Democrat State Party Platforms – Oklahoma To South Carolina

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My series of Democrat state party platforms on gun control continues with Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and South Carolina. As I have found, some state parties merely adopt the national platform as their own and this continues with this series of states.

Oklahoma

There used to be a tradition of Oklahoma Democrats being strong supporters of the Second Amendment and gun rights. Former Rep. Dan Boren (D-OK) is on the NRA Board of Directors and his father Sen. David Boren (D-OK) served on the NRA Board of Directors before him. That was then and this is now. The Oklahoma Democratic Party has adopted the DNC platform with its full agenda of gun control as their own.

Given the state party doesn’t have anything specific to say about gun control, it is important to look at the candidates for governor and attorney. Drew Edmondson is the current attorney general of Oklahoma. His website makes no mention of “gun violence” or “gun safety”. However, he is on record elsewhere as saying that the age to purchase modern sporting rifles should be raised to 21.

Running to replace him as attorney general is Mark Myles. He is an attorney in private practice in Oklahoma City. He says he “Support gun safety and responsible gun ownership.” He then goes on to say:

Gun Safety


I support the Second Amendment and common sense regulations that are constitutional, reasonable, and in accord with the holdings of appellate courts. Guns must be stored safely and they must be out of the hands of the mentally ill. Mark strongly values the opinion of law enforcement and their role in keeping Oklahomans safe, and supports responsible gun ownership across the country.

Hmm. “Common sense regulations” that are in accord with the holdings of appellate courts? I wonder how many Oklahomans are aware that the 9th Circuit has said you don’t have a right to carry outside the home or that the 4th Circuit has ruled that certain semi-automatic firearms and their magazines are outside the Second Amendment.

Oregon

 Moving from a state where politicians and the Democratic Party are circumspect about their intentions for gun control to a state where it is more explicit, the Democratic Party of Oregon’s 2018 platform and legislative priorities call for gun bans (among other things).

From the platform, Article Six – Health Care, Basic Needs, and Gun Safety:

We support the 2nd Amendment and believe that hunting, sport shooting, and safe, responsible gun ownership
are traditions worth preserving for future generations. We thus support comprehensive background checks for all
gun sales and believe in measures to reduce firearm-related violence, injury, death, and to promote public safety…



We support a ban on the civilian sale and purchase of military-style weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Their legislative priorities go even further:

4. Ban the sale and purchase of military-grade and assault weapons, such as AR-15s, and
equipment used to modify weapons into assault weapons. Limit magazine capacity
to 10 rounds. Raise the minimum age of long gun purchases from 18 to 21. Fund and
implement buy-back programs for those weapons and magazines.



6. Repeal the Dickey Amendment and resume public research into gun violence in the
United States and fund comprehensive research to form evidence-based gun ownership
and use controls.

The Oregon Democrats have a number of caucuses including a Gun Owners Caucus. Reading their mission seems to be a mess of contradictory objectives. While they say they will push for a pro-2A legislative agenda, they then say they will support Democrats in office and those that are nominees. Gov. Kate Brown (D-OR) is a strong proponent of gun control having signed many gun control bills and calling for more. Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum (D-OR) is likewise a strong proponent of gun control. Those in the Gun Owners Caucus really can’t have it both ways. As it is, they seem to function more as a fig leave for the gun prohibitionists than anything else.



Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Democratic Party doesn’t have a platform on their website and Ballotpedia says they adopt the DNC platform. Their “issues” page does not address anything dealing with firearms, gun control, or even gun safety (sic).

Thus, let’s look at what Gov. Tom Wolf (D-PA) says he wants on gun control. Like the party, he doesn’t put gun control items on is campaign website. That said, he is where he stands according to the York Daily Record.

Here’s what Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has said and done about gun control and the Second Amendment.


Wolf has supported:

  • expanding background checks to cover private sales of long guns, including shotguns and rifles;
  • banning bump stocks — devices that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire more rapidly, mimicking the speed of automatic weapons;
  • increasing gun restrictions for defendants in domestic violence and protection-from-abuse cases.

