I need to get in shape. The best way to do this is to win the Olympic Decathlon – because those people are in the best shape in the world. I’ve decided that if I’m going to do anything about my physical fitness, it’ll be “win the Olympic Decathlon”.
“But Mitch”, you may ask, “how do you plan on getting into that kind of shape?”
You’re not paying attention. I said my goal is to “win the Olympic Decathlon”. It’s not to “spend years training to be in the Olympic Decathlon”. Training is not winning. They’re completely different words. If I win, by definition, I’ll be in amazing shape.
“But Mitch”, you may continue to hector me, “nobody, not even the most amazing athletes, competes at level without years of…”
And I’ll cut you off right there. You’re clearly not listening. I’ll win the Olympic Decathlon. Then I’ll be in shape. Any questions?
Jeez, You people are such Real Athletes In Name Only (REANOs).
Much Ado About Ado: We’ve written before about the entire group of organizations aligned with the “National Association of Gun Rights” (NAGR), including “Iowa Gun Owners” (IGO), and their Minnesota “cousins”, “Minnesota Gun Rights” (MGR). I put “cousins” in scare quotes, because the groups are really one and the same; they’re both run by the Dorr Brothers out of Des Moines; occasionally, they don‘t even get all the “Iowa” references out of their Minnesota fundraising materials. It’s gotten to the point that a bipartisan group of pro-Second-Amendment legislators – including some who supported MGR in the past – have come out against them for raising lots of money but not actually doing anything with it. Their defenders note that they did drop some fliers and ran two – two! – radio ads supporting Roz Peterson in Burnsville; their detractors note that their lack of registrations with the state mean they were strictly limited in the amount of money they could spend – as in, $1,500 or so – and that the Peterson race was not decided on gun issues and, for that matter, nobody thinks their involvement made a stitch of difference in Peterson’s victory.
But that’s yesterday’s news.
This week, the Iowa Firearms Coalition fired a broadside at IGO for opposing an omnibus gun rights bill.
Give Me Everything I Want, Or Give Me Nothing I Need: The omnibus bill covers a wide swathe of gun rights projects: preventing the media from getting permittees’ personal information, removing the ban on parents teaching their kids to shoot, making permits attach to the person rather than the gun, allowing people whose permits are denied to seek reimbursement if the denial is overturned, and a slew of other things (that make me praise the wisdom of the crew that wrote Minnesota’s carry law.
Nothing wrong with Constitutional Carry; it affirms that the Constitution grants us a right to keep and bear arms; no law-abiding citizen should have to ask, or pay, the state to exercise their rights.
But IGO is under the impression that any effort spent on “lesser” bills legitimizes state control over your right to keep and bear arms, and reduces the chance of winning full constitutional carry. And so they’re fighting against Iowa’s Omnibus Gun Bill:
This same group actively lobbied against the Shall Issue concealed carry reforms we passed 5 years ago. If they had their way we’d still be holding out for a “perfect firearms bill” that never had a chance at passing. Had they been successful hundreds of thousands of Iowans would not be able enjoy the freedom to lawfully carry concealed weapons that we enjoy today. Instead of working to protect and enhance the Second Amendment rights of Iowans by any means possible, this group of gun owners would rather gamble everything on improbable, all or nothing, high stakes bills. This approach is almost always guaranteed to fail and their track record proves it. Not one single piece of pro-gun legislation they’ve sponsored has ever reached the Governor’s desk, let alone been signed into law.
Now they’re up to their same old tricks, working again in lock step with Bloomberg and Company, this time to kill Iowa’s Omnibus Gun Bill.
Long story short, IGO is helping the Bloomberg repress gun rights in Iowa. And unless you live in Wyoming or Alaska, winning Constitutional Carry is going to be long, drawn-out process of winning hearts and minds, rather than my campaign to win the decathlon.
Problem is, they want to do the same thing in Minnesota.
“Incrementalism Is A Four Letter Word”: Every gun rights group that matters has “Constitutional Carry” as a goal. Some – the NRA – are exceedingly pragmatic about it. Others – GOCRA – see it, correctly, as something that, like “Shall Issue”, is going to take years of lobbying, education and hard political work. This includes teaching a legislature – which is is mostly pro-gun, even on the DFL side – the benefits of Constitutional Carry in a state that, in case you hadn’t noticed, isn’t much like Wyoming or Arizona.
But IGO, and it’s Minnesota
cousin branch office MGR, take the tack that spending time and effort on anything “less” than Constitutional Carry not only legitimizes the gun control that exists, but makes it less likely we’ll ever get Constitutional Carry.
Both claims are absurd, of course; gun control was imposed piecemeal over decades as media and liberal propaganda affected voters’ attitudes about guns; undoing the attitudes will take time (although the process is well underway). Does anyone think that the gun movement should have held off on filing the Heller and McDonald cases, and waited for the One Big Case To Throw All Gun Control Laws Out? Does anyone think winning “shall issue” in Illinois makes it less likely that Illinois will ever further loosen their restrictions?
Magical Thinking: NAGR is run by one Dudley Brown – who was highly involved in Ron Paul’s various campaigns for President. The IGO/MGR’s Dorr Brothers are linked to Ted Sorenson, an Iowa Ron Paul mover and shaker at the center of a scandal involving Michele Bachmann. Some of MGR’s most prominent adherents in Minnesota were also heavily involved in the Ron Paul effort, and are still involved with “Liberty” groups.
Nothing wrong with that.
Except that too many “Liberty” groups believe that if you “stick to your principles” and think big thoughts and accept no compromise, freedom just happens.
I’m oversimplifying, of course. Or perhaps I’m overcomplicating. If there’s one thing I’ve noticed about many of the ranks of Ron Paul / “Liberty” supporters, it’s that they want to change the world in big ways, but they seem to eschew the idea of doing it through the political process, which they seem to deem too corrupt.
And so MGR, like its IGO home office, has gathered about it a lot of people who want big changes, and like to think and argue big thoughts about those changes…
…but can’t spell out a way to actually get the law changed so that their big ideas become actual policy.
I’ve tried. Oh, Lord, I’ve tried. I’ve challenged MGR supporters; “You want Constitutional Carry or nothing? OK – in a state where the idea of “people carrying guns without permits” scares the crap out of at least half the voters, and whose votes count as much as yours do, how do you get to passing a law?”
The answers get more and more vague the more you press them, and always devolve back to one form of “magical thinking” or another. *
At any rate; beware of people promising big results if you just belieeeeve. And give. Because in politics more than most parts of life, if it sounds too good to be true, it is.
* I can tell you how we pass Constitutional Carry in this state; the same way we passed Shall Issue. We set the goal; we get legislators elected; we get opponents un-elected; we build a base of supporters that legislators and governors can’t ignore; we try, and probably fail, and try the next session, and win over a few more legislators and gradually build up the political power to push the idea over the top (over the histrionics of the Metro DFL, who will spent uncountable time and effort to kill the idea).