The “Meh” Gun Bill

I went to the Capitol last night for the House Public Safety Finance Committee hearings on Michael Paymar’s “HF 237”, better known as “The Bad Gun Bill”, a bill rife with nannystate abuse-fodder.

The rest of the story?  It’s got a lot of photos, and I don’t want the entire blog to load like a dog, so the rest of the story is after the jump.

See you there!

I got to the State Office Building around 5:15, and waited about an hour for the doors to the hearing room to open.

And then waited.

And watched as the crowds started coming in and getting their tickets from one of the pages.

There was the pro-Second-Amendment crowd down one hall:

The pro-Second-Amendment crowd actually grew from this.

And the pro-orc, pro-nannystate, gun-grabber faction down the other way.

Six of ’em. A few more came later.

And the DFL’s public relations people were there, too:

Media people – seven of ’em – actually outnumbered Paymar supporters for a good chunk of the evening.

Finally, we all got to come into the hearing room, where the crowd – easily 95% against the Paymar bill, as usual – sat and waited some more.

Eventually – around the meeting’s scheduled 7PM start time – the Republican members of the committee came into the room and took their seats.

Rep. Cornish waiting for the DFL.

And we all waited.

And waited.

Rep. Kieffer (far left, green outfit) and Cornish (far right at back) killing time in the gallery, waiting for the DFL. And waiting. And waiting.

Rumors started flying.  The DFLers were in a locked room, being lectured by Shotgun Joe Biden via teleconference.  Or waterboarding Rep. Hilstrom, who has been Paymar’s most notable dissident within the DFL, having introduced “The Good Gun Bill” a few weeks back.  And one rumor, overheard from a conversation between a couple of antis, had it that Paymar didn’t have the votes to get the Bad Gun Bill out of committee.

And the 7PM start time slid on toward 8PM…

…and then well past.  Finally, Rep. Rosenthal, the committee’s #2 DFLer, walked around the crowd and told us that the meeting would start at 8:15.

Around then, the DFL members filed in.  Paymar hit the gavel, thanked everyone for showing up, announced the bill was laid over – on the table, no further action – and adjourned the meeting.

Paymar begins and ends the hearings.

Three hours of waiting.  Ten seconds of meeting.

As most of the reps scattered to the wind, the clutch of DFL PR and a few just-plain folks congregated at the front, around Representatives Paymar and Hilstrom.

Hilstrom and Paymar, after the ten-second meeting.

Paymar was doing it best to put a positive spin on things – “I think we did something positive today” was one quote – but he was clearly dejected.  “I think both sides are disappointed…”

In terms of bills?  You’re going to hear a lot of chatter about this from both sides – the stuff you hear from GOCRA will be accurate, the stuff from “ProtectMN” will not – but it basically breaks out like this:

  • Paymar’s loathsome HF237 is dead.  This noxious piece of twaddle, borrowed in large part from California’s knee-jerk, oppressive and utterly ineffective laws, is going to die on the table; Friday is the deadline for all policy bills, and 237 will receive no votes.
  • Hilstrom’s “Good Gun Bill” is also stopping, not passing “go” and not collecting $200.  Some of its features are being rolled into…
  • Rep. Lesch’s bill – aka “The Prosecutor’s Bill”, AKA “the Meh Gun Bill”. This bill has some bad language – all sorts of references  of sellers “Knowing or having reason to know” of a buyer’s intentions, all that sort of abuse-prone smug-pissant-lawyer-talk – but it, too, largely focuses on criminals rather than the law-abiding.  There will be some discussions about that objectionable language.

And that’s the bill that’s going to go to the floor for a straight up and down vote, and thence perhaps onward to the conference committee to gnosh it out with whatever the Senate passes, either Ron Latz’s “Stupid Gun Bill” (SF458) or Ortman’s companion to Hilstrom’s “Good Gun Bill”.

Professor Joe Olson – leader of GOCRA – having the first of many words with Rep. Hilstrom regarding the language in the “Prosecutor’s” – “Meh” – gun bill.

The big concession: a provision to require all transfers at gun shows to have a background check – meaning, in a practical sense, a Carry Permit or a Permit to Purchase.  And a gun show will mean, according to Hilstrom, any transfer in a public place.  The armory?  The Fairgrounds?  From the trunk of your car in the parking lot of the Dairy Queen on Broadway?  All of them are public places.  “But wait”, you say,  “it sounds like that last one is trying to get criminals to carry out background checks”.

True.  But it leaves private transfers alone – because they’re either scrupulously legal and there is no problem and adding a layer of bureaucracy to them merely bashes on the law-abiding citizen, or they’re utterly illegal and nobody involved will ever run a background check anyway, so what the hell is the point?

There were a few Second-Amendment people who walked out of the meeting feeling like the good guys lost one, or that there was some strange procedural hanky-panky going on that left us holding the bag.

Neither is true, and neither is false.  The Paymar bill, obnoxious and oppressive and repulsive as it was, is dead and gone.  Period.