Likewise, Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D-PA) who is not up for re-election is a strong proponent of gun control and was strongly backed by Michael Bloomberg. It should be pointed out that many Philadelphia area Republicans are, at best, neutral on gun control as they fear the influx of Bloomberg’s money. Sebastian at Shall Not Be Questioned has reported on this for year.s

Rhode Island


According to Uprise RI, the gun prohibitionists were upset that the earlier versions of the party platform of the Rhode Island Democrats didn’t include gun control. The 2018 version adds this to the platform but the prohibitionists are upset it doesn’t include a “assault weapon” (sic) and magazine ban along with language condemning attempts at national carry reciprocity.

That said, the platform seems to be as bad as most.

REDUCING GUN VIOLENCE


As Democrats, we
respect the Constitution’s Second Amendment and its guaranteed rights for
law

abiding citizens to keep and bear arms. At
the same time, we recognize that there is a serious
issue with gun violence in our country, and we support
regulations regarding the safe use of
firearms.
We are proud of the thoughtful work that has been done in our state to
ensure the safety
of our children and our communities
and we support
passage of
other common sense measures
aimed at protecting the public from individuals who have demonstrated their inability to possess
a firearm without putting others around them in danger.
We
believe that we must
provide the public with the tools to be proactive partners with law enforcement to reduce gun violence. To
keep our communities safe, Rhode Island Democrats insist that Congress enact legislation to
require
unlicensed gun sellers at gun shows
and private gun dealers to conduct the same instant
background checks that licensed dealers need to conduct
using the National Criminal Instant
Background Check System
.
Additionally, we support laws that protects our children and our
families and will work to support common sense gun violence prevention measures. Finally,
because we view gun violence as a public health issue, we also call on Congress to pass
legislation allowing the Centers for Disease Control to study this issue.

South Carolina

South Carolina Democrats passed a resolution adopting the DNC platform in its entirety as their own platform. To get a better idea of what the Democrats would do if elected, let’s examine the positions of their candidates for governor and attorney general as those two positions would have the greatest impact on firearms legislation.

James Smith is the Democrat nominee for governor facing Gov. Henry McMaster (R-SC). His website has this platform regarding firearms:

Advocating for Common Sense Gun Safety


James believes in a South Carolina that’s stands with our youth and he was proud to stand with them at the March for our Lives rally in Columbia. As Governor, James will sign legislation that:

  • Closes the Charleston loophole
  • Bans bump stocks and trigger cranks
  • Requires universal background checks, including for gun show sales
  • Makes it a crime to threaten use of a weapon on school grounds
  • Restricts retail sales of military-style assault weapons, including AR-15s
  • Introduces individual responsibility measures requiring owners of military-style assault weapons to be responsible for safekeeping and reporting stolen weapons promptly

The Charleston loophole refers to a FFL being allowed to release a firearm to a purchaser after three business days if a delayed response is received during the NICS check.

Constance Anastopoulo is the Democrat nominee to face pro-gun Attorney General Alan Wilson (R-SC). She is the wife of Akim Anastopoulo whose personal injury ambulance chasing ads run daily on South Carolina TV stations. Before becoming a law professor at the Charleston School of Law, she practiced with her husband. She doesn’t have anything on her website dealing with the issues. However, in announcing her intention to run, she said she would work to deny firearms to “domestic abusers”. I know this seems to be a common refrain from the gun control lobby but it would seem to already be covered by the Lautenberg Amendment which makes anyone convicted of a misdemeanor of domestic violence a prohibited person.

Fortunately, neither Smith nor Anastopoulo have much chance of beating the incumbent Republicans.

She Approves Of Dead Mexicans, Gun Running, And Murdered Federal LEOs

Hillary Clinton is one of the most shameless politicians of this era or any era. If an endorsement or ad will get her just one more vote, she’ll go for it. It doesn’t matter if the person making the endorsement was the most partisan, the most contemptible, the most brutally corrupt Attorney General since the founding of this Republic. A man whose fingerprints were all over an operation to run guns to Mexican cartels so as to build support for gun control. A man who was found in Contempt of Congress. A man who said he supported voting rights but dismissed charges of outright voter intimidation against favored groups. A man who used the Department of Justice as a shakedown machine against corporate America.

Of course, I’m referring to former Attorney General Eric Holder.

