Chanting Points Memo: Ron Latz’s Polished Turd

Death came to me the other day as I was shopping for crackers.

No, not in the whole black robe and scythe get-up.  In fact, he looked a little bit like a Ryan Winker speech sounds.

But I digress.  We started talking.

DEATH: OK, so how about “death”?  Whatdya think?

ME:  Well, I’ll choose life, if I have any say in the matter.

DEATH:  Right, right.  No problem.  I’m all about the “win-win” – well, as long as I’m not walking around in the robes, naturally.

ME: Naturally.

DEATH: So how about a compromise.  We take “death” off the table, and settle for a concussion and a toxic intestinal infection?

ME:  Er…that’s not much of a compromise…


This past week and a half, Representatives Paymar and Martens Hausman introduced stupid, oppressive, constitutionally likely-dodgy gun grab bills.  Think “death”.

In response, Representative Hilstrom and Senator Ortman filed good gun bills – bills that ratchet up the consequences for mis-using firearms.  Think “life”.

In response to the public revulsion at the Paymar/Hausman/Stalin bill and the legislative juggernaut behind the Good Gun Bill, Senator Ron Latz – the Senate Judiciary Committee Chair, who has been trying to position himself as “reasonable” on the issue for some time – has introduced a head injury and a toxic infection of a “compromise” amendment to the Senate gun grab bill .

Latz’ bill would take most of the provisions of the Hilstrom/Hortman bill, and plop in all of the worst features of the Paymar/Hausman/Stalin gun grab bills.

According to GOCRA, the “compromise” bill would bring us:

Universal Registration:

These bills would require universal registration of pistols and sporting rifles, implemented through a “universal” background check, — twice: The bills would require every sale of such guns to go through a licensed dealer, who would charge $25 per transfer. These transfers would still require a permit to purchase, for which the House bill would charge you another $25 annually.


Rights Delayed

The bills extend the time that sheriffs and police have to process a purchase permit from five to seven business days, and allow the law enforcement official to fingerprint the applicant and extend the deadline to 30 days.


Easier Carry Permit Denials

The bad bills would allow sheriffs the judgement to deny a carry permit on the basis of a subjective “likelihood” that the applicant was dangerous.

More Difficult Carry Permit Appeals

The bad bills positively encourage abusive denials: they remove the sheriffs’ obligation to pay an applicant’s legal fees when a permit denial is overturned — a safeguard that has kept sheriffs departments honest, and bogus denials fairly low, for almost 10 years. The Sheriff’s Association has not asked for this unfair reversal of law.

The bad bills also lower the sheriffs’ standard of proof of danger to self or other others from “clear and convincing evidence” to the mere “preponderance of the evidence.”

Due Process Protections Gutted

The bad bills would remove legal protections against losing your firearm rights. Currently, before you lose your right to own a firearm, you must be convicted or committed by a court. Under the new bill, any involuntary hospitalization, even overnight, would disqualify you from owning guns indefinitely.

Making The Law Abiding Into Convicts

The bad bills set a very low standard of proof for conviction of serious gun crimes, using the phrase “knows or has reason to believe” to convict sellers who reports a gun stolen, or who sell a gun to a person who later commits a crime.

More Difficult Civil Rights Restoration

The bad bills increase the difficulty and expense for a person who has paid their debt to society to regain their civil rights.

Intersting how the DFL wants felons to be able to vote while they’re still in jail, but never have a chance of getting their Second Amendment rights back.

Hearings Tonight!

The Senate is holding hearings on both the Good Gun Bill and Latz’ bill – I’ll call it The Polished Turd, since that’s about what it is – tonight.  Hope you can make it.

And keep on lighting up the phones at the Capitol, especially for members of the House and Senate committees involved.  Sources at the Capitol tell me your efforts are making a difference.  It’s not even close; pro-Second Amendment traffic from Real Americans is crushing commentary from nannystate orcs.  This needs to continue, and accelerate.  

Go here for more information.

Doug Grow, Narrative-Fluffer

I was down at the State Capitol yesterday for a press conference, as Representative Deb Hilstrom (DFL Brooklyn Park) introduced the gun bill/s we talked about yesterday.

The bills, as we noted yesterday, would exert the state to solve actual problems – close gaps in the background check system, add mandatory penalties for using guns in crimes or possessing them illegally…

…y’know.  Controversial stuff.

At the presser, I saw a big group of legislators from both chambers and both parties lining up to support Hilstrom’s proposal.  Reps, Senators, Democrats, Republicans – it was probably the most bipartisan assembly I’ve seen that wasn’t in the lounge at the Kelly Inn after hours.

Not just legislators; guys in uniform.  They weren’t just there for the fun of it – guys in uniform never are.  No, they were from the Minnesota Sheriff’s Association.

And I saw media.  Oh, lord, did I see media.

And Heather Martens was there, naturally; where there is truth about the Second Amendment, Martens will be there.  To lie.  And lie and lie and lie (note to the media who bothered to speak to her; she has uttered not one substantial word of truth in her years at the capitol.  Ask me).

And the “groups” she represents put out a call for their “membership” to turn out in force to oppose this bill – probably remembering the hundreds of Second Amendment supporters who turned out daily to oppose the DFL’s gun grab bills a few weeks ago.

We’ll come back to them.

One person who was not there was Doug Grow, from the MInnPost.

To be fair, I haven’t seen Grow in person in over 20 years; I might not recognize him.

But judging by the story he wrote about the conference, and the bill itself, even if Grow was there, his story was pre-written, and would have appeared in exactly the same form had Mothra emerged from the Supreme Court chamber shooting flame from wherever Mothra did whatever he did, since I never watched the movie.

Rep. Debra Hilstrom, DFL-Brooklyn Center, has discovered again that there is no comfortable middle ground when the subject is guns.

At noon at the Capitol, Hilstrom, standing with Hennepin County Sheriff Richard Stanek and Rep. Tony Cornish, the gun-toting legislator from Good Thunder, introduced a gun bill that she said “can bring people together’’ on the volatile subject of guns.


Scare quotes.

No, no bias here.

The Astroturf Consensus

Grow, like most of the Twin Cities mainstream media, labors under the delusion that there’s a large, organized mass of people supporting gun control, and that they were out in force yesterday.

Her words were still echoing in the Capitol when critics, who had hoped for much stronger actions from the Minnesota Legislature, lambasted the effort of Hilstrom and a bipartisan group of 69 other legislators to “close gaps’’ in current state gun law.

“This is just a band-aid over a huge problem,’’ said Jane Kay of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, an organization formed in the days following the mass shooting of school children in Newtown, Conn.

Only in America can a two-month old pressure group with fewer members than there were legislators standing behind Hilstrom get the breathless adoration of the media.  Which is what “Moms Demand Action” and “Protect Minnesota” both are; astroturf checkbook advocacy groups funded by liberal plutocrats with deep pockets – with “membership” numbers in the single digits.

Provided they share the goal of fluffing the left’s withering narrative on gun control.

Of course, Grow wasn’t the only offender; Pat Kessler of Channel 4 asked Hilstrom why the bill included no universal background check which, he asserted, “70% of Minnesotans oppose”.

The correct answer – the polls ask people about background checks without explaining the consequences of those checks as the DFL and Governor Messinger Dayton currently propose them; they will result in a de facto gun registry, which is a necessary first step to universal confiscation.

More on gun-related media polls in another piece soon.

The Pre-Written Story

But Grow himself is the real problem here.  His piece, while short on the sort of insight that actually engaging people on both sides of the issue might have given it, is long on  evidence that Grow wrote the story long before yesterday’s press conference.

There’s the inflammatory reference to every leftymedia member’s favorite boogyman:

 The bill has the support of the National Rifle Association, presumably because it does nothing to require background checks on all gun sales and because it does nothing to restrict sales of military-style weapons or even the quantity of rounds in ammunition magazines.

Well, no.

The bill has the support of gun-rights organizations because instead of wasting time and effort putting niggling restrictions on the rights of the law-abiding that didn’t affect crime in any way the first ten years they were tried, they actually address the real problem; criminals, the insane, the addled, and the holes in the data the state sends to the Feds for the background check system.

(And while the NRA makes a nice, recognizable, stereotyped boogeyman for the lazy propagandist, the NRA actually has very little to do with the day to day heavy lifting of the gun rights movement in Minnesota.  It’s the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance that turned out 500 or more people a day to attend the gun grab hearings a couple of weeks back.  Grow either doesn’t know that, or doesn’t want people to know that.  You know where my money is).

More evidence that Grow wrote the story entirely off of DFL and “Protect Minnesota” chanting points?

Despite the fact that it’s a bill that authors hoped would unite people, it seems to be dividing. Yes, there was a mix of Republican and DFL representatives standing with Hilstrom, Cornish and Stanek. But there were no law-enforcement organizations represented at the news conference where the proposal was unveiled.

