Democrat State Party Platforms – Montana To New Jersey

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The series on the state party platforms of the Democrat Party continues with Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, and New Jersey.

Montana

The Montana Democrat Platform addresses firearms in the section on Hunting, Fishing, and Outdoor Recreation and in the section on Crime and Punishment. Under the Hunting section, it says:

The right to keep and bear arms as defined in both the Montana and the U.S. Constitutions.

That section goes on to say that they support public hunting as a game management tool.

The Crime and Punishment section says this regarding firearms:

Responsible ownership of firearms, including gun safety practices and the education and
supervision of children in the use of firearms.

That sounds good until you read their action agenda which says they will “Advocate policies that address and prevent gun violence.” The very use of the word “gun violence” (sic) indicates to me that they are blaming the firearm and not the person misusing it.

Nebraska

While Montana Democrats are somewhat circumspect about advocating for gun control, Nebraska Democrats are anything but circumspect.  Their platform calls for gun bans, a raise in the age to purchase a firearm to 21, red flag laws, an end to state preemption, and the elimination of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act among other things.

From the 2018-202 Nebraska Democratic Party platform on firearms:

Firearms and
Gun Violence
Prevention

Nebraska Democrats recognize that gun violence is a serious problem that claims the lives of
tens
of thousands of Americans per year, injures many more, traumatizes countless others,
and
disproportionately impacts communities of color. We support the right of Americans to live
free
of gun violence. We recognize that gun violence is the consequence of an inadequately
regulated
consumer
market.



We support the repeal of the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act
(PLCAA),

which offers special immunities from liability to gun
manufacturers and sellers and
deprives
injured persons from their right to legal remedy in the
courts.



Nebraska Democrats support the right of communities to respond democratically to gun
violence
by passing local ordinances to address their needs. If gun
s are owned, they must be
used
responsibly. We support criminal and civil liability for those who do not safely secure their
guns.

We support a tax on weapons and ammunition to fund school security
measures.



We agree with the American Medical Association
’s proposals regarding firearms: limiting
the

purchase of guns to individuals 21 and over; supporting legislation that allows relatives
of

suicidal people or those who have threatened imminent violence to seek court

ordered
removal

of guns from the home; requesting better training for physicians to recognize patients at risk
for

suicide; and ensuring domestic abusers do not have access to
firearms.



The Nebraska Democratic Party further supports the American Academy of Pediatrics’
proposals to enact a strong, effective assault weapons ban, require mandatory background checks
and
waiting periods of all firearm purchases, enact a ban on high

capacity magazines, enact
strong
handgun regulations, and require safe firearm storage under federal
law.



We support scientific research into gun violence by the National Institutes of Health, the
Centers
for Disease Control, and other research
agencies.

Nevada

 It should come as no surprise that Nevada Democrats have gone full on gun control. They supported Bloomberg’s universal background check initiative and now are calling for much more gun control after last year’s Mandalay Bay murders. The days of a more libertarian approach to firearms by Nevada Democrats is long over especially with the number of immigrants from California. As to the Mandalay Bay murders, a motive is still not known and all the firearms were purchased legally including the bump fire stocks.

From the 2018 Nevada Democratic Party Platform:

GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION


We support common sense gun safety and gun violence
prevention measures, because what happened on 1 October must
never happen again.



We support the right to bear arms in a responsible manner.
We oppose
“Stand Your Ground” laws.
We support banning bump stocks or any device
that makes a semi

automatic weapon fire like an automatic weapon. We
support a ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines. We support
outlawing guns
on school campuses and keeping guns out of public and
government buildings. We support technology aimed at keeping children
safe and ensuring that firearms are stored safely in gun owners’ homes.
We
support the implementation and enforcement of the ballot
initiative that was
approved by the voters in 2016 to close the gun show loophole.
We oppose
any efforts by the Nevada Legislature to make it easier for potentially
dangerous people like convicted domestic abusers
,
violent criminals
,
stalkers
,
and those lawfully adjudicated as mentally ill to have easier access
to weapons. We support strict standards on reciprocity laws in Nevada that
protect our families and visitors. We support reporting gun injuries and
deaths as community health problems, and keeping statistics and studying
those statistics as a public health issue.