Living in western North Carolina, 3/4’s of our broadcast TV comes from the Upstate of South Carolina. I was watching Jeopardy! last night when the ad below came on with Holder’s endorsement of Hillary. The two themes pushed were gun control and voting rights. These are themes that play well with black voters and Hillary needs to lock down the black vote to stave off Bernie Sanders.

Who cares if the endorser and his minions were responsible, directly or indirectly, for the murders of two Federal law enforcement officers, the deaths of a minimum of 300 Mexican nationals, and the arming of Mexican drug cartels through smuggled guns?

Hillary doesn’t. All she cares about is getting one more vote.

We Aren’t The Suppliers; Thieves Are The Suppliers

Willie Dixie, Jr. is the Special Agent in Charge of the BATFE’s Charlotte Field Division. He was interviewed earlier this week by WCNC – NBC Charlotte regarding gun thefts in North and South Carolina.

“We are the supplier of those firearms that end up in the northern cities,” Wayne Dixie, Jr. said.

Last year there were 256 guns stolen in South Carolina that ended up in just New York. Another 279 from North Carolina ended up there. And those numbers have been pretty steady over the last five years.

It’s not just stolen guns from here that make their way up North, others are bought here legally and make the same trek.

“North and South Carolina are source states…a lot of times people from the North will come down here and purchase firearms here because of lax gun laws.”

Sorry SAC Dixie, “we” aren’t the suppliers. Thieves and criminal organizations are the suppliers. When examining the BATFE’s own gun trace data for New York for 2014, North and South Carolina are not even the top source states. That honor goes to New York itself with five times as many traced guns as either North or South Carolina.

Also, what the hell do you mean by “lax gun laws”? Do you mean that because North Carolina has a greater appreciation for the Constitution (to which you took an oath) that we are “lax”?

Straw purchases are illegal whether done in downtown Charlotte or downtown Manhattan. Moreover, even private sales of handguns in North Carolina require either a pistol purchase permit or a concealed handgun permit to be legal. That pistol purchase permit system, by the way, was instituted by Democrats to keep African-Americans like yourself disarmed.

Your office conveniently proclaims when they have been involved in a conviction of any sort. Despite your so-called surge of FFL inspections started in 2014, I see only one reported set of convictions for either firearms theft or trafficking in the last two years. Indeed, more people were convicted of smuggling cigarettes than firearms if your releases are any indication.

No dealer ever wants to see firearms from his or her store used in a crime. Furthermore, none of them want to see firearms stolen from their store. Gun stores go to great lengths to protect their inventory and, unless I am mistaken, this is part of your inspection process.

You can see SAC Dixie’s statements below in his interview with Michelee Boudin of WCNC.

PTR Industries Moving To The Beach

It is a study in contrasts.

On the one hand you have Horry County, South Carolina and on the other is the state of Connecticut. The former offers a warm welcome, tax incentives, a nice climate, great beaches nearby, and a political community including Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC) who not only are pro-gun but actually want you and your products in their state.

The latter has passed laws that has outlawed the sale of your only product in that state, has cold and dreary winters, a higher cost of living, and has a governor in Daniel Molloy (D-CT) who considers you the devil incarnate.

Given this, it is isn’t surprising that PTR Industries has chosen Horry County over Connecticut. It was announced yesterday at a meeting of the Horry County Council that they would be moving to the town of Aynor.

From the Hartford Courant:

The company — which said two months ago that it would be relocating once it found a suitable location “friendly to the industry” — will move to Aynor, S.C., near Myrtle Beach, said John McNamara, vice president of sales at PTR.

The gun manufacturer, with about 45 employees, was the first firm to announce its exit from the state following recent gun control legislation. Many of PTR’s employees agreed to the move and even held an informal vote choosing South Carolina over other states.

PTR currently has 45 employees at its plant in Bristol, Connecticut. They estimate that 24 of those employees will make the move to South Carolina. According to the Myrtle Beach Sun News, PTR has committed to increase their workforce to 80 by the end of the first year and to 145 employees by the end of 2016. This means the majority of the company’s employees will come from the local Horry County workforce.