That’s false.

Here’s the video of the press conference: 


See all those guys in uniforms?

Scroll in to 1:12.  That’s Sheriff Rich Stanek, Hennepin County Sheriff, speaking on behalf of the Minnesota Sheriff’s Association.

Either Grow is lying, or he wrote the entire story with no knowledge of the facts of the story.

Short On Fact, Long On Jamming Words Into Peoples’ Mouths

Grow follows by saying…:

There also were no DFL senators, though presumably the bill will be as attractive to outstate senators as it appears to be to many outstate DFL representatives.

Grow throws that in there as if it’s a substantive fact related to the bill itself.  It’s not.  While most outstate legislators no doubt remember the DFL debacle of 2002, it’s also more than plausible Tom Bakk wants to keep his powder dry.

In other words, presence of no DFL senators is a non-factor, unless you’re a low-information reader.

Grow next swerves through fact – and in so doing, undercuts his own premise.  I’ll add emphasis:

Rep. Michael Paymar, DFL-St. Paul, and the chairman of the House public safety committee, has indicated he has no desire to have the bill heard by his committee. Paymar is pushing a bill that would require purchasers of guns at flea markets and gun shows to go through background checks.

Yet, given the large number of co-authors with Hilstrom, there likely are ways for the bill to weave its way through the legislative process.

Yes.  There are a large number of co-authors; so many they had to submit it not one, not two, but three times to get them all on.  Over half of the House is signed on as authors of the bill.

Michael Paymar wants to thwart the will of the representatives of over half of Minnesota’s voters?

Putting Thirty Shots From An AR15 Into A Strawman

Finally, Grow takes his whacks at some of the legislators who’ve violated the DFL’s narrative:

[Representative Tony] Cornish, usually a lightning rod in the gun debate, said he was taking a different role regarding the fate of this bill.

“Several of my statements (in the past) have been controversial,’’ he said. “Today my role is to be a peacemaker.’’

No sooner had he said that than he uttered a statement that raises the hackles of those hoping for stronger gun measures.

“I want to thank the NRA for helping (on the bill),’’ he said. He went on to say that the bill “contains nothing for gun owners to fear.’’

Er, who’s “hackles” got “raised”, here?  And why?

Was it the involvement of the NRA?  Your dog whistles aren’t our problem.

Or was it the quote about gun owners having nothing to fear?  Is that the actual goal, here?

Hilstrom, in her seventh term, refused to talk about her true feelings of the bill. Rather, she kept speaking of the importance of “passing a bill that will solve real problems.’’

She did point out that she never has sought the endorsement of the NRA and that in the past she has received a “C,’’ “D,’’ and “F’’ from the NRA.


So what?

If she’s doing the right thing – which, for a majority of Minnesotans, is “solving problems”, rather than attacking the law-abiding gun owner – then I don’t care if she’s a life-time “F” rating.  And I don’t care about her true feelings; I don’t care if she’s being used as an escape hatch by the DFL to get out of the embarassment of the Paymar/Hausman gun grab bills.

Guess Who!

Finally:  I owe the Twin Cities media an apology.  I’ve said that Larry Jacobs is the most over-quoted person in the Twin Cities media.  And he is.  David Schultz is right up there.

But in the “single-issue” category, Heather Martens – “Executive Director” and, near as we can tell, one of less than a half-dozen members of “Protect Minnesota” (and de facto representative of House District 66A) and a woman whose entire body of public assertions is lies, dwarfs them all:

Heather Martens, executive director of Protect Minnesota, derided the bill as “NRA-approved.’’

Boo!  Boogeyman!  Hiss!

Listen, MinnPost-reading dogs!  There’s your whistle!

“Any bill that fails to address the gaping holes in our background check law falls far short of the public’s demand for the right to be safe in our communities,’’ Martens said in a statement.

And there’s another lie.  The bill does address the gaping hole that exists in the background check laws.

No, not the misnamed “gun show loophole”, which is another media myth.   The real gap is  the data that the state isn’t sending to the feds; the Hilstrom bill fixes it.

GOCRA’s Mountain, Grow And Martens’ Molehill

Leaving aside the fact that Grow got pretty much everything in this story wrong – and wrong in a way that suggests not only that he wasn’t at Hilstrom’s press conference but that he wrote the whole thing straight from chanting points long before Hilstrom took to the microphone – the most pernicious thing about Grow’s story is that it tries to create the impression that there’s a genuine battle between two titanically-powerful sides to this debate.

There’s not.

In terms of legislators?  A bipartisan sample of over half of the House is on board co-authoring Hilstrom’s bill(s).  A thin, runny film of metro-DFL extremists is backing the Paymar/Hausman/Simonson gun grab bills.

In terms of the public?  Last month, GOCRA put out a call for people to come to the Capitol.  And they did.

No, really:

“Protect Minnesota” and “Moms Demand Action” put out a call yesterday for people to come out and protest against Hilstrom’s bill.

Here they are:


Well, not literally.  But no, other than Heather Martens, nobody showed up.

There are literally more DFL legislators co-authoring Hilstrom’s bill than there are members of “Protect Minnesota” and the “Moms Demand Action” put together.

More Work To Do

After wasting a solid two weeks of the legislature’s time with a raft of gun grab bills that had no business seeing the light of day, the DFL is back at it.

Michael Paymar is pushing a rights-crushing omnibus gun bill so obnoxious it needs to be handled with tongs – a bill that punishes the law-abiding first, and worries about criminals…uh, they’ll get back to you on that.

In the meantime, the House GOP will be announcing an alternative bill later today – one that goes after criminals, and leaves the rights of the law-abiding citizen where they belong.

There’s work to be done, of course.

Call your representative – yep, again – and tell ’em Paymar bill bad, GOP bill good.

And call the members of the House Public Safety Finance Committee and tell them that the Paymar bill isn’t fit to wipe the hindquarters of a sick goat on a 100 degree day.

Via GOCRA, here’s the contact info for the committee, along with some commentary on each individual committee member:

Let’s show Rep. Paymar’s that Minnesotans oppose his assault on our rights by defeating his bill in his own committee. Ask them to SAY NO to the Paymar bill (HF237) and SAY YES to the GOCRA-approved alternate bill.


Representative Michael Paymar (DFL) – Chairman
You can suggest that Rep. Paymar simply scrap his bill and sign on to the alternate bill.


Representative Paul Rosenthal (DFL) – Vice Chairman



Rep. Rosenthal authored HF294, which would gut the civil rights protections of Minnesota’s Permit to Carry Law by allowing sheriffs to deny permits on the weakest of grounds. Tell him he should be working to punish criminals, not law-abiding citizens.


Representative Tony Cornish (R) – Republican Lead



Give Rep. Cornish a big THANK YOU for his strong support of your rights!


 Representative Debra Hilstrom (DFL)



Thank Rep. Hilstrom for her strong rejection of registration schemes, as well as magazine and rifle bans, and thank her for supporting the alternate bill. (One newspaper has reported that she will be the alternate bill’s chief author!)


 Representative Brian Johnson (R)



Rep. Johnson is new at the legislature this year, and will be under a lot of pressure to cave to gun control. Tell him to stand firm for our rights.


 Representative Tim Kelly (R)



Thank Rep. Kelly for his consistent votes for gun rights.


Representative Andrea Kieffer (R)



Rep. Kieffer has been a strong voice in the fight for your rights, and deserves your thanks.


 Representative John Lesch (DFL)


Remind Rep. Lesch that “equal protection” means just that — city folks have the same civil rights as country folks.


 Representative Kathy Lohmer (R)


Please thank Rep. Lohmer for her strong support of your rights!


 Representative Joe Mullery (DFL)



Rep. Mullery has been an opponent of gun rights for a long time. Remind him that if we work together, we can improve mental health and conviction reporting, and make our existing laws work better.


 Representative Jim Newberger (R)



Rep. Newberger is a strong supporter of your gun rights. Thank him for staying strong.


Representative Shannon Savick (DFL)



Rep. Savick is a rural DFLer who needs to be reminded that her constituents will not tolerate new gun control.


 Representative Dan Schoen (DFL)



Remind Rep. Schoen that as a police officer, he knows who the real bad guys are: they’re not the law-abiding Minnesota gun owners, and they won’t follow new gun control laws any more than they follow the existing ones.


Representative Steve Simon (DFL)



Rep. Simon is a smart, principled lawyer: he knows that the Supreme Court has affirmed the right to keep and bear arms as an individual right. He also knows that stripping due processdoesn’t make us more free or more safe. But you can remind him anyway!


Representative Erik Simonson (DFL)



Rep. Simonson is a new representative. Remind him that gun control is DFL Kryptonite: it has cost the House its DFL majority before, and it will again.


