Single Issue Voting

I used to be against single issue voting as I thought politicians should be evaluated on the totality of their views and positions. It was one of the reasons that back in the 80s I dropped my yearly membership in the NRA for a while. I think the rise of voters who only voted based upon abortion was part of that decision. I was trying to be somewhat logically consistent.

However, I’ve come to appreciate how a candidate’s position on gun rights is indicative of how he or she may vote on other issues of interest to me. Michael Bane has made this point many a time on his podcast and has argued the efficacy of it in electing like-minded politicians. A candidate who supports gun rights tends to be liberty minded and that is what I want.

Now it seems the President is in agreement with me (and Michael) on this and urging single issue voting on the matter of gun rights. Of course, his position is diametrically opposite of mine.

His Press Secretary Josh Earnest made this clear in a press briefing on Friday.

Q Can I ask about the President’s campaign pledge in his New York Times editorial (on gun control)?

MR. EARNEST: Please do. (Laughter.)

Q Yes. I’m just kind of wondering if you can put some parameters on that — what a candidate would have to do or not do for the President — or I guess what a candidate would have to do or not for the President to say I’m not going to vote for you, I’m not going to campaign for you, I’m not going to fundraise for you. And also how he would kind of extricate his actions with the DNC or the DSCC or whoever else in that.

snip


Q What about somebody like Heidi Heitkamp, who was a big vote for you guys on TPA, and the President made a big point of saying, I’m going to go out and campaign and raise money for these people who put their neck out?

MR. EARNEST: Well, look, there is no denying the fact that I think that when it comes to most issues, the President agrees with Senator Heitkamp on them, particularly when it comes to a whole range of economic issues and national security issues — that there are a lot of reasons for them to be on the same page. But what the President made clear in that op-ed is that when it comes to this issue, he’s prepared to be a single-issue voter. And he hopes that other people will, too.

And he’s hopeful that that will have an impact on the kinds of decisions that Democrats and Republicans make on this issue in the future when they’re serving in the United States Congress and when they’re called to vote on them.

Whether Democrat voters pay attention to his advice is another matter. As rare as it might be, I wonder whether they would vote for an anti-gun, pro-life, pro-fracking, pro-coal, and climate warming denier or some combination of those so long as the candidate in question is anti-gun. For some reason I doubt it. The interest groups supporting abortion, the environment, etc. seem to be much stronger than either the Brady Campaign or Everytown Moms for Illegal Mayors. Moreover, for most Democrat voters, I think abortion, women’s rights, and the environment would be considered more of a core belief than gun control which is more peripheral to these voters.

Overall, I think this works out in our favor especially if we can get Gun Culture 1.0 to get on board with Gun Culture 2.0 in protecting our gun rights. We need to do more outreach to those in Gun Culture 1.0 so we don’t hear “I’m a hunter but no one needs (fill in the blank)” anymore. Unifying both cultures behind candidates who support gun rights will be the key to winning in 2016 and to keeping our rights in the face of the President and “nasty little fascist” billionaires like Mike Bloomberg. Now we just have to do it.

Our Gun-Owning Neighbors To The North Are In For It

The Liberal Party headed by political legacy Justin Trudeau just ousted the Conservative Party of Prime Minister Stephen Harper in nationwide elections yesterday. The Liberal Party took 184 seats out of 338 which gives them a working majority. They will not have to try and form a coalition government with other smaller parties. The Conservatives retain only 99 seats or 29% of the seats in the Canadian Parliament’s House of Commons.

So what does that mean for Canadian gun owners? First, let’s remember that the Conservative government under Stephen Harper did away with the ineffective and outrageously expensive gun registry. Second, there is this from the Liberal Party platform:

We will take action to get handguns and assault weapons off our streets.

Over the last decade, Stephen Harper has steadily weakened our gun laws in ways that make Canadians more vulnerable and communities more dangerous.