New Hampshire

The days of New Hampshire being the bedrock of New England conservatism is over. You can thank tax-avoiding migrants from Massachusetts for this. The New Hampshire Democratic Party’s platform does reflect this. I will say I’m a bit surprised that they haven’t called for an end to constitutional carry but that could reflect its popularity with voters.

From the NH Democratic Party 2018 final platform:

  • We believe
    in universal background checks
    to protect our communities from gun
    violence.
  • We believe that military

    style weapons, bump stocks, and high

    capacity magazine
    s do
    not belong on our streets.
  • We believe in the establishment of gun

    free zones in certain public places, such as
    schools
    ,
    as a means of reducing gun violence.
  • We support a ban on guns in and on the floor of our State House
    for the safety of our
    residents, guests
    ,
    and children
    who
    visit
    .

I do hate to break it to whomever wrote this platform but so-called gun-free zones do not reduce “gun violence”. They only put law abiding people at risk from predators and other psychopaths.

New Jersey

I think it was gun law attorney Evan Nappen who once said New Jersey is where gun rights go to die. He’s probably right. The NJ Democratic Party doesn’t publish a platform and according to Ballotpedia uses the Democratic National Committee’s platform. Given that, let’s look at the platform of Gov. Phil Murphy (D-NJ) when it comes to guns. He’s the key figure in state government so could have to the biggest – and worst – impact on gun rights in the Garden State. It includes a laundry list of things ranging from taxes on guns to so-called smart guns (sic).


In his 2017 campaign platform, he said:

Specifically, as governor Phil Murphy would:

  • Sign commonsense legislation that Christie vetoed: Phil Murphy would start by signing every piece of gun violence prevention legislation that Governor Christie has vetoed. These bills would have enacted bipartisan and sensible solutions, such as keeping guns out of the hands of gang members and domestic abusers.


  • Mandate gun safety training: No one should be able to purchase a firearm without first attending a gun safety training course.

  • Promote smart gun technology: We must regain our position as a leader in the smart gun movement by requiring all gun retailers to carry at least one smart gun once they are commercially available.

  • Keep guns out of the hands of those suffering with mental illness: New Jersey already requires background checks, but it should follow the lead of nearly half the states in the U.S. and require timely reporting of mental illness episodes to the national background check database.

  • Tax gun sales to prevent violence: All gun sales should be subject to a tax that will fund law enforcement, drug treatment centers, and mental health services.

  • Strengthen regulations on gun transfers: Phil Murphy would make it a crime to sell guns without conducting a mandatory background check, and would require individuals to register their firearms kept in the state.

  • Work with neighboring states to promote gun violence prevention: An estimated 80 percent of guns involved in crimes in New Jersey come from out of state. As governor, Phil Murphy will engage partners in neighboring states to find common ground on gun violence prevention efforts.

  • Direct the Attorney General to vigorously defend our gun laws: Governor Christie has allowed the Attorney General’s office to relax enforcement of our gun safety laws, including laws that prohibit illegally transporting guns into New Jersey from out of state. As governor, Phil Murphy would direct the Attorney General to vigorously defend and enforce our gun laws, rather than to act as an agent of the NRA.

With the exception of getting tough on gang members, there is not a thing in that list which would reduce criminal misuse of firearms. It is aimed at the law-abiding gun owner and not the criminal. As we have also seen, Murphy is actively anti-hunting with his ad hoc ban on hunting of bears on state lands. Murphy doesn’t even pretend to make lip service about supporting hunters.

Bill Introduced In Nebraska Senate That Would Ban Both Bump Stocks And Suppressors

Sen. Patty Pensing Brooks (Lincoln) introduced Legislative Bill 780 would make “the manufacturing, sale, purchase or possession of bump stocks and silencers a class IV felony, which carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a year of post-release supervision.” While the Nebraska legislature is officially non-partisan, Brooks is a registered Democrat.

LB 780 would not just ban suppressors and bump stocks as the language makes clear:

Multiburst trigger activator means either: (a) A device designed
or redesigned to be attached to a semiautomatic firearm which allows the
firearm to discharge two or more shots in a burst by activating the
device; or (b) a trigger-activating device, whether manual or power
driven, that is constructed and designed so that when such device is
attached to a semiautomatic firearm the rate of fire of such firearm is
increased
;

It is not clear whether belt loops and agile index fingers will also be banned as they could be considered multiburst trigger activators in the strictest sense of the word.

