxious provisions.

Minnesota’s Second Amendment community had to get legislators on both sides of the aisle to agree to push back against the gun grab bills.

Remember – if Minnesota Democrats had merely closed ranks behind the Metrocrat hamsters that control most of the party’s agenda, today Minnesota’s gun laws would look like New York State, Colorado or California.

Politics – especially when you’re in a minority – is always a matter of give and take.  And yet Minnesota’s Second Amendment movement gave much worse than it got – in large part because of the tsunami of popular support they mustered, week in week out, and kept in legislators’ faces.

Here’s the important part:  the victory (and it was a victory) was won not by “stating a principle”, turning off the phone and chanting like a robot.  It was won by knowing the principle, (“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”) and fighting a sharp, well-organized political battle to build a diverse coalition that would, via acceptable compromises, ensure the actual policy that got enacted didn’t violate the principle, if not reinforcing it. 

And in a session where the worst was not only possible, but in terms of absolute political numbers very, very likely, the mainstream Second Amendment movement won a victory.  No, not a “victory” in the sense that we dragged Heather Martens and Michael Bloomberg onto the deck of the USS MIssouri to sign articles of surrender.  More like Keith Park winning the Battle of Britain.

Which, whether your opponent controls all of Europe or all of the apparatus of Minnesota government, is a win. 

Alternate Reality:  Dudley Brown is in charge of the National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR).  The group bills itself as the conservative alternative to the NRA, which it regards as squishy moderates and accomodationists.  The group is closely tied with the Iowa Gun Owners (IGO) group, which we showed yesterday is closely tied with Minnesota Gun Rights (MGR).

And I think it’d be fair to sum up NAGR’s philosophy is “better to lose a symbolic battle for perfection than win battle for good if imperfect policy”. 

It’s a philosophy shared by not a few very ideological activists – pro-lifers, pro-abortionists, Libertarians, you name it. 

And during Minnesota’s gun debate last session, Brown sent an email to his group’s supporters in Minnesota about the Hillstrom gun bill – which I called “The Good Gun Bill” on this blog, because it focused on criminals and bad behavior, rather than attacking the law-abiding gun owner (which is something many Second Amendment supporters call “the goal”). 

Here’s the text of the bills in both the Senate and the House.  You be the judge.

I’ll include the email from Dudley Brown in its entirety below the fold – along with some commentary where called for.

Here’s Brown’s email, with my comments interspersed.  Any emphasis is added by me:

Dear Hopefully Gullible Minnesotan,

The Minnesota Legislature is in its final days, but I’ve got bad news:

Gun control might be BACK on the table.

After House Speaker Paul Thissen (DFL – Minneapolis) declared that there would be no gun bill a couple weeks ago, suddenly one anti-gun bill was rushed through the Senate Finance Committee.

Just yesterday this anti-gun bill passed the State Senate with the blessing of key Senate REPUBLICANS.

It’s SF-235 by anti-gun State Senator Ron Latz (DFL – St. Louis Park).

Sounds scary.

It’s also wrong.  According to my sources, Latz actually came to the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance to cooperate on a bill that’d pass the Senate –  in essence, to save face for the DFL.  The “concessions” universally attacked criminals, not the law-abiding citizen. 

That’s what law-abiding gun owners want, right?

If passed, SF-235 would:

*** Enhance the state’s existing practice of adding as many people as possible to the federally-run no-gun blacklist;

This is baked wind.

The goal was to close the decade-old gap in updating the federal database – adding and removing data – in a timely fashion.  It’s something the DFL’s been dragging its feet on forever.  Fixing it is a good thing, intended both to cut down on the people who shouldn’t get guns, and reduce the number of people who get false hits. 

*** Strengthen the state’s ability to fingerprint gun owners like common criminals;

And this is an absolute lie.  There was no provision in SF235 (or any other bill that went anywhere) about fingerprinting gun owners. 

None.

Put in the traditional Latin, Brown pulled this idea de anus.

*** Shove off “mental health” records to the federal government in order to DENY more otherwise law-abiding citizens their right to keep and bear arms faster; and,

This isn’t a “lie”, per se.  It does bespeak a complete lack of understanding on Mr. Brown’s part of what he’s talking about. 

SF235 referred to “court commitment records”.  Not “mental health records”.  A “commitment record” is a record of a Civil Commitment action – an adversarial judicial action with a prosecutor, a defense attorney, and a presumption, not so much of “innocence”, but of “sanity”.   It’s a procedure that follows Constitutional due process. 

A source familiar with the issue emailed “[I]f this kind of record keeping were done in Virginia, Seung-Hui Cho wouldn’t have been able to pass the background check and buy the two pistols” he used to kill 32 at Virginia Tech. 

*** Dig into JUVENILE records — pass that information on to the federal government — and assure that some young Minnesotans with mistakes in their past may NEVER see their Second Amendment rights in their lifetime.