Representative Linda Slocum (DFL)



Representative Slocum is a co-author on several gun control bills this session.  Tell her that focusing on the bad guys, not law-abiding gun owners, is the place to start.


Representative Mark Uglem (R)



Remind Rep. Uglem that the Second Amendment is not about hunting — it is a fundamental human, civil and Constitutional right, worthy of the strongest protection.


Representative John Ward (DFL)


Thank Rep. Ward for his past support of your gun rights and encourage him to continue to do so.

The way I read this, it breaks down to 6 gun grabbers, 9 pro-Second-Amendment voters, and 3 up in the air – Simon, Schoen and Savick.

You know your job.

Be Intimidated!

Last week, it came to our attention that the local lefty alt-media was shilling for the DFL meme that anti-gun Representatives felt “intimidated” by the presence of all the gun owners – people with carry permits who’ve passed criminal background checks, and are thus most likely less apt to resort to violence than, well, the Representatives and Senators on the panels – in the audience.

I feel I should respond to this.

I’ll neither confirm nor deny that I have a carry permit, a handgun, or permission to carry in the Capitol complex.  If I do, I would never carry openly, primary out of deference to the warped sensitivities of the ones complaining; “pick your battles”, I always say.

But I’ll urge you, gun-grabbing DFL legislator, to be intimidated.

Be intimidated by the fact that I, like most of the pro-Gun Rights people I know, know more about the issue than you do.  Be intimidated that I make the anti-gun, pro-gun control argument better than you, and better than Heather Martens, for that matter – and can then turn around and destroy it.  With facts, history, the law, and a lot of style.

Be intimidated by the fact that I, and most of the pro-Gun Rights people I know, take that superior knowledge out to my fellow MInnesotans, one by one, and win them over, just as we have been for 25 years now.

Be intimidated by the fact that I am one member of what was, 10 years ago, one of the most amazing grassroots political movements in Minnesota political history, the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance which, with no help from corporate donors or Rockefellers or PACs, started rolling a big heavy rock up a very high, steep hill in 1995 – and won the issue in 2003, playing a key role in flipping the House of Representatives along the way.

Be intimidated by the fact that GOCRA, and other gun rights groups and the people they represent, are coming back bigger and tougher and more focused than ever before.

Be intimidated by the fact that our movement adds more people every day than will ever show up at a gun control rally, and that every one of those people understands the issue better than any of the anti-gunners, and most of  you legislators as well.

Be intimidated by the fact that we have energy, savvy, and the grim determination to crush you, rhetorically speaking.  We’ve been through this before.  We’ve run the marathon – the seven-year battle to enact Shall Issue.  You’ve run the sprint.  Who’s going to be still up and standing and fighting in a year?  Two years? Four years?

My gun – if I have one, and if I’m carrying it?  That’s literally, figuratively and statistically the least of your worries.

The Hill To Die On

We Real Americans – that defined as “Americans who support all ten Amendments in the Bill of Rights, the Second and Tenth as devoutly as the First and Fourth – know that giving any ground with the gun grabbers is a fool’s bargain.  The metrocrat Orcs will exploit any opening we Real Americans give them to harass us, badger us, turn us – the most law-abiding people in this country – into criminals.

The “assault weapon” bans are – or were – stupid, and would not affect crime in the least (or at least would never reduce it).  Magazine restrictions are also of no actual value as anything but harassing the law-abiding, as well as putting them (in rare cases) at a disadvantage to criminals.

But it gets worse.

This just in from GOCRA:  The worst of them all is up on the dock now:

The most dangerous bill this session is not a magazine ban, or an “assault weapon” ban. It’s universal registration, masquerading as “universal background checks.”

It’s called SF 458, and it will be heard on THURSDAY at the state capitol. GOCRA will be there to fight it. Will you?

I’ll give it my best shot.  Hope you can too.

Why is this bill so bad?  For starters, because it’ll tack $25 onto the sale prices of a firearm, plus $25 for permit to purchase – which makes firearms $50 harder to obtain for the poor (who are, after all, the ones the DFL wants to disarm…first).

Worse?  It’s registration!  It doesn’t go by the name, but that’s exactly what it is; a paper trail leading, over time, to every single gun in the United States.

This bill needs to be not just defeated; it needs to be crushed and humiliated.  Any outstate DFLer that supports it needs to feel the wrath of every gun owner in their district, sports or self-defense.  Any Republican who supports this abomination must be primaried and expunged from public life.

No retreat.

No surrender.

No compromise on the rights of the law-abiding.

No mercy for the politicians who get it wrong.

Here’s the hearing schedule; all hearings are in room 15 of the State Capitol. Get there two hours early to get a seat in the hearing room, or use overflow seating with a closed-circuit feed of the hearings.

Please let us know if you plan to attend (and which session) by sending an email to

Thursday, February 21
Noon: SF 235, 458, 69

Thursday, February 21
6 p.m.:  Public testimony on SF 235, 503, 69, 458, 557, 520, 400, 413 and 568

Friday, February 22

Noon: SF 503, 557, 520, 400, 413, 568

You can read summaries of all gun grab bills at the Gocra website.

And remember; don’t commit a felony! Only liberals get away with gun crimes, so please remember to notify the DPS as required if you intend to carry at the Capitol. GOCRA’s simple instructions are right here.

That Growing Sense The DFL Lost That One

I used to read a lot of liberal bloggers.  I don’t so much anymore; part of it’s the time; part of it is that there are so few good ones.

A few Minnesota liberal blogs – one in particular, but I’m not naming names – have a particularly annoying habit when they get pressed in an argument with a rare conservative commenter; if it’s not going well for them, one of the blog’s writers will dig hard to wrench context hard enough to find some sort of offense in the comment; he’ll feign the Victorian Vapours at the (contrived) offense…

…which has the side-effect of taking the focus of the debate off of, well, the debate.

I’m not sure I’m surprised to hear this next story – that the Minnesota DFL is using the same precise tactic after having been shredded in the marketplace of public opinion last week.

am a little surprised at the person asking the questions.

From: Nick Coleman <[redacted]@[The Uptake].org>

Date: Wed, Feb 13, 2013 at 8:15 AM

Subject: guns at capitol query

To: [redacted]

Joe, Andrew, et al:

There is a growing sense at the Capitol that the presence of so many guns during last week’s gun control hearings affected the process, or even intimidated Legislators. Would you please comment today for a story I am writing for The UpTake?

Is it possible to debate guns in a room full of guns?


Nick Coleman

Executive Editor, The UpTake


Oh, good lord.

The “Growing Sense” is weasel words for “a conclusion that we can’t actually substantiate”.

A little background here: a carry permittee – a person who has passed a background check and taken a training course – can get permission to carry in the Capitol and the State Office Buildings by informing the head of Capitol security they intend to do so.

And those notifications spiked big-time before Gun Week, last week, as carry permittees – out of symbolism or the practical desire not to have to sweat storing their firearms in their cars – filed with the capitol cops.

Are some legislators intimidated by the existence of firearms?  No doubt.

Are they right to be intimidated by a population that is two orders of magnitude less likely to commit any significant crime than the general public?

No more than they would be to feel “intimidated” by exercise of free speech, worship, press (or radio) or assembly – although some of them are.  And they’re wrong then, too.

And the cutesy final question: “Is it possible to debate guns in a room full of guns?”  Given the reality – carry permittees are safer to be around than just about anyone – the answer is “just as possible as it is in a room full of speech, assembly or religion”.

But let’s cut the crap: the only “growing sense” is among the DFL Caucus’ PR flaks (and, let’s be honest, Alida Messinger and Carrie Lucking) that they need to do something good ‘n Alinsky-riffic to try to undercut the groundswell of popular opinion that swarmed the Capitol last week and humiliated the DFL representatives and their copy-and-pasted bills.

Andrew Rothman, VP of the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance, had a response too.  It’s below the jump.  And it includes a classic story about Heather Martens, from the late Joel Rosenberg, that is perhaps one of the best examples of the hyperbolic hypocrisy of the gun-grabber movement…

…and its’ new stenographer, Nick Coleman.

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Open Letter To Rep. Betty McCollum

To: Rep. Betty McCollum
From: Mitch Berg, Peasant
Re:  Mission Accomplished!

Rep. McCollum:

You had a “Town Hall” meeting deep in the heart of DFL-addled Oakdale yesterday.   MNCD4 Conservative was there to shoot video.

And even there, even you couldn’t dodge talking about the Second Amendment .

Video below the jump, so that the rest of the page can actually load:

Continue reading

The Sheriff Shot Back

The media yaks endlessly about the thin film of Minnesota law-enforcement leaders – Dakota County sheriff Bellows and prosecutor Jim Backstrom, Chaska’s Scott Knight and a few others – who bark for gun control when the DFL tells them to.