We will take pragmatic action to make it harder for criminals to get, and use, handguns and assault weapons. We will:

  • repeal changes made by Bill C-42 that allow restricted and prohibited weapons to be freely transported without a permit, and we will put decision-making about weapons restrictions back in the hands of police, not politicians;
  • provide $100 million each year to the provinces and territories to support guns and gangs police task forces to take illegal guns off our streets and reduce gang violence;
  • modify the membership of the Canadian Firearms Advisory Committee to include knowledgeable law enforcement officers, public health advocates, representatives from women’s groups, and members of the legal community;
  • require enhanced background checks for anyone seeking to purchase a handgun or other restricted firearm;
  • require purchasers of firearms to show a license when they buy a gun, and require all sellers of firearms to confirm that the license is valid before completing the sale;
  • require firearms vendors to keep records of all firearms inventory and sales to assist police in investigating firearms trafficking and other gun crimes;
  • immediately implement the imported gun marking regulations that have been repeatedly delayed by Stephen Harper; and
  • as part of our investment in border infrastructure, invest in technologies to enhance our border guards’ ability to detect and halt illegal guns from the United States entering into Canada.


We will not create a new national long-gun registry to replace the one that has been dismantled.

We will ensure that Canada becomes a party to the international Arms Trade Treaty.

The only thing positive in that list is the claim that a Liberal government will not create a new long-gun registry.

I hate to say it but the next five years are not going to be good ones for Canadian gun owners. Or the rest of Canada for that matter.

Well, Hillary, We’ve Seen How Successful Negotiations With Iran Have Been

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made an interesting comment during a town hall meeting in Iowa on Wednesday. She compared the NRA to the Iranians and Communists when it comes to negotiating. All I’ll say is we’ve all seen just how successful the Obama Administration has been in its negotiations with the mullahs in Iran. In other words, the US gets diddly-squat and the death to America chanting mullahs get “the bomb”.

Frankly, if you think about it, using the negotiating techniques of mullahs and/or “Vlad the Impaler” Putin makes a lot of sense when it comes to gun rights. This is especially true when you consider the gun prohibitionists’ idea of compromise is negotiating how much we will give up.

Hillary’s comments prior to this remark were to encourage a “Fifth Column”, my words – not hers, of gun owners. They have tried this before with false-front organizations like the American Shooters and Hunters Association. I think the average gun owner is on to their tactics by now.

As an aside, I would encourage everyone to listen to Michael Bane’s rant on this week’s Downrange Radio. It is 45 minutes well spent. He describes the war between those who cherish our freedom and those who would take it away in very stark terms.

H/T The Daily Caller

Stance On Gun Rights Is All I Care About

The Guardian did a video called “Progressives with guns: yoga, ammo, and LGBT rights” that appeared on their website yesterday. I found it pretty good and rather even-handed. It featured a transgendered ex-SEAL running for Congress, a lawyer who was a Hare Krishna member, and Top Shot winner Chris Cheng who came out as gay a while back.

Frankly, I don’t care if you are transgender. I don’t care if you are gay. I don’t care if you are a Hare Krishna member (but don’t ask me for money at the airport). If you support gun rights, then you are my friend.

Good News Out Of Illinois

The Illinois Senate today passed SB 836 which contains improvements in the FOID Card Act, the Concealed Carry Act, and the Criminal Code. The vote was 43 yea, 8 nay, and 5 not voting. Included in the nay votes was perennial gun prohibitionist Sen. Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge). This is not surprising in that he had been the Executive Director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence (sic) prior to being elected to the Illinois Senate.

The bill had passed the Illinois House on Saturday. The vote there was 84 yea, 23 nay, and 3 not voting. The bill now goes to Gov. Bruce Rauner (R-IL) for his signature. It is expected that he will sign this bill.

The full text of the bill is here. The Illinois State Rifle Association emailed this summary of the main provisions of the bill this evening. They along with Illinois Carry and other gun rights groups in Illinois fought hard for this bill.

After months of working with the Illinois General Assembly on improvements to the Firearms Concealed Carry Act, FOID Act and Criminal Code, SB 836 passed the Illinois Senate with a vote of 43 Yes, 8 No and 5 Present. It is on the way to the Governor’s desk.