Read the statute yourself.  If you can’t find any reference to “digging into juvenile records”, you’re not alone.  Either Brown didn’t actual read the statute, or he’s hoping his audience doesn’t.

The end result of SF-235 is that more people would be denied their right to keep and bear arms WITHOUT DUE PROCESS.

Read the bill.  SF235 said exactly the opposite.  Criminals – murders, felons, abusers – who’ve legitimately lost their gun rights will have that information reflected on the national database faster.  People who get their rights restored, likewise, will show up as “clean” on NICS, faster and more accurately. 

[Name Redacted], this is bad. Let me explain:

Some supposedly “pro-gun” Minnesota lawmakers, including State Senator Julianne Ortman (R – Chanhassen) have already called for much more draconian anti-gun laws.

Ortman, herself was even an original co-author of this DFL led bill until mid-February. Then she struck her name from it, turned around and a few weeks later introduced an anti-gun bill of her own.

Again, this is nonsense.  Ortman introduced a bill written by pro-Second Amendment stalwart Tony Cornish, in consultation with Minnesota’s Second Amendment activists!

So, in the final days of session, and in the hype to “do something,” the radical anti-gun DFLers think they’ve been ceded the ground they need to launch a last minute assault on your Second Amendment rights.

They think they have all the momentum they need to ram this through.

Now, we’re hearing cries for “fixing” this bill in Conference Committee. That’s code for tacking on as much gun control as they can get away with in the waning days of session.

SF235 – viewed from the perspective of actually addressing gun violence and the integrity and accuracy of the data the Feds are already using, and have for two decades – was a perfectly good bill.  Brown is babbling.

And thanks to a few compromise-loving Senate Republicans, they have every reason to believe they can do it.

After all, take a look at Ortman’s anti-gun bill (SF-1359)…

SF-1359 could make you a FELON for reporting your firearm lost or stolen, or for trying to buy a firearm if you make virtually any minor paperwork error or oversight in the process.

Nope. Here’s what it actually said:  “Whoever informs a law enforcement officer that a firearm has been lost or stolen, knowing that the report is false, is guilty of a gross misdemeanor”

It has nothing to do with “paperwork errors”.  It dealt, and only dealt, with affirmatively lying about the theft of a firearm, to the cops.

Dudley Brown’s letter to Minnesota firearms owners was as absent of truth as any Heather Martens press release.  It observed a standard of factual accuracy almost too low for Minneasota Progressive Project.

So What’s It All About?:  More Monday.

4 thoughts on “Carpetbaggers: Not Of This World

  1. Today’s (Sun.) St. Paul Pioneer Press is running the story of how Guns & Ammo Magazine abruptly fired editor and longtime gun writer, Dick Metcalf, for an editorial on how constitutional rights also have regulations and limitations (“yell fire in a theater,” religions not being able to practice human sacrifice, etc.), including the second amendment.

    Apparently Facebook and other social media exploded with angry responses from the pro-gun “community” and cries for Metcalf’s head. In response, the magazine to summarily dismissed Metcalf.

    I’m a long-standing subscriber to the magazine, but generally skip editorials and such as they all usually contain the same old mantras and talking points. Apparently not this time. Hopefully I still have that issue laying around. I typically foist my read reading material off on anyone who’ll stand still long enough to take it.

    This is scary. Metcalf says that his article was meant to prompt discussion and not to support the infringement of second amendment rights. I tend to believe him. Perhaps this is reflective of the topic of this, and related posts, about various “start-up” gunrights groups, the blind acquisition of followers and donations, and the power being given to social media and other mechanisms of too easy communication and expression.

    Additionally, this blind adherence to the cause without acknowledging anything contrary, even in editorial content, also supports Mr. Berg’s discussions of all-or-nothing politics. I’m all for punishing our enemies, but we better come up with a better way than Internet popularity contests to do that. As a rule, our group is much older and smarter than those who typically use this strategy.

    I shouldn’t support Metcalf without first reading the article in question. However, I doubt if my current opinion will change and I wish him well …

  2. I found the editorial in my latest Issue (Dec. 2013) of Guns & Ammo. It’s pretty much as described above. Additionally, he sees the rationale behind his state’s (IL) requirement for training those applying for carry permits.

    All in all, the tone was pretty mild, and struck me as more of an exercise in discussion motivation. The fact that this type of thing can happen so rapidly, caused by the basically anonymous input of strangers still strikes me as wrong.

    S&W suffered greatly for their alliance with the self-indulgent liar, Bill Clinton, a writer for Sports Afield (maybe Outdoor Life, or similar) was booted for disparaging “assault weapons” as hunting guns, and Dan Cooper of Cooper Arms was ousted as CEO for vocal support of Obama.

    However, Metcalf’s piece was nowhere near as “anti” as the others’. Since most gun supporters tend to vote Republican, it is easy to see why the “all or nothing” stance is prominent. I certainly hope that moderates some before the next election. Things now would be ideal for a party other than President Obama’s right now.

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