The following group – related in a news release from the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance – somehow got less coverage (emphasis added):

Yesterday, Minnesota sheriffs — experts in both crime and politics — joined judges and legislators in proposing fact-based, realistic solutions to the problem of violence in our society.

These proposals focused on enforcing existing laws and making government bureaucracies do their jobs without infringing on the rights of the law-abiding 99%

The Minnesota Sheriffs Association, represented by Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek and Carver County Sheriff Jim Olson, laid out five specific recommendations:

Improving the completeness and accuracy of the state criminal records system

Making Minnesota courts quickly and accurately report civil mental health commitments that result in a firearms prohibition

Making these public mental health commitment records instantly available to street cops so they know who they may be facing when they arrive at a call for service

Providing earlier mental health assessments for jail inmates, so they get the help they need sooner

Reassessing Minnesota’s civil commitment laws to ensure that dangerously ill people get the treatment they need

GOCRA fully supports these policy proposals, and applauds the sheriffs and other coalition members for focusing on real, solvable issues, and not on fear-mongering. GOCRA also congratulates Senator Ron Latz (DFL-St. Louis Park), formerly an opponent of gun rights, for signing on to this practical approach.

These elected leaders and sworn law enforcement officials recognize that their law-abiding, gun-owning constituents are not the cause of societal violence, and that infringing on the Constitutional rights that they swore to support and defend will not make us safer.

Their common-sense, to-the-point recommendations should be given immediate attention by the Minnesota Legislature.

You would do well to contact Sheriffs Stanek and Olson – and especially Rep. Latz.  Yes, he’s DFLer, but not only is he one of the DFLers that actually thinks about the issue, he’s one of the first in the metro area to break ranks with the orcs.

Fire In A Crowded Theater

In case I haven’t mentioned it before – a billion thanks to Professor Joe Olson and the rest of the crew at the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance for ensuring Minnesota’s carry permit law was written so that carry permits are not public records.

While the safety of the individual carry permittee wasn’t the primary reason, the depraved indifference of some – many – journalists to the safety and well-being of people who oppose their editorial agenda, and their families, is reason enough to say “Thanks, Joe and GOCRA”.

We’re a lot luckier than the poor saps in New York, the legal, law-abiding carry permit holders whose names and addresses were published by the in-the-bag-for-the-left News Journal.

It’d seem that the information has been used to target the law-abiding citizens for attack.  A White Plains (NY) homeowner targeted by the News Journal was burglarized; his gun cabinet was singled out:

A White Plains residence pinpointed on a controversial handgun permit database was burglarized Saturday, and the burglars’ target was the homeowner’s gun safe.

At least two burglars broke into a home on Davis Avenue at 9:30 p.m. Saturday but were unsuccessful in an attempt to open the safe, which contained legally owned weapons, according to a law enforcement source. One suspect was taken into custody, the source said.

The News Journal’s interactive online map of…:

  • law abiding citizens, who…
  • …passed a stringent background check, and were…
  • …issued carry permits by the State of New York…

…served no news purpose whatsoever; under any other circumstance, a list of demonstrably law-abiding people who’ve obtained a legal document under normal processes is the very definition of “dog licks dog”, journalistically speaking.

Since there’s no news purpose, the only reason for the “story” was politically-motivated badgering of law-abiding citizens.

Which is an interesting juxtaposition; in producing a “story” about people exercising their Constitutional rights in a thoroughly law-abiding manner, the News Journal, with the blessing (or silent acquiescence, which is the same thing) of much of the American mainstream media, abused their First Amendment rights; isn’t pointing a big red “Burgle Me!” sign at citizens the very definition of “fighting words?”

The gun owner was not home when the burglary occurred, the source said. The victim, who is in his 70s, told Newsday on Sunday that he did not want to comment while the police investigation continues.

Police are investigating what role, if any, the database played in the burglars’ decision to target the home, the law enforcement source said.

Prediction:  under political pressure from Andrew Cuomo, the police will play down any connection they find.

Don’t believe your own lying eyes, peasants!

The News Journal should be sued out of existence.  If the homeowner (and the other citizens whose privacy was frivolously gang-raped by their idiot media) decide to file a suit, I’ll be happy to send a buck or two to their legal attack fund.


Joe Doakes from Como Park writes:

New sign posted this week at the front entrance to Ramsey County Property Records and Revenue (the place where you file your deed and pay your taxes), located at 90 West Plato Blvd. It’s across the river from downtown.

The building sits on land owned by Ramsey County government and used for official government business.

The “guns banned” sign comes from Minn. Stat. 624.714, Subd. 17. That law allows posting by a private establishment controlled by a nongovernment entity and used for a nongovernment purpose. On its face, that law does not apply to the government office where the public comes to pay taxes.

Quiz of the day question: are guns banned in that building because of that sign?

Joe Doakes

Como Park

I’m going to guess that the building has some connection to the Ramco Court system, and can be legally posted.  It’s the same technicality that the City of Minneapolis used to arrest Joel Rosenberg a few years back; even though he wasn’t in a “court” facility per se, the court system was involved with the building.

That’s just a hunch, and I can’t say as I’m going to line up to be the text case.

That being said, I’m going to shine the GOCRA signal on a passing cloud and hope a real gun-rights expert turns up…

Vote Accordingly

The Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance has released its candidate grades.

When reading this, remember – “F*”, with the asterisk, means “didn’t return the questionnaire”.  While most Republicans (and a huge proportion of DFLers outside the metro) scored well, plenty of Republicans in tough DFL districts who would be solid on the Second Amendment very likely let the questionnaire slide; you gotta pick your battles.  Don’t be put off by all the F* grades, anyway.

But most importantly, remember – the Second Amendment is a guarantee of a human and civil right.  I’d vote for an anti-gun candidate no more than I would a pro-censorship one.

Either should you.

As You Make Your Primary Choices

The Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance has released its candidate scorecard.

Be advised that anyone that didn’t return their scorecard gets an “F*”, based on the assumption that people who don’t return questionnaires are trying to hide their sentiments until after election time.  I think that may have been a fair assumption ten years ago; In the case of many Republican candidates – for instances, District 65’s Senate and both House candidates – I think it’s more a matter of pro-gun libertarians not wanting to hand the DFL another cheap chanting point in a tough area.

And let’s give credit where it’s due; while I’ve railed against Steve Smith’s record in many areas, he’s been a solid Second Amendment vote, although I don’t see Cindy Pugh being any less a supporter.

At any rate, there you go.  Vote accordingly.

In Memory, With A Side Order Of Spiking The Ball

Let’s go back in time ten years.

Back then, as the plucky underdogs of “Concealed Carry Reform Now” worked away at the biggest grassroots political coup in Minnesota pre-Tea-Party history, the orcs of the anti-gun movement sawed gamely away at a series of memes to try to scare people out of voting for the measure:

  • “There’ll be blood in the streets!”
  • “People will kill each other over fender-benders!”
  • “It’ll be a danger to law enforcement!”
  • “Gang-bangers will get permits to carry”. (Seriously.  They said that).
  • And, paradoxically, “nobody really wants them”.

None of them came true, naturally – in Minnesota or any of the 40-odd other states with “Shall Issue” laws.  The only real value to come of any of those memes was that the DFL got to practice what it preached…as rel environmentalism.  Because they re-used all of those memes to try to similarly poison the well against “Stand Your Ground” bills, which are if anything vastly more socially benign than “Shall Issue!”

But that’s next year’s battle.  Today, let’s look back. Because today, we’re observing a mournful anniversary, and celebrating an ass-kicking milestone.


Saturday is the first anniversary of the passing of my friend and first carry permit instructor, Joel Rosenberg.

Borrowed from the GOCRA website

Joel was the beating heart and the rapier wit of the Second Amendment movement in Minnesota; where there were trenches to be fought in, he was there.  The passage of the Minnesota Personal Protection Act was a monument to lots of people – Joe Olson, the whole GOCRA/CCRN crew, Senator Pat Pariseau and Representative Linda Boudreau (who wrote the legislation for years and years until finally passed), a far-sighted GOP minority and a fair-minded, human-rights-focused minority of outstate DFLers – and of course, Joel, who spent the better part of a decade bouncing peripatetically about between all of them.

And it’s perhaps fitting that, just in time for this sad anniversary, there is happy news.

The Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance – which has led the way on Second Amendment issues in this state for nearly 20 years, issued a press release (I’ve added emphasis):

As of this month 101,357 Minnesotans have been issued carry permits, according to  a report issued by the Department of Public Safety yesterday morning.

More than 100,000 law-abiding gun citizens now hold Minnesota handgun carry permits, according to the latest monthly report from the state’s Department of Public Safety (see attachment). The permits are issued under the Minnesota Citizens Personal Protection Act. As of May 30, 101,357 permits were active.