According to my conversations with PTR representatives at the NRA Annual Meeting, they have been growing rapidly. Their current workforce is double what is was a year ago.

Some details of the agreement between Horry County and PTR Industries still remain undecided, including the amount of a fee in lieu of taxes the county will agree to and the millage rate at which the company’s equipment and other personal property will be taxed.

Those details will be included in actions Horry County Council must now take to solidify the agreement. The council will have to take three votes on the agreement, one of which will include a public hearing.

The county, state and Horry Electric Cooperative will fund upgrades to the shell building where the company will move, but those costs will be repaid by the company during the first two years of its lease of the building. It will pay the county $300,000 annually for the next nine years to lease the building, after which the county will deed it to PTR.

Lofton said the company wants a building that can be expanded. The shell building now has 58,000 square feet but can be expanded to 100,000 square feet, he said.

The company will invest $3 million in the building and has committed to an additional $5 million investment, including the cost of equipment, according to the agreement in the resolution.

If PTR doesn’t meet the benchmarks in the agreement, it will be responsible for the full amount of taxes, including that from state tax credits for job creation, that it would have paid without the agreement.

And it looks like PTR is not the only Connecticut firearms manufacturer looking at Horry County.  Both the Hartford Courant and the Myrtle Beach Sun News are reporting that Stag Arms is also being courted by the county. Mark Malkowski, CEO of Stag Arms, is scheduled to visit the area next week.

This report by FoxCT details some of the effort by South Carolina officials to persuade Connecticut companies to relocate.

Quote Of The Day

In a discussion of the special election in South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District, Erick Erickson of RedState had this tongue-in-check comment.

Mark Sanford wins again. I guess the Democrats will blame Busch.

That would be the losing Democrat nominee Elizabeth Colbert Busch whose major claim to fame seemed to be that she was the sister of  comedian Stephen Colbert. She also had a 3-1 spending advantage over Sanford.

I Just Love (Southern) Politicians

I thought the days of the old-time Southern politician in the mold of Huey Long or any of the other rascals like him were long gone. The type of politician who would portray himself in public as a God-fearing, tea-drinking, gun-owning, pro-American family man with a pretty wife and cute kids while in private he wasn’t above having a nip or two and consorting with college co-eds.

SC State Rep. Ted Vick (Chesterfield Cty) has restored my faith in Southern politicians. He is was running for Congress in the new 7th District of South Carolina. On his campaign website, he notes that he is “a businessman, a farmer, a pastor, a sportsman, a soldier and a state representative” who is seeking to return values like “hard work, common sense, and bipartisanship” to Washington. Vick is also a Lt. Col. in the SC National Guard.

He was considered one of the leading candidates in the race. He was even mentioned in an article in the Washington Post about possibly being one of the surprises of this election cycle. However, that was before his little escapade early Thursday morning.

Rep. Vick was stopped in Columbia for doing 44 mph in a 30 zone. A little over the limit but nothing major except:

  • He had been bar hopping.
  • He refused the sobriety test and was charged with DUI.
  • He was carrying a Kel-Tec .380 pistol in his pocket.
  • His concealed carry license expired in 2007.
  • He had a woman in the car with him.
  • The woman was not his wife but a 21-year old recent graduate of USC whom he met in a bar.

Ooops! Rep. Vick has been charged with DUI, speeding, and for the unlawful carrying of a firearm without a permit. He also spent the night in the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center and was released on his own recognizance.

Vick announced just a litle while ago that he is ending his campaign for Congress.

“After spending time with my family, my pastor and my friends, I have decided to end my campaign for the United States Congress.

While I have full confidence that the legal system will clear much of this up, it will not change the fact that I made some serious mistakes that I alone am responsible for. I realize that I have caused pain to those who love and support me and it’s my responsibility to make this right.

Now is the time to allow the legal system to work, time for me to concentrate on my family and time for me to focus on the needs of my State House constituents.

I look forward to spending more time at home with my family and constituents. I will humbly seek re-election to the State House in November. If re-elected I will continue to work across party aisles to seek consensus and progress.”

Now have I left anything out? Hmm. The 21-year old not-his-wife woman was blond (his wife has brown hair) and Mr. Vick is a Democrat who recently made news when he quit the American Legislative Exchange Council or ALEC.