SB 836 contains the following changes:

Firearms Concealed Carry Act:

1. Limits the waiver of privacy rights regarding the concealed carry application to only those records pertinent to obtaining a concealed carry license.

2. Clarifies that if a concealed carry licensee presents their ICCL during a law enforcement investigative stop that it is presumed they are carrying a firearm.

3. Clarifies the definition of a “mental disability” as it pertains to persons seeking a concealed carry license.

4. Eliminates the requirement that a licensee unload his or her firearm when storing or retrieving a firearm from the trunk of their vehicle.

5. Provides that Emergency Service personnel may ask anyone lawfully carrying a firearm to secure the firearm for the duration of the contact.

6. Changes mental health reporting requirements.

FOID Act:

7. Allows the use of a concealed carry license when purchasing firearms or ammunition.

8. Allows concealed carry licensees to possess firearms and ammunition without being in physical possession of their FOID card.

9. Changes the FOID Act to ensure that non-resident competitors may purchase firearms and ammunition at events held at the World Shooting Complex.

Criminal Code:

10. Eliminates a contradiction between Concealed Carry Act and the criminal definition of unlawful use of weapon.

If You Want To Donate, Here Are Some Better Groups

Jonathan Lowy of the Brady Center recently sent out the e-mail seen below crowing about going three for three in court cases involving certain semi-automatic rifles whose cosmetics horrify the gun prohibitionists. He is referring to cases that challenged new state laws that created a magazine ban, an “assault weapons” (sic) ban, or both. The states involved were Connecticut, Maryland, and New York.

After the Sandy Hook tragedy where a gunman fatally shot 20 children and 6 adults, state lawmakers finally said ‘ENOUGH IS ENOUGH’ and took action.


New York, Connecticut, and Maryland made it more difficult to buy military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, so these weapons of war would never again threaten lives in our homes, schools and communities.


Unfortunately, the corporate gun lobby saw a threat to their profits and went to court to challenge these laws.


At the Brady Center’s Legal Action Project, we didn’t let these attacks on our public safety go unchallenged. We filed amicus briefs and worked closely with state officials to help them defend these life-saving laws. Law firms with our national pro bono alliance, Lawyers for a Safer America, were critical to these efforts.


WE ARE 3-for-3 SO FAR. Federal trial judges in ALL 3 STATES have upheld the new laws. Your support helped us win these victories.


But our work continues — the gun lobby is appealing the rulings, which means we’re still working hard with states and filing amicus briefs to meet the challenge. On August 5, we filed a brief in the New York case. Next week we’re filing in Connecticut.


These federal appeals cases are critically important – the rulings will set far-reaching precedents on the power of states to protect their communities from gun violence.


We need your support to preserve the victories we’ve won so far and make sure the corporate gun lobby isn’t allowed to put profits over people’s lives.


Please support the Brady Center today to help us keep our winning streak going, and protect lives in our nation’s homes, schools and communities.


With gratitude,


Jonathan Lowy
Director, Brady Center Legal Action Project

I’m surprised that Mr. Lowy didn’t include the nonsensical ruling out of Colorado which upheld the Hickenlooper mag ban.

The recent decision out of Maryland does show that certain judges who are ignorant about firearms and who have a bias against them will listen to what the Brady Center puts into their amicus briefs. Even though those of us in the gun culture consider their arguments to be “authentic frontier gibberish” we still need to counter them. Thus I donate to groups like the Second Amendment Foundation, the Mountain States Legal Foundation, and the NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund who will present the counter arguments to the Jonathan Lowy’s of the world.

I would encourage you to do the same if you can.

Gun Owners Put Their Money And Votes Where Their Mouth Is

The Pew Research Center released a poll on views about gun control this past weekend. The survey itself was taken at the beginning of May.

When asked whether it was more important to control guns or to preserve the right of Americans to own guns, the response was virtually a dead heat. 50% said it was more important to control guns while 48% said it was more important to preserve the right of American to own guns. This is a change from last December when Pew surveyed Americans after the Newtown shooting and found greater support for gun control. The overall margin of error in the poll is 2.9 percentage points which puts these results within the margin of error.