Permits by Year Courtesy GOCRA

The statute, known as a “shall-issue” law, requires county sheriffs to issue a five-year carry permit to any law-abiding citizen who has received certified training and passed criminal, mental health and substance abuse background checks.

Permitees by age. Courtesy GOCRA

Passed in 2003 and re-passed in 2005 following a court challenge on a legal technicality, the statute, replaced a previous “may-issue” system that allowed police chiefs and sheriffs absolute discretion to grant or deny a permit for any or no reason. Under the previous system, some jurisdictions issued permits freely, while others refused to issue any for personal protection.


1 in 7 permittees is femaile. Courtesy GOCRA.

“Self defense is a human right,” said Joseph E. Olson, a law professor and president of the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance, which lobbied for the law for more than a decade. “And the right to bear arms is a Constitutional right. Now, one in 40 Minnesota adults has exercised that right.”

That’s 50,000 more than I’d figured we’d ever have.  10,000 more than the 90K estimate from the Legislative Auditor’s office – a  figure the DFL bandied around like a scary story to keep kids in line.

101,357 law-abiding Minnesotans with currently active permits to carry firearms in public.

It’s a wonderful thing.

Let’s take the occasion to go over a few bits of news you can use about the issue:

  • Notwithstanding Wes “Lying Sack of Garbage” Skoglund and Heather Martens’ and Jane Ranum and Ellen Anderson’s assurances, not a single carry permit holder has been accused, much less convicted, of a single unambiguously-wrongful shooting.  Skoglund’s demented twaddle about “gang bangers with permits” and “people with permits stalking me” has proven to be even less accurate, much less prescient, than the DFL’s usual addlepated pandering to the uninformed and ignorant (see also: the campaign against “Stand Your Ground”).
  • There are been two justifiable homicides carried out by carry permit holders – the Evanovich case and the Grumpy’s incident.  In both incidents, the Hennepin County Attorney’s office (!!!) stated without any muss or fuss that the civilians involved – a good samaritan and a bouncer, respectively – had acted justifiably.
  • There was one highly ambiguous incident – the Treptow case, in which a citizen shot  (and wounded about as lightly as it’s possible to wound someone with a handgun at four feet range) a road-raging motorist who was pointing a gun at his pregnant wife – and happened to be an “undercover” cop.  Official Minnesota closed ranks around the officer.  The case was a miscarriage of justice for which heads should roll, in the next world if not this (but preferably this).
  • Treptow case notwithstanding, there has not been a single accusation, much less conviction, of a post-2003 permit holder on any crime of gun-related violence.  Not one.
  • Minnesota has a murder rate of 2.2 per 100,000 people (and the gun homicide rate is 1.47 per 100,000).  That means of every 100,000 MInnesotans, 2,2 are murdered every year.  Among the population of Minnesota carry permittees, then, the murder rate (leaving out homicides ruled justifiable) is 0 per 100,000.   Considered over the nine year history of the shall-issue law, that means Minnesotans with legal carry permits are less likely to commit crime by a factor of 0 divided by 2.2, also technically known as “infinity”.  Minnesota Carry Permittees are infinitely safer than the rest of the population.
  • But why so bloodthirsty?  Although nobody keeps statistics on the subject, we know anecdotally that there’ve been  dozens, possibly hundreds of defensive gun uses (DGUs) over the past nine years carried out by carry permittees, mostly without a shot being fired.
  • Nobody really knows what percentage of eligible citizens (people with clean records who pass background checks and take a safety course and are over 21 years old, in Minnesota) get their permits – the rule of thumb used to be about 1% of a state’s eligible population.  If that rule of thumb was accurate, then Minnesota is a showcase for carry permit adoption; 100,000 out of four million (that’s a rough guess as to the number of eligible adults over 21 years old in Minnesota) is 2.5%, which is spectacular.

While it’s a long way to go to get to the goal – every law-abiding American exercising his duty to protect their and their family’s lives and liberty – it’s a great start.

And I think Joel would appreciate that.


Don’t Stop

The governor has until midnight tonight – Monday – to sign or veto the Cornish “Stand Your Ground” bill.

I suspect he’ll veto it.  He’ll probably claim the people don’t support it.

Let’s make sure he and his staff know better.

Invest fifteen seconds in furthering freedom.

This will remain at the top of this blog until this issue is resolved.

In The Governor’s Court

The Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance sends us this reminder:
“You’ve sure been posting a lot of calls for people to call people, Mitch”.

Yep.  That’s grassroots politics.  You get your people to show up – on the phone lines and in the mail bags while the sausage is being made, and then again at the polls when it’s time to give your politicians their thumbs up or thumbs down.

So let’s do this.

Remind the Governor that he ran as a “pro-Second Amendment” guy two years ago.  And not just as some chucklehead hunter; no, he sold himself as a self-defense shooter.

And tactfully remind him that his ‘law enforcement” sources are uniformly filled to capacity with sh*t are in error about the whole “legalizing murder” bit, and that we all know it.

We’re here.  We’re shooters.  We’ve swung elections before; we’re why Rod Grams went to DC, and why the GOP took the House ten years ago.

And we’re not going away.

And we prove that by, well, not going away.  By being his worst f*****g nightmare, on the phones today, and at the polls this fall.

Time To Stand Up For “Stand Your Ground”

I got this from the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance this morning; Tony Cornish’s “Stand Your Ground” bill comes up for debate in the Senate tomorrow.

I’m going to start with the call to action, and let you read the rest of it later.

Here’s What We Need To Do:  If you are a Minnesotan who supports the human right of self-defense, here’s where it starts:

  • Call Your Senator – Or send them a snail mail.  Or at the very least, an email. Here’s a full list.  Tell them, politely and concisely, that you support the human right of self-defense, and that you want them to support SF1357.  For the Republicans, remember – we shooters supported the GOP in 2010; they need to earn that support.  For Democrats outside the Metro, remind them how many shooters are in their district (lots!).   For Metrocrats?  Call anyway.  And then call a real Senator.
  • Join the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance – GOCRA is the single best source of information on Minnesota gun issues there is.  They were fighting for Minnesotans’ gun rights long before most Minnesotans knew it was cool.  And they have been among the most effective grass-roots (as in real grass-roots) political groups anywhere.  And it’s because of people like us.  So join the group.

What’s So Important About The Bill? – This is from Andrew Rothman at GOCRA:

HF1467/SF1357 Summary

HF1467/SF1357, the Defense of Dwelling and Person Act of 2011, brings “Stand Your Ground” protections to Minnesota, restores the presumption that a person using self defense is innocent until proven guilty, enhances Castle Doctrine, prevents the state from seizing guns during an emergency (remember Hurricane Katrina?), improves carry reciprocity with other states and requires the government to do its job to serve law-abiding citizens.

The full text of the bill can be found here:

Here’s some more detail about the bill:

Adds Stand Your Ground

HF1467 brings “Stand Your Ground” protections to Minnesota, removing the requirement that an intended victim of violent crime must retreat from a place where he has a right to be before using deadly force in self defense.

Enhances Castle Doctrine

The bill also strengthens Minnesota’s “Castle Doctrine,” clarifying when and under what circumstances individuals can legally use deadly force to protect themselves in their homes and vehicles. In addition, it creates a presumption that, when faced with an apparent home invasion, carjacking or kidnapping attempt, a person may use deadly force in self defense.

Adds Universal Carry Permit Acceptance

Of particular interest to carry permit holders, the final article of the bill updates our carry permit reciprocity standards, allowing people holding carry permits from any other state to carry in Minnesota (under Minnesota law, of course). This should result in a large increase in the number of states where Minnesota permit holders can carry, since many states allow other states’ permit holders to carry on a reciprocal basis.

Prevents Gun Seizures During a State of Emergency

Taking a lesson from the problems in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, the bill also bans government agencies from seizing guns or ammo, revoking permits to purchase or carry, closing gun shops, or otherwise suspending our constitutional rights during a civil emergency — or at any other time. It also prohibits law enforcement officers from seizing a person’s gun, unless the person is arrested, or the gun is evidence of a crime.

Enhances Purchase Permit Rights

The bill also borrows a page from the Permit to Carry law, providing a more robust appeal process for denied purchase permits, and requiring that police chiefs and sheriffs whose purchase permit denials are overturned must pay the applicants’ legal costs.

This important stuff.

Oh, yeah – one more thing:  We shooters used to be really, really good at focusing our votes.  When Concealed Carry Reform was wending its way through the legislature for those nine long sessions (1995 through 2003), we voted a lot of soft-on-guns outstate legislators out of office; literally, we shooters (organized by GOCRA), swung Minnesota politics.

We need to do it again.  Minnesota’s anti-gun crowd is getting restless. We need to slap them down at the ballot box.  Anti-gun legislators – and other elected officials – need to find out how serious we are by being sent into political retirement.  Which is another reason to please, please join GOCRA.