According to the Omaha World-Herald, both the Nebraska Firearms Owners Association and the NRA have come out against the bill.

Sen. Brooks had this to say about her bill:

The sponsor of the bill, Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks of Lincoln, said she believes that the state would be safer if it banned a device that enables mass shooters to increase their rate of fire. The Democratic senator noted that she is entering the final year of her first term.

“If I’m not re-elected, I think I would walk away from here thinking, ‘You did nothing about the proliferation of guns in your community,’ ” she said Wednesday.

The other gun related bill introduced today was LB 730 by Sen. Justin Wayne of Omaha. His bill would impose a 10% excise tax on ammo sales. Half the proceeds of the tax would go to wildlife conservation but the other half would go to the “violence prevention fund.” This sounds suspiciously like what was adopted in California that funds the “research” efforts of anti-gun Dr. Garen Wintemute. Sen. Wayne, in case you haven’t guess it by now, is a Democrat.

Republicans hold a 2-1 majority in the legislature but that is not a guarantee that either of these bills won’t pass. I could foresee some compromise where suppressors are left out of LB 780 but the “multiburst trigger activators” portion goes on to pass.

Why State Preemption Matters

I read two stories in the last 24 hours that reinforced why every state should have preemption on firearms issues. The gun prohibitionists oppose this saying, in essence, different laws for different locales lets us preserve our pockets of irresponsible gun control.

What makes these two stories different is that they come from red states where gun ownership is more the norm than the exception.

The first story comes from Nebraska where a judge last Friday ordered the return of a Lincoln man’s gun collection. The only problem is that the city ordinances of Lincoln won’t allow him to have them within the city. Under their city ordinances, a person convicted of a weapons charge (including knives) is forbidden to possess firearms within the city for the next 10 years.

Police confiscated 24 handguns last August from Kevin Williams, who was accused of illegally possessing them after being convicted of having an illegal pocketknife, the Lincoln Journal Star reported.

City Attorney Jeff Kirkpatrick said that during a 2010 traffic stop, Williams told a police officer that he had a butterfly knife. Police ticketed him for carrying a concealed weapon, because the knife was too long, and he ultimately paid a $75 fine.

Police learned four years later that Williams had purchased many guns, and his conviction on the weapons charge for the pocketknife made him ineligible to possess a gun in Lincoln for 10 years. An officer then seized Williams’ guns under a city ordinance on unlawful firearm possession.

The knife in question was a butterfly knife. The city charged Williams with unlawful firearm possession. However, he fought it in court and the city requested the charge be dismissed. The Nebraska Firearm Owners Association says this illustrates the need for consistent regulations statewide and I would agree.

The second story comes out of Idaho. In this story, an investigation of the Madison County Sheriffs’ Department shows that they used concealed carry permit fees to buy firearms for the department and for new carpeting. This came just months after the county commissioners approved a request by Sheriff Roy Klinger to increase permit fees by 38% (an additional $20) back in 2013. The sheriff had argued for the increase saying they couldn’t keep up with the demand.

Records turned over to IdahoReporter.com revealed the agency has spent more than $60,000 on expenses not directly related to concealed weapons permit administration since 2011, including two carpet purchases and one outlay for tile in the office. Klingler characterized those expenses as necessary upkeep for his agency and said his office vetted the purchases through the county’s legal team.

He also said critics focused only on larger purchases, but ignored how long his agency saved to be able to spend on the big-ticket items.

Klinger said his critics have a “nefarious” agenda and are engaging in a “hate campaign against government/law enforcement”. Interestingly, both the sheriff and his critics in the Idaho Second Amendment Association agree on permitless carry.

While Pruett and Klingler agree on permitless carry, the ISAA president said Klingler needs to take action to ease the burden on Idaho’s gun owners.

“The ISAA is here to protect Idaho gun owners and regardless of our agreement on permitless carry, we felt it necessary to bring this issue to light,” Pruett said with a nod towards Klinger’s advocacy for statewide permitless carry.

What surprises me most about the Idaho story is that there isn’t a uniform charge for a carry permit throughout the state.

Both of these stories reinforce the need for statewide preemption on firearms matters just like the arrest of a tourist at Ground Zero in New York City illustrates the need for nationwide reciprocity on carry permits.

H/T Josh and Susan