Carpetbaggers: Of Moo And Cow

Last week, we looked at a troika of “gun rights” groups and their singular and plural records.

Last Tuesday, we showed you a fundraising letter for a group called Minnesota Gun Rights (MGR) that Minnesota Second Amendment activists have been getting.  In the letter – from “Minnesota Gun Rights” executive director Chris Dorr – the sky will fall if the reader doesn’t support the group.

Wednesday, we got a perspective from Iowa on the effectiveness of the Iowa Gun Owners (IGO), run by Aaron Dorr, the brother of MGR’s Executive Director – or, according to an Iowa legislator who’s seen it first hand, the lack of effectiveness.

Thursday we looked at the ties between the Dorr brothers and the scandal that rocked the Michele Bachmann campaign in Iowa – and to the National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR), a group that earned a reputation for having a big bark but not much bite for the relative impotence of its battle against the anti-rights onslaught in Colorado last session.  We also noted that “Minnesotagunrights.org” is actually registered in Van Meter Iowa.

Friday, we showed that an alarmist fund-raising letter aimed at Minnesotans from the NAGR’s Dudley Brown, that was wrong on nearly every possible point – almost too devoid of fact to have come from Heather Martens.

And today?

More on that in a moment.

In Defense:  Last week, a local Libertarian activist well-known for his involvement in the “Ron Paul” clicque takeover of parts of the MN GOP in 2012 posted the following on his Facebook page.  I won’t name the activist here; let’s call him “Paul Robertson” just to avoid confusion.

I’m adding emphasis:

I have met Chris Dorr and and have worked some of the people helping him on projects in the state. A recent hit piece from a Minnesota establishment blogger noted the connection Chris has to the National Association for Gun Rights.

I’m an “establishment blogger?”

Who knew?

I digress:

NAGR operations chief Dudley Brown is an effective political operative who, an as RNC Rules Committeemember, was a leader at the national convention fighting the establishment power grab. One gets onto the RNC Rules committee by earning the support of entire state and CD conventions, something that is impossible for sham groups to do.

And there’s the point, right there.

Forget for a moment that “Mr. Robertson” is referring to Mr. Brown’s role in the picayune rules battle at the last Republican National Convention that pitted “the establishment” against the thin coterie of Ron Paul delegates (a rules change I oppose, for what very little it’s worth).

The two responses to this are:

  1. So What?:   The most we can take from “Mr. Robertson’s” statement is that Mr. Brown can organize caucusees into a group that creates a ruckus to no real immediate effect.
  2. That’s What!:  Badda bing.  Re-read #1.

In party politics as well as gun politics, Dudley Brown of the National Association for Gun Rights would seem – by his record, even as emphasized by his local supporter, the pseudonymic “Mr. Robertson” – to be about making the big, “my way or the highway” policy pronouncements that drum up much noise but signify little-to-nothing.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with noise.  And Minnesota’s current gun-rights groups – MN-RKBA, GOCRA, and even the NRA (which for the first time in my 25 years of watching the issue in this state is finally starting to take an active role at the Capitol) create plenty of it.  Over this past session, they put thousands of people into meeting rooms, and mobilized tens of thousands of phone calls, emails and letters.  Minnesota’s legislators know where the people of Minnesota stand on the issue – which is why even though the DFL controls the legislature and the governor’s office, and their financial supporters are buying support in the mainstream media, the anti-rights agenda was humiliated this past session.

But there needs to be more than just noise.  If a group can’t deliver results at the Capitol in terms of bad policy shot down and good policy enacted, then why support them?

Minnesota’s gun rights groups – NRA, GOCRA/GOAL, MN-RKBA and the rest – have a record of not just making noise, but winning battles.  Of not just getting people riled up, but getting them focused in a direction that, in good times, expands the human right of self-defense.  Never forget – the battle for “shall issue” carry permitting lasted 10 years, from 1995 to 2005.  The goal was achieved not just by getting people riled up – but by focusing all that passion on results.  And frequently needing to do it against adversity; remember, the DFL controlled the legislature before 2002, and have held at least one chamber for all but two years in recent memory.  And we’ve had exactly eight years of conservative-enough governor in the past thirty (forget about Jesse Ventura).

The Challenge:   But there’s certainly a market for groups in any facet of politics, including Gun Rights, that lead with “death or glory”; “our way or the highway”.  Gun Owners of America (GOA) split off from the NRA 20-odd years ago because they thought the NRA wasn’t activist enough.  And they were right.  And the exodus of members concerned with gun rights spurred the NRA to more, more effective political activism.

But hard-line as they are, the GOA has actually had an effect on politics.  They’ve done things; mobilized voters, won some battles through their own lobbying and activism and shoe leather.

I’m not going to tell you what to think about “Minnesota Gun Rights”, the group we met last Tuesday via its alarmed-sounding fund-raising letter to Minnesota gun owners.

I am going to tell you to consider the evidence;

  • “Minnesota Gun Rights” (MGR) is tightly related to “Iowa Gun Owners” – their directors are brothers, and both groups’ websites are registered in Iowa (here’s MGR, here’s IGO)
  • As related by Iowa state representative Matt Windschitl – a pro-gun legislator – IGO has a record of being utterly useless in actually passing legislation, has actually hampered the passage of useful legislation, and claims credit for passing legislation in which they were utterly uninvolved.   You don’t have to believe me – listen to him yourself.
  • The Dorr brothers were intimately involved in the scandal that has dogged Representative Bachmann – the payment-for-endorsement scandal that led to the resignation of an Iowa state Senator.  So someday if Chris Dorr testifies in front of the Public Safety committee, you think Doug Grow (of the Joyce-Foundation-sponsored MinnPost) won’t bring that up to discredit all gun rights advocates?   You think “Protect Minnesota’s” new PR guy Richard Carlbom won’t dangle that factoid in front of Tom Scheck and Pat Kessler?
  • Both the Dorrs are closely involved with the “National Association for Gun Rights”, a group run by Dudley Brown.  NAGR – like Brown and the Dorrs – are closely aligned with the Ron Paul camp; that’s not a bad thing by itself, necessarily.  But it does tip you off to their “all or nothing” approach.   And whatever their political allegiance, while NAGR is long on uncompromising rhetoric, when it comes to the day to day politics of winning the legislative battle for our rights, their record gives the appearance of being all moo and no cow, or worse (to say nothing of willing to misrepresent current events and politicians’ positions here in Minnesota).

Let me be clear here, personally – when it comes to fighting the anti-rights orcs, as far as I’m concerned we should let a thousand lights shine.

But Iowa Gun Owners and the NAGR would seem to have a record of underdelivering on its overpromised rhetoric.  And MGR has no record at all, other than of association with the IGO and NAGR.

Ask yourself – should your hard-earned money be going to a run rights group that has an actual record of delivering people, votes, and policy?  Minnesota already has several of those.  We could use more – as many as it takes to get every possible Minnesota shooter to the polls, and toss every possible orc out of the Legislature and the Governor’s office.

Is there any evidence that Minnesota Gun Rights, Iowa Gun Owners or the National Association for Gun Rights have done anything documentably useful?  Bills passed (through their efforts)?  Lawsuits won?  Chambers packed?  Legislators elected?

I’m waiting to see it.

But it’s your call.

2 thoughts on “Carpetbaggers: Of Moo And Cow

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