Democrats: “Americans Are Eggs; We Are The Chefs”

As we’ve been showing this past week on this blog, Governor Dayton has been using poor Minnesotans as an anvil on which to try to hammer the GOP, intentionally ratcheting up the pain to them of a possible government shutdown.

It’s part of a great liberal liberal tradition; individuals can, and if need be must, be sacrified to “the greater good” (which, to modern progressives, means “liberals retaining power”).

Perhaps you’ve heard – the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has been busted running a “sting” that only stung Americans.

Operation Gunwalker – aka “Fast and Furious” –  has unravelled, with allegations that at very best, it was an incompetently-run operation which allowed thousands of guns to go, untraceably but with tacit, undercover government blessing, to Mexico.  Guns involved in Gunwalker are alleged to have been involved in the death of at least one Border Patrol agent.

And that’s the best that can be said about it.  Because…

The most damning revelations coming out of the hearings on Operation Fast and Furious held by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform are the unmistakable indications that the program was never designed to succeed as a law enforcement operation at all.

The fact that failed as law-enforcement is bad enough.  It gets worse:

A quartet of Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) agents and supervisors turned into whistleblowers to bring the operation down, but only after U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was gunned down in the Arizona desert. Two of the weapons recovered at the scene of Terry’s murder were traced to the operation.

Bear in mind that every single weapon was bought by a known “straw buyer” under surveillance from the ATF; every single weapon was brought to, and across the border, where it vanished from ATF surveillance.

No, really:

ATF agents testifying in front of the House Oversight Committee could not explain how the operation was supposed to succeed when their surveillance efforts stopped at the border and interdiction was never an option.

ATF Agent John Dodson, testifying in front of the committee, said that in his entire law enforcement career, he had “never been involved in or even heard of an operation in which law enforcement officers let guns walk.” He continued: “I cannot begin to think of how the risk of letting guns fall into the hands of known criminals could possibly advance any legitimate law enforcement interest.”

Note that the entire gun rights movement – the NRA, the GOA, GOCRA, every single one of us – favors keeping guns out of the hands of criminals.

But why would the government do this?  Emphasis added:

The obvious answer is that Gunwalker’s objective was never intended to be a “legitimate law enforcement interest.” Instead, it appears that ATF Acting Director Ken Melson and Department of Justice senior executives specifically created an operation that was designed from the outset to arm Mexican narco-terrorists and increase violence substantially along both sides of the Southwest border.

Success was measured not by the number of criminals being incarcerated, but by the number of weapons transiting the border and the violence those weapons caused…At the same time in 2009 that federal law enforcement agencies (the ATF, the DOJ, and presumably Janet Napolitano’s Department of Homeland Security) were creating the operation that led to the executive branch being the largest gun smuggler in the Southwest, the president’s team was crafting the rhetoric to sell the crisis they were creating.

On television, in various news outlets, and even in a joint appearance with Mexican President Felipe Calderon, Obama pushed the 90 percent lie, implying that 90% of the guns recovered in Mexican cartel violence came from U.S. gun shops.

Like Dayton here in Minnesota, Obama and his administration cynically created a crisis to advance their “progressive” political goals.

It’s the stuff of conspiracy theories – except the evidence is right there, in the words from the ATF whistle blowers.

Unlike Dayton (so far), Obama’s perfidy has claimed the life of a US public servant.

This is worse than Iran-Contra, which never killed any Americans.   Indeed, if the allegations are true, it may be the worst abuse of government power I can remember – because with its complete lack of law-enforcement value, it is intended solely to infringe on the human rights of millions of law-abiding Americans, by way of killing hundreds of Mexicans and one unwitting US cop.

If it were a Republican plan, it would be front-page news.

Progressivism will kill you – literally – if it needs to to meet its goals.

Joel Rosenberg – RIP

I’ve been off the grid for the past couple of days. I was shocked to hear from friends this morning that Joel Rosenberg has died.

Joel was accomplished at many things; a science fiction writer with dozens of book credits, he was best known to civil liberties advocates in Minnesota as the beating heart and the rapier wit of the Self Defense movement.  That’s where I met Joel, of course, close to 20 years ago, one of the small group of activists with a vision that led to the most successful bit  of pre-Tea-Party grassroots politics in Minnesota history, the passage of the Minnesota Personal Protection Act.  A long-time DFLer, Joel had a mission.  From his obit at the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance:

Rosenberg became interested in guns and self defense more that 20 years ago, after receiving a series of anonymous death threats from a professed neo-Nazi. He applied for and received an unlimited permit to carry a pistol from the Minneapolis Police, a rarity at the time, when citizens had to convince an official of a need for personal protection before being allowed to carry a gun for self defense.

Not content with securing the then-privilege for himself, Rosenberg worked with GOCRA pass the Minnesota Citizens Personal Protection Act of 2003, and was instrumental in its re-passage in 2005 after it was suspended by a court challenge. His online forum, active from 2005 to 2010, was an electronic gathering place for activists, hobbyists, students and others interested in guns in Minnesota.

He was my carry permit instructor; he was also Ed Morrissey’s, and Ed eulogizes him for his response in a moment of need:

When a friend or even an acquaintance was in trouble, he’d drop everything he could to help. I know this personally, and I’ll tell a story here that I’ve refrained from sharing for some time. I have long supported individual rights under the Second Amendment, but had rarely owned or shot a firearm until last summer. I was made aware of a threat against my life by law enforcement that they considered credible (I won’t get more specific than that; the suspect is now serving a prison sentence), and it was made clear to me that I needed to step up my personal security.

The first person I thought to call was Joel. He had made many appearances on our NARN shows over the years, so I knew him a little, but Joel responded like I was a long-lost brother. He immediately trained and certified me for a carry permit, and then helped me select the best pistol for the job. He offered me continuing support while agreeing to keep the matter very, very private. As it turned out, thankfully, the need for the pistol has diminished, but I feel much more secure thanks in large part to Joel. My family and I are safer because of him.

Joel was a mainstay of the local libertarian alt-media; he and his wife Felicia Herman had attended, as I recall, every single MOB party; his various  blogs and forums were the electronic gathering halls for the local human rights movement.  He was, of course, a mainstay of this blog’s comment section.

Joel died of complications from a heart attack.  He leaves behind his two daughters, as well as Felicia; today would have been their 32nd wedding anniversary.

Joel’s long battle with Minneapolis’ soulless autocracy had already exhausted the family and, I can’t help but think, Joel himself. If you can help out, his site is accepting donations.

Let’s Give Credit Where It’s Due

Here is the list of Minnesota House members who voted for HF1467 – which expands the human right of self-defense, and creates a legal possibility that demonstrably-legitimate self-defense shootings don’t have to plead “guilty with an explanation” for exercising the human right to defend their lives and their families from lethal threats.

If you see your representative on this list, please send them a nice “thank you”.

  • Abeler, Jim (R-48B)
  • Anderson, Bruce (R-19A)
  • Anderson, Paul (R-13A)
  • Anderson, Sarah (R-43A)
  • Anzelc, Tom (DFL-03A)
  • Banaian, King (R-15B)
  • Barrett, Bob (R-17B)
  • Beard, Michael (R-35A)
  • Benson, Mike (R-30B)
  • Bills, Kurt (R-37B)
  • Buesgens, Mark (R-35B)
  • Cornish, Tony (R-24B)
  • Crawford, Roger (R-08B)
  • Daudt, Kurt (R-17A)
  • Davids, Greg (R-31B)
  • Dean, Matt (R-52B)
  • Dettmer, Bob (R-52A)
  • Dill, David (DFL-06A)
  • Downey, Keith (R-41A)
  • Drazkowski, Steve (R-28B)
  • Eken, Kent (DFL-02A)
  • Erickson, Sondra (R-16A)
  • Fabian, Dan (R-01A)
  • Franson, Mary (R-11B)
  • Garofalo, Pat (R-36B)
  • Gottwalt, Steve (R-15A)
  • Gruenhagen, Glenn (R-25A)
  • Gunther, Bob (R-24A)
  • Hackbarth, Tom (R-48A)
  • Hamilton, Rod (R-22B)
  • Hancock, David (R-02B)
  • Holberg, Mary Liz (R-36A)
  • Hoppe, Joe (R-34B)
  • Hosch, Larry (DFL-14B)
  • Howes, Larry (R-04B)
  • Kath, Kory (DFL-26A)
  • Kelly, Tim (R-28A)
  • Kieffer, Andrea (R-56B)
  • Kiel, Debra (R-01B)
  • Kiffmeyer, Mary (R-16B)
  • Koenen, Lyle (DFL-20B)
  • Kriesel, John (R-57A)
  • Lanning, Morrie (R-09A)
  • Leidiger, Ernie (R-34A)
  • LeMieur, Mike (R-12B)
  • Lohmer, Kathy (R-56A)
  • Loon, Jenifer (R-42B)
  • Mack, Tara (R-37A)
  • Marquart, Paul (DFL-09B)
  • Mazorol, Pat (R-41B)
  • McDonald, Joe (R-19B)
  • McNamara, Denny (R-57B)
  • Melin, Carly (DFL-05B)
  • Murdock, Mark (R-10B)
  • Murray, Rich (R-27A)
  • Myhra, Pam (R-40A)
  • Nornes, Bud (R-10A)
  • O’Driscoll, Tim (R-14A)
  • Peppin, Joyce (R-32A)
  • Persell, John (DFL-04A)
  • Petersen, Branden (R-49B)
  • Poppe, Jeanne (DFL-27B)
  • Quam, Duane (R-29A)
  • Runbeck, Linda (R-53A)
  • Sanders, Tim (R-51A)
  • Schomacker, Joe (R-22A)
  • Scott, Peggy (R-49A)
  • Shimanski, Ron (R-18A)
  • Smith, Steve (R-33A)
  • Stensrud, Kirk (R-42A)
  • Swedzinski, Chris (R-21A)
  • Torkelson, Paul (R-21B)
  • Urdahl, Dean (R-18B)
  • Vogel, Bruce (R-13B)
  • Ward, John (DFL-12A)
  • Wardlow, Doug (R-38B)
  • Westrom, Torrey (R-11A)
  • Woodard, Kelby (R-25B)
  • Zellers, Kurt (R-32B)