The survey also asked respondents about whether they had contributed to a gun rights or gun control organization as well as questions on civic involvement on the issue. In what should be no surprise to those of us who support gun rights, we put our money and our efforts where our mouth is.


From a US News and World Report on the survey published today:

Gun rights supporters donate four times more and are more politically involved than gun control advocates, according to a poll from the Pew Research Center published this weekend.

In May 2013, six months after the Newtown school shooting that sparked a national conversation on guns – and a month after the Senate failed to pass a major gun bill – Pew found that 25 percent of people who support gun rights had contributed money to a second amendment group, while just 6 percent of people who support gun control had donated on the issue.

Just as important as donating, gun rights supporters are more likely to have contacted a public official about gun rights issues. Moreover, they are more likely to have expressed their views regarding gun rights on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter as well as having signed a petition on gun rights. Perhaps most importantly, gun rights supporters are more likely to have more than one of these activities by a 3 to 2 margin within the last 6 months and a 2 to 1 margin lifetime.

Even with the White House using the bully pulpit to push their gun control agenda and the media acting as propaganda agents for gun prohibitionists, we who support gun rights are still the ones who are more willing to put our money where our mouth is and are more politically involved.

Oh, Canada

Today is Canada Day. It marks the uniting of the British colonies of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick with the Province of Canada (which included both Ontario and Quebec) into the Dominion of Canada on July 1, 1867 by way of the British North America Act of 1867. It is Canada’s national holiday.

So on this Canadian holiday I thought it appropriate to look again at the seizure of resident’s firearms in the Province of Alberta.

The RCMP announced on Sunday that they would start returning some of the firearms seized from residents of the town of High River.

An RCMP news release says that owners of guns that were seized should call police, and that an officer will call them back to make arrangements to have the weapons picked up.

The Mounties said earlier that they took the guns as officers searched homes in High River’s flood zone to look for flood victims, pets and anything that might pose a threat to returning residents.

Any guns were removed from homes because they were not properly stored, said Staff Sgt. Brian Jones, who added that no charges are planned.

“There is no indication of that at this point in time. That wasn’t the reason. That wasn’t the intention,” Jones said about the gun seizures.

The Prime Minister’s Office has now gotten involved in this affair. Prime Minister Stephen Harper is a resident of Alberta. His Canadian Parliament riding of Calgary Southwest adjoins the riding in which High River is located.

The move to take the weapons was condemned by the Prime Minister’s Office, who said the Mounties should focus on more important tasks such as protecting lives and private property.

Harper’s criticism of the RCMP’s move brought criticism itself.

Darryl Davies, a Carleton University criminology professor, considered the condemnation from the Prime Minister’s Office to be highly inappropriate.

“It’s completely and utterly inappropriate for the PMO to issue operational instructions to the RCMP,” Davies said Sunday.

Have we arrived at a point in Canada where the PMO can interfere in criminal investigations as well?”

Davies said he thought it must be embarrassing for the RCMP to be admonished by the PMO in the media, and that it undermines the force’s credibility and impartiality.

Davies, who has long criticized the RCMP himself, is also a strong proponent of gun control. He is on record as favoring the banning of all semi-automatic firearms. Davies also served as the Senior Communications Officer on Firearms, Communications Branch Department of Justice. Thus, I think Davies’ criticism in context is more about his anti-gun beliefs than anything to do with political interference with the RCMP.

Unlike the United States where the Constitution is a single document with a number of amendments, the Canadian Constitution is an amalgamation of Acts of Parliament from both Great Britain and Canada. In 1982, Canada passed the Constitution Act, 1982, which contained the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It can be said that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is their equivalent to our Bill of Rights – with exceptions. While it speaks of things like freedom of association and “the right to life, liberty, and the security of the person”, the one thing it does not guarantee is a right to keep and bear arms. Moreover, property rights are not mentioned. Much of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms concerns itself with language rights, the rights of “aboriginal people”, and the education rights of linguistic minorities.

So while we often think of our neighbors to the North as just like us but more polite, legally they have a much different system in which things like property rights and the right to keep and bear arms are treated much differently. That said, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative government probably respect both of rights more so than the current Obama administration.