“Let’s You Take Your Safety Into Your Own Hands”

Sheriff Chuck Wright of Spartanburg County, SC made national news with his call for women to get their concealed carry permits. And it sounds like the women of South Carolina listened.

According to the report from WSPA in Spartanburg, Jennifer Reeves was home alone with her kids when a shooting happened in her neighborhood. While she had a gun, she didn’t know how to use. In response to the shooting and to Sheriff Wright’s call for women to get concealed carry permits, she organized a class for women in her neighborhood.

What is perhaps surprising about this report was the pro-gun tone throughout. Christine Scarpelli of WSPA concludes her report by saying it “let’s you take your safety into your own hands.” She is absolutely correct and is to be applauded for stating the truth on the air. And from the comments on her Facebook page, it sounds like she may have participated as well.

South Carolina Considers Constitutional Carry

Rep. Mike Pitts of Laurens, a former Greenville police officer, has introduced House Bill 3292 which would make South Carolina the newest state to authorize constitutional carry.

In addition to Rep. Pitts, the bill has 37 co-sponsors. The SC House Judiciary Committee held hearings on the bill today. According to an article in The State, the bill has been delayed due to amendments meant to improve the law.

“It’s unfortunate that that there’s so much in this bill that needs to be fixed,” said Robert Butler, a lobbyist for South Carolina GrassRoots GunRights, which asked for more than a dozen amendments.

But state Rep. Thad Viers, a Myrtle Beach Republican, said many amendments would doom the bill to reduce the need to get a concealed weapons permit.

“It gives us time to make corrections – necessary corrections,” said state Rep. Mike Pitts, a Laurens Republican. “I have no problem with us taking the time to make sure we get it right.”

Just like when Arizona was passing constitutional carry, a concealed carry instructor who feels his livelihood is in danger has come out against the change. Ted Landreth of Shooterszone Tactical makes the usual – but erroneous – comparison to getting a driver’s license and the need for training. The difference is that driving is not an enumerated constitutional right. I would wager that those instructors in Arizona who supported constitutional carry have all the business they can handle.

UPDATE: House Bill 3292 was approved unanimously by the SC State House Judiciary General Laws subcommittee on Feb. 24th. It now goes to the full Judiciary Committee. Three more members also requested to added to the list of co-sponsors for the bill.

Nikki Haley of South Carolina

If you live in Western North Carolina two of your three major television stations come out of the Upstate of South Carolina. As a result, I haven’t been able to turn on the TV for the last few months without seeing a political ad for the South Carolina gubernatorial race. You get the occasional Democrat but most of the ads have been for one of the Republicans – Nikki Haley, Gresham Barrett, Henry McMaster, or Andre Bauer.

Thus, I “know” that Gresham went to the Citadel, that Henry will assert South Carolina’s state’s rights, that Andre has been endorsed by Mike Huckabee, and that Nikki is against the power of the legislature and has been endorsed by Sarah Palin.

South Carolina Republican politics are also some of the most brutal in the country. Nikki Haley has been accused of having an affair with a blogger and a consultant for Andre Bauer (which she has strenuously denied), Gresham Barrett has been dumped on for voting for TARP, Henry McMaster has been accused of being a professional politician, and Andre Bauer is just a weasel. Oops, that last comment was mine but appears to be true.

However, this is a gun blog so where do they stand on the Second Amendment is important to me. The NRA has not endorsed any of the candidates nor has published their current grades. However, having examined the websites for all four, I’d guess that they would all get an A or A+ from the NRA. Of the four, the one that impresses me the most is Nikki Haley. She not only has a concealed weapons permit (CWP) but thinks that the South Carolina laws are too restrictive on where you can or can’t carry.

I find Haley’s response to be refreshing.

By the time this is published, voting in the SC Primary will be almost over. Polls have shown that Haley is the clear leader and that the other three are hoping to force her to a runoff. The accusations of infidelity have not hurt Haley but have, in fact, rebounded in the opposite direction. If Haley is forced to a runoff by failing to get 50% (a tough standard – most states now use the 40% rule), I am guessing that it will be either McMaster or Barrett and not Bauer.