I bolded the names of the DFLers who bucked their party’s elitist, anti-civil-liberty stance (knowing that their outstate districts would not be amused); if you are represented by any them, send them an especially nice note.  Gun rights in Minnesota depends, at the moment, on DFLers with principle standing up to the vile, statist rot that is the Metrocrat wing of the party.

The bad news?  Here are the ones that walked in the footsteps of Stalin and Pot and Mao, and voted against the bill:

  1. Benson, John (DFL-43B)
  2. Brynaert, Kathy (DFL-23B)
  3. Carlson Sr., Lyndon (DFL-45B)
  4. Champion, Bobby Joe (DFL-58B)
  5. Clark, Karen (DFL-61A)
  6. Davnie, Jim (DFL-62A)
  7. Dittrich, Denise (DFL-47A)
  8. Doepke, Connie (R-33B)
  9. Falk, Andrew (DFL-20A)
  10. Fritz, Patti (DFL-26B)
  11. Gauthier, Kerry (DFL-07B)
  12. Greene, Marion (DFL-60A)
  13. Greiling, Mindy (DFL-54A)
  14. Hansen, Rick (DFL-39A)
  15. Hausman, Alice (DFL-66B)
  16. Hayden, Jeff (DFL-61B)
  17. Hilstrom, Debra (DFL-46B)
  18. Hilty, Bill (DFL-08A)
  19. Hornstein, Frank (DFL-60B)
  20. Hortman, Melissa (DFL-47B)
  21. Huntley, Thomas (DFL-07A)
  22. Johnson, Sheldon (DFL-67B)
  23. Kahn, Phyllis (DFL-59B)
  24. Knuth, Kate (DFL-50B)
  25. Laine, Carolyn (DFL-50A)
  26. Lenczewski, Ann (DFL-40B)
  27. Lesch, John (DFL-66A)
  28. Lillie, Leon (DFL-55A)
  29. Loeffler, Diane (DFL-59A)
  30. Mahoney, Tim (DFL-67A)
  31. Mariani, Carlos (DFL-65B)
  32. McFarlane, Carol (R-53B)
  33. Moran, Rena (DFL-65A)
  34. Morrow, Terry (DFL-23A)
  35. Mullery, Joe (DFL-58A)
  36. Murphy, Erin (DFL-64A)
  37. Murphy, Mary (DFL-06B)
  38. Nelson, Michael V. (DFL-46A)
  39. Norton, Kim (DFL-29B)
  40. Paymar, Michael (DFL-64B)
  41. Pelowski Jr., Gene (DFL-31A)
  42. Peterson, Sandra (DFL-45A)
  43. Scalze, Bev (DFL-54B)
  44. Simon, Steve (DFL-44A)
  45. Slawik, Nora (DFL-55B)
  46. Slocum, Linda (DFL-63B)
  47. Thissen, Paul (DFL-63A)
  48. Tillberry, Tom (DFL-51B)
  49. Wagenius, Jean (DFL-62B)
  50. Winkler, Ryan (DFL-44B)

I bolded the two Republicans who should have known better.  If you are represented by either of them – or have an interest – please send them a polite note asking for their reasons.  Feel free to forward them to me, if you get a moment.

As to the other 48?  Most of them are metrocrats.  Most of them would get turned over their chairman’s knee and spanked if they broke with the DFL’s racist, paternalistic party line on this issue.  None of them is authorized to actually consider the facts, and none of them will.

(Lists courtesy of GOCRA)

You Know How You Can Tell There’s A Second-Amendment Bill In The Hopper (Part II)?

This morning, we went over the claims from “Spotty” from Cucking Stool that Rep. Cornish’s “Stand Your Ground” bill (HF 1467, which we discussed at great length last week) would allow people to make spurious claims of self-defense and, literally, get away with murder.

It won’t, of course – although Minnesota’s “progressives” want you to think so.  We’ll come back to that.

What it will do is bring some much-needed rationality to Minnesota’s self-defense law.

Let’s go through a  hypothetical example that, unlike Spotty’s, actually occurs in the real world.


Say that you are a woman.  You’re walking from your garage back to your  house, coming home from a picnic.  It’s dusk.  Your two kids are indoors, but the back door is open.  Suddenly, you hear a shout; it’s that stalker-y collections lawyer you met on, the one you told to pound sand after a noncommittal first date and a weird second one.  You told him you weren’t feeling it, and he’s been stalking you ever since.  You’ve even explored taking out a restraining order – but there’s no restraining him now.  He’s standing where he could come between you and the back door of the house.  He has a knife – a big, long knife.  Being a carry permit-holder, you grab your pistol and point, frantically remembering what your carry permit instructor taught you about the law last year:

  • He’s got a knife – so you have reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm to yourself and your children.  Check.
  • You are not a willing participant in this incident; you’ve made your lack of interest clear (which is one of the things that’s set the little fella off). Check.
  • If someone is coming at you with a knife, then you can probably convince a sane jury that lethal force is reasonable. Check.
  • You are in the back yard of your house.  The law re self defense says that you have to be sure of all of the above and make every “reasonable” effort to disengage and avoid the use of lethal force.  As you stand in the back  yard facing a stalker moving toward you with a knife, you need to decide; do you retreat toward the house to protect your kids, even though he could cut you off?  Or do you retreat back toward the garage (because defending your children means, conceivably, advancing on him)? And if he follows you, do you retreat completely off your property?  You need to decide this immediately, under life or death pressure, with your adrenaline pumping, in dimmer-than-ideal light, under mind-boggling stress.  However, the question “did you make every reasonable effort to avoid shooting” will be decided by a cop at a secured crime scene after the fact, and – more importantly – by a county attorney in a nice, warm, brightly lit office, protected by sheriff’s deputies and a metal detector.  How will they decide?  If you live in Kandiyohi County, you’ll probably get the benefit of a doubt.  If you live in Ramsey?  Your fate will be decided by a former frat boy who graduated in the top 60% of his class at the U of M Law School, who got his job because of his DFL party connections with Susan Gaertner, and who keeps his job based on how he pleases his city and county’s DFL leadership, who believe as a matter of policy that a shooting is a shooting is a shooting, whether it’s a woman defending herself or a gang-banger shooting a 15 year old girl.  Feel safer now?  Uh-oh.

Back to “Spotty”.

And  here are two subdivisions that deal with the consequences to the user of deadly force after the event.

The bill says that if some one even claims self defense, they are immune from arrest — which might include even detention at the place of an incident of the use of deadly force — until an arresting officer weighs all of the circumstances. The would be hard to gainsay the absurdity of subdivision five and the complete impracticality of its application. It makes the police into arraignment judges.

And he goes on to say…:

But subdivision six contains the most monumental change in the criminal law. Under current law, in both federal and state courts in Minnesota, a defendant has the burden of establishing self defense. Once the acts are established beyond a reasonable doubt, i.e., the weapon was used by the defendant, the defendant must show that the killing or wounding was justified. The proposed statute flips that burden around, placing it on the prosecution.

Now, I’m nothing if not a civil guy (unlike more than a few of my critics, including “Spotty”).  But between this passage, and his little opening fantasy, it’s pretty clear he hasn’t the foggiest idea how “Self Defense” works.