CalGuns Sues The “Best-Looking Attorney General”

The CalGuns Foundation on behalf of itself and seven individual Californians is suing California Attorney General Kamala Harris over delays in the processing of firearms background checks. California has a statutory 10-day waiting period. However, the California Department of Justice has been instructing dealers in some cases to delay the release of firearms to their eligible purchasers.

From the CalGuns release:



The Calguns Foundation and 7 Californians Sue Attorney General Kamala Harris, DOJ Over Gun Delays

SAN CARLOS, CA – The Calguns Foundation has filed a lawsuit on behalf of seven California residents today against Attorney General Kamala Harris, the California Department of Justice, and DOJ Bureau of Firearms Chief Stephen Lindley. The case challenges the DOJ’s policy of requiring some firearm purchasers to prove their legal standing to take possession of acquired firearms and forcing them to wait beyond the statutory 10-day waiting period.

One plaintiff in the case, Daniel Schoepf of Long Beach, California, was denied his fundamental right to keep and bear arms for self-defense even after DOJ told him that he was legally eligible to purchase and possess firearms.

In 1984, Schoepf was detained in Los Angeles County for having two tablets in his pocket that were later discovered to be common, non-prescription pills. The detectives subsequently released Schoepf and no charges were filed. In 2006, DOJ firearms section Program Manager Steve Buford sent Schoepf a letter stating that he was eligible to purchase and possess firearms; however, in 2012, DOJ reversed that position and instructed Schoepf’s local firearms dealer to hold back delivery of Schoepf’s gun.

“I know I’m not alone in this, that DOJ is wrongly denying many Californians their Second Amendment rights just like they are mine,” said Schoepf. “I’m not a criminal and certainly not a disqualified convict but am a law abiding citizen with my Second Amendment rights fully intact. They left me no choice but to fight this injustice in court.”

“Over the past year, the DOJ has been directing California gun dealers to delay the release of firearms to people eligible to possess them – sometimes indefinitely,“ said Jason Davis, attorney for The Calguns Foundation. “The DOJ simply has no legal authority to justify their policy.”

The DOJ claims that these delays are primarily due to lack of information in their criminal history databases. In a July 2011 Los Angeles Times article, assistant attorney general Travis LeBlanc said the DOJ’s criminal records database system was “shoddy,” with the ‘guilty’, ‘not guilty’, or ‘case dismissed’ disposition information missing for about 7.7 million of the 16.4 million arrest records entered into the database over the last decade – and presumably much more for older cases.

“In essence, the DOJ is relying upon their improperly-maintained database to deny the fundamental rights of individuals,” said Gene Hoffman, Chairman of The Calguns Foundation. “That policy is entirely unacceptable and we look forward to putting an end to it.”

The attorney for plaintiffs in the lawsuit, Victor Otten, agrees.

“Our clients follow the law and so should the DOJ,” said Otten. “The DOJ is gleefully enforcing a policy that deprives my clients of their civil rights. The arrogance of the Department to think that it can abrogate the Constitution and statutory duties set by the Legislature is very unsettling.”

“This case really underscores the value of our DOJ Watch program,” said Brandon Combs, Executive Director of The Calguns Foundation. “Attorney General Harris’s hostility towards some civil rights predictably resulted in a shift away from former Attorney General Brown’s correct application of the law – and we are here to hold her accountable.”

The lawsuit is entitled Schoepf, et. al. vs. Kamala Harris, et. al. A copy of the complaint may be viewed or downloaded at http://www.calgunsfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/cgf_dros-delay-complaint.pdf.

The description of California AG Kamala Harris in the title comes from President Obama’s inappropriate remarks made recently.

Cartoon Puts It In Perspective

A cartoon that ran yesterday in the Denver Post’s The Spot blog really puts things in perspective about the political culture in Colorado.

Colorado voters approved private use of marijuana in the past election. This measure was opposed by Gov. John Hickenlooper. Now it appears Hickenlooper will support and sign HB 1224 which would result in magazine maker Mapgul to move out of state. Frankly, I think Hickenlooper has his priorities backwards.