As to the rest?  Yep, there’s work to be done.  GOCRA and the good guys will be duking it out to get the objectionable parts of the Lesch bill rewritten before it goes to the floor.  This will involve lots of time spent behind closed doors – and more phone calls and emails and, likely, time at the Capitol showing the flag before this is over.

Sorry.  Democracy’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Here are the takeaways:

  • Chalk one up for the little guy:  The fact that Paymar couldn’t get his bill out of committee means that at least two or three DFLers on this committee – which has 11 DFLers and 7 Republicans – listened to the avalanche of phone calls, letters and emails from you, the citizen.  The public response, according to one legislator, was off the clock against Paymar and for the Second Amendment.  It counted last night.
  • It was a partial win for the good guys:  On the one hand, we’ve got work to do to on the “Meh” bill – and then there’s the matter of making sure Latz’s abomination (SF458, not Latz’ other bill, SF235, which is a companion to Lesch’s “Prosecutors’ Bill”) dies in the Senate, and Ortman’s bill moves forward.  But the good news is that Paymar’s bill is dead, gone, not to be resuscitated this session (except via amendment, but that’s a long, long shot).
  • “Meh” is not good enough.  The Lesch bill, as written, is still a poor bill, and needs to be opposed.
  • As always, there’s work to do.  If you’re not a GOCRA member, you need to be.  There is no more effective grassroots group in Minnesota, especially when it comes to communication. The Second Amendment human rights movement is still rowing upstream in a legislature run by DFL gun grabbgers.  Join GOCRA, and grab an oar.

So there you have it!

UPDATE:  Tony Cornish is not happy about last night at all.  From Facebook:

It Was A Tough Nite for Gun Owners

Last night after days of DFL Leadership Pressuring the Chair of the Judiciary, Debra Hilstrom, the gun control people finally got what they want: A promise to go after gun owners in private sales at gun shows. After promising us that she and Rep Ward would stand with us in a committee vote and kill HF 237, she finally succumbed to pressure from her party. HF 237 was about to come to a vote when all of a sudden it was relayed to us that she would stand now with the DFL Chair of the Public Safety Committee. They came into the committee room and laid HF 237 on the table, adjourned and then held a news conference where said they would work together to plug what they call the “gun show loophole” very soon. You and I know that it is not a “loophole” but rather a legitimate sale of guns at shows that was meant to be that way.

Naturally, this was a huge disappointment and a complete reversal of what she said would happen. Now you can see what sometimes happens in the ugly side of party politics and backroom deals. We are now left with a future fight, and that is to bring together the votes we need to kill this future measure on the Floor of the House of Representatives. While we don’t know for sure what this bad bill will bring, we are almost certain that they will try to “Dress up a Pig” by putting good measures with bad to try to make it look more attractive. What makes it tough, is that we really can no longer trust “vote counts” that we receive and will have to find a “margin” where we can be sure that we have enough votes to bring down this “nightmare in the making.”

So, now we forge ahead into an uncertain future, trying to protect gun owners from what we know is a “foot in the door” to possible registration and confiscation. Remember, just a short time ago they said they would never come after our long guns and this this session they proposed a bill that would not only lead to an eventual turn in to the State but also Law Enforcement being able to come to your door with random checks to make sure you were compliant. Everyone that that is sure these attempts will stop here and not result in registration or confiscation and that it is just “paranoia,” raise your hand. Stay tuned!!!!!

Marathon.  Not a sprint.

CORRECTION:  Ortman, not Hortman.  Grr.  It’s been a long day.

3 thoughts on “The “Meh” Gun Bill

  1. Thank you.

    I was there again last night and like many who are inexperienced in political procedure left without knowing what had happened.

    Good or bad I felt very disrespected (the traditional definition, not the type that justifies drive-bys). Many of my fellow audience members and I were quite angry at the total lack of concern shown for the people (pro and anti) who took the time to show up. Weren’t we entitled to some explanation of what transpired?

    The end result seems positive. That’s good. However, I have a feeling of distaste for all the polititicians there last night who wouldn’t take 60 seconds to offer an explanation, even an indulgent, condescending one.

    However, when I didn’t see Dennis Flaherty smiling after the gavel fell I suspected that something good might have happened.

    I am completely impressed with GORCA. I’ve learned more about the politics of gun control in a couple months from them (and this site) than I have in many decades as an NRA member.

  2. Don’t feel too bad Joe. It’s likely Paymar kept his remarks brief lest he start squirting bitter tears in front of you all.

    The left just hates you fractious, Tea Bagging types that actually take the time to show up.

  3. Looking at the turn out in the 1st and 2nd photos above it’s obvious that Paymar and his lot don’t give a rip about the desire of the citizens of the state. They only care to sensationalize terrible events in the news to further their attack on Liberty and Freedom. DOOM ON ALL OF THEM!!

    Mitch, Thank you for attending the meeting and sharing the course of events.

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