Let’s say that you are the woman in my example above.  As the stalker charges toward you, you shoot.  Two shots to the chest; he drops like a dog.  The cops respond; and say “Good shot, he had it coming, you had to protect yourself and your kids, there was no way you could have done it differently under the circumstances”.  But there’s a body – so the county attorney opts to press charges, based on the fact that, in the County Attorney’s opinion (sitting in his brightly-lit office, with a cup of coffee on his desk and all the time he needs to think through all the angles) the fact that there was a shooting is all that matters; county policy is to “arrest and charge the gun” – no matter who used the gun, and why.

Which means the woman in my example will be arrested, and charged with murder, and have to float bail and hire a lawyer and go to court and say “yes, I killed the guy – but he came to me, he had a knife, and it was clear my kids and I were in lethal danger, and my response was reasonable, and under the circumstances retreat was, if not impossible, unreasonable “.  After which the County Prosecutor gets to tell a jury – also working in a nice, brightly-lit room, with sheriff’s deputies guarding them and all the donuts they can eat – that no, you should have run up the stairs, or out the back door, or put your gun down and negotiated with him, or anything but end his unstably-minded life.

The best you can hope for is that your attorney can convince 12 people who couldn’t get out of jury duty that you were in the right (for between $10,000 and $50,000 in court costs and attorney fees); your life’s savings will be exhausted, your credit will be shot, you have a good chance of losing your job – but you will have proved your innocence of murder – something no actual murderer has to do (because they’re innocent until proven guilty, remember?) while you, a law-abiding citizen who shot in self-defense, are “guilty with an explanation”.  The worst?  That your lawyer does a bad job, and that your judge – a DFLer, maybe? – gives jury instructions that virtually ensure your conviction, and a prison term, and a lifetime in court defending “wrongful death” suits, because you were found guilty of…well, not “wrongfully killing” someone, so much as of not retreating far and fast enough.  And in between the two, there’s the chance that the County Attorney fights you so aggressively on the case that, even though you were right to shoot, you have to take a plea bargain, because you are bankrupt and can’t afford to continually fight the entire weight of the County’s legal bureaucracy by yourself; to take a smaller felony in exchange for maybe, someday, getting your life back.

Unlike “Spotty’s” little flight of fancy at the top of the post, this scenario actually happens.  Ask Martin Treptow.

So Cornish’s bill would allow two things:

  • In cases where the shooter has met all of the criteria for self-defense (not a willing participant, and the fear of death or GBH, the lethal force and the attempt to disengage are all “reasonable”), it would allow law enforcement to recognize the fact that it was a justifiable shoot, without putting the defendant behind the legal eight ball from the very beginning.
  • In shootings that meet all the criteria, it switches the burden of proof to where it belongs; the state.


The bill also immunizes the vigilante from civil liability — to anybody, including bystanders waiting at the bus stop or walking down the street.

Well, sort of.  Here’s what Cornish’s bill says, with emphasis added:

7.23 Subd. 5. Criminal investigation; immunity from prosecution. (a) An individual|

7.24who uses force, including deadly force, according to this section or as otherwise provided
7.25by law in defense of the individual, the individual’s dwelling, or another individual is
7.26justified in using such force and is immune from any civil liability or criminal prosecution
7.27for that act.

7.28(b) A law enforcement agency may arrest an individual using force under
7.29circumstances described in this section only after considering any claims or circumstances
7.30supporting self-defense or lawful defense of another individual.

In other words, it gives clear-cut cases of self-defense a chance to be resolved without making a thoroughly-lawful shooter go through the entire judicial process as a criminal on trial, and protects people who carry out thoroughly legitimate self-defense shootings from retribution in civil court from the people they shot.  (Not bystanders; the law would not legalize shooting bystanders; the imperative to “know  your backstop” doesn’t change).

Back to Dog the Red Herring Hunter:

The practical effect is that if a defendant says “I felt threatened,” it is the prosecutor’s burden to show that the defendant was not “reasonably” threatened.

Again, I’m not the one who is going to come around with the personal insult – but “Spotty” is a lawyer in real life.  I’m not sure if he’s just unfamiliar with how the system works, or if he’s being willfully disingenuous.  But it’s not enough to say “I felt threatened”; it isn’t now, and it won’t be under Cornish’s law.  If the body on your floor is  not holding a knife or gun, it’d be well within the cop’s discretion to say  I know you claim to have shot in self-defense, but it appears at the least  you were mistaken” under Cornish’s proposal, whereas today he’s more likely forced to say “I know you’re innocent, but our county policy is “arrest the gun””.

The burden of proof for demonstrating, for example, insanity or diminished capacity as a defense to a crime also rests with the defendant. If this bill becomes law, it would give the user of deadly force a procedural advantage not shared by any other defendant seeking to use an affirmative defense.

“Spot” is begging the question here – using Minnesota’s current treatment of self-defense as “evidence” that Minnesota’s current treatment of self-defense is the right approach.  It’s illogical, notwithstanding that it’s wrong.   “Affirmative Defense” – saying “yes, I committed the crime, but there are some factors due to which you should modify my culpability” – makes sense, arguably, for modifying the consequences of acts committed under diminished capacity.  An obviously legitimate self-defense shooting should not be treated as analogous to someone who hacks someone up and offers up the bits and pieces as a sacrifice to his invisible masters.  Defending life and limb from predators is an unalloyed good; it should not be treated as an anomaly to be carefully screened and treated.

Under the bill, if an insane man shot somebody, he would have a better chance of beating the rap by claiming he used  the gun in self defense than defending on the basis that was insane.

Only if you assume cops and, yes, county attorneys are complete idiots.  Can “Spotty” spell out a case where an insane man…:

  • …who was not a willing participant in a fight, and…
  • …who had a legitimate fear of death or great bodily harm, and…
  • …in a case where his use of lethal force was reasonable, and…
  • …where he did whatever was reasonable to avoid the use of lethal force…
  • …in a place where he had, as Cornish’s bill spells out, the “legal right to be”?

I’m guessing this doesn’t even rise to the level of a reasonable hypothetical.

And for my money, if you shoot somebody, or knife them, it ought to be you who has some explaining to do.

If “Spot” thinks no explaining will be involved after even a perfectly legitimate shooting, he’s clearly floating free of all reason.

Fortunately Spot’s “money” isn’t what governs us.   Our elected legislature and governor are.

Cornish’s bill will come up in the Public Safety Committee on Thursday.  It’ll likely pass on a straight party-line vote (although outstate Dems will likely support it as well – they know the power of the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance  (GOCRA) outstate), but please contact everyone on the committee anyway (info below the jump).  After that, it’ll likely pass the House and Senate the same way, and go to the Governor.

Who will face a conundrum; sign the bill and keep his promise to the outstate but largely pro-Second-Amendment DFLers who believed him when he said he kept a pair of .357s in a lock box in his bedroom for self-defense, and that he was (against his entire voting record) a pro-Second-Amendment guy, or veto it and lose still more outstate legislative seats in 2012 (because outstate DFLers who forget the power of GOCRA will live to regret it).

Update: Forgetful old dog that I am, I neglected to mention that the post was prepared with the able editorial assistance of MNO.

As I’m a kind and gentle guy, I’ll let that blooping slow-ball sail outside for an easy ball.

Continue reading

75,000 Points Of Light

Minnesota now has 75,000 carry permits, according to the Minnesota Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance.  That’s running just a tad ahead of the national average.

Just over seven years after its passage, the Minnesota Citizens’ Personal Protection Act of 2003 has resulted in over 75,000 people who now have active carry permits, a 500% increase over the number in effect before the law was reformed.

According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, there were 75,583 active permits as of May 31, 2010.

Still no problems.

“Increasingly, personal protection is becoming more widely and socially accepted,” said David Gross, a criminal defense attorney, member of the GOCRA board, and long-time advocate for the right of self defense. He points at the recent controversy manufactured by gun control advocates over law-abiding citizens carrying holstered guns into Starbucks coffee shops. Starbucks refused to give in to demands that it ban gun-carrying customers.

“That is literally visible here in Minnesota, too,” he said, “The number of ‘bans guns’ signs continues to dwindle as businesses return the respect shown by gun owners.”

Back in 1987, when Florida became the ninth “Shall Issue” state (there are 40 today) , Florida state senator Ron Silver coined the phrase “Gunshine State”, expecting the state to turn into “Dodge City East”.  He famously admitted he’d been utterly wrong within the next five or six years.

It’s happened here, too:

Even vocal opponents of the law, like former Olmsted County Sheriff Steve Borchardt, revised their opinions as law-abiding Minnesotans remained law abiding after earning permits.”The fact is the sky didn’t fall,” he told KARE11 in 2005. “The fact is it worked pretty seamlessly.”

Which hasn’t stopped the left from continuing to lie about shall issue – but you get the impression the smart ones don’t have their hearts in it.