ROCKY MOUNTAIN GUN OWNERS
RMGO launches radio spots to educate, lobby 4th Congressional District Candidate Jeff Bedingfield
Wednesday, July 10, 2002 -- Rocky Mountain Gun Owners today launched a radio advertisement effort to force 4th Congressional District Candidate Jeff Bedingfield, a Greeley trial lawyer, to answer specific questions about his position on firearms issues.
"Jeff Bedingfield has voiced his support for a number of gun controls, and remains silent on others," said RMGO Chairman Damien Veatch. "With no voting record to prove his position on gun issues, Jeff Bedingfield is very dangerous to gun owners' rights."
Bedingfield told a group of Morgan County Republicans that he hadn't taken a position on the biggest gun issue facing the next Congress: the reauthorization, or repeal, of the largest gun ban in history. The Feinstein Semi-Automatic ban, pushed hard by President Clinton and Sarah Brady, and enacted in 1994, sunsets in 2004. That means Congress must either vote to reauthorize the ban -- many gun owners fear it will be broadened to include every semi-automatic rifle and shotgun -- or allow it to sunset. Gun control advocates in Congress are unlikely to let it pass by without a fight.
"Bedingfield is endorsed by politicians who supported the 1994 ban, and he won't take a public position on it," Veatch said. "Our attempt is to flush out his position on the Clinton Semi-Auto Ban and other gun control issues. Our radio ads will be a great education tool, letting a wishy-washy politician know that banning firearms is not the answer to crime or terrorism."
The ads, which run across the Fourth Congressional District's more prominent radio stations, are scheduled to run through this week.
Rocky Mountain Gun Owners is Colorado's largest state-based gun rights lobby.
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Congressional Candidate attacks RMGO staff
April 26, 2002 - Using a third party to do his attacking, 4th Congressional candidate Jeff Bedingfield (a Greeley attorney) filed a complaint with the Colorado Sec. of State, alleging RMGO Executive Director Dudley Brown violated state campaign law. Bedingfield, who has been smoked out by RMGO and Gun Owners of America as an opponent to gun rights, has decided to trample on First Amendment rights to free speech on his way to shredding our gun rights.
The complaint specifically states that while being a registered lobbyist Brown raised money for 4th Congressional District candidate Marilyn Musgrave, who also happens to serve in the Colorado Senate. But state law doesn't apply to federal candidates, as no less than 4 federal court cases have proven.
Bedingfield hid behind noted Fort Collins anti-gunner John Knesovich to file the complaint, but Knesovich himself is a liability: in 1996 Knesovich - who claims to be a Republican - lead a group called "Republicans for (Democrat) Guy Kelly", who ran an anti-gun campaign against Bob Schaffer, who has been a solid vote for gun owners. Kelly lost, but that didn't deter Knesovich, who later supported anti-gun Democrat Susan Kirkpatrick against Schaffer in 1998.
Gun Owners of America has sent two nationwide e-mails on this Congressional race, urging support for gun rights heroine Musgrave while exposing Bedingfield's anti-gun views. Bedingfield is reported by gun rights activists to have said "You shouldn't be allowed to bring a gun into an establishment that serves alcohol", showing his support for a restaurant ccw ban. Bedingfield has also been quoted as supporting a National ID card and a criminal safezone for schools.
Some believe Beddingfield’s attack is a way to silence gun owners in the election, who he must realize are squarely against him.
“I think Beddingfield wants to bleed RMGO dry with attorney fees and court costs,” said RMGO Chairman Damien Veatch. “This is the kind of thing we expect from Sarah Brady, not a Republican candidate for Congress in a strongly pro-gun district.”
Finally, GOA reported that "Bedingfield has hired liberal political consultant Steve Durham, who wrote in a 2000 memo that Republican leaders must urge pro-gun candidates 'not to run' for office."
Meanwhile, it looks like the more pro-gun candidate is running away from the pack.
A March poll of likely Republican Primary voters showed Musgrave at 39% support, with Jeff Beddingfield 3% and Fort Collins Mayor Ray Martinez at 16%. 36% of those polled responded that they were undecided at this time.
Though Ray Martinez dropped out of the race, it doesn't seemed to have helped Bedingfield: the newest poll shows Musgrave with an even bigger lead.
The latest available financial reports show the Musgrave campaign outdistancing her opponents at a strong pace as well.
Thankfully, HB1410 is dead
May 7, 2002 -
Finally, at midnight last night, the Colorado Legislature adjourned. Our State Constitution limits the session to 120 days, so any legislation still left on the table is considered dead.
Our emergency e-mail - and your corresponding calls to the Capitol -- yesterday morning was crucial in stopping the Step Backward bill, HB1410, and its monstrous child, SB229. SB229 was a harmless housekeeping bill, which was amended to include the same language as HB1410 late on Tuesday night.
Capitol hill staffers, who bear the brunt of the phone calls, reported to RMGO staff that their phones rang of the hook with RMGO activists who wanted to defeat HB1410's poor concealed carry language and come back next year with a much better bill. Those phone calls solidified the opposition of Senate conservatives against the issue, and may just have sent the message to legislative moderates that conservatives won't vote for any bill just because it has "concealed carry" in the title.
Fortunately, SB229 never saw a vote in the Senate. This was due in large part to Senate Majority Leader Bill Thiebaut's refusal to allow a vote, as well as the conservatives who made it known that they weren't going to support a bad bill. In other words, had SB229/HB1410 made it to the Senate floor, it likely would have died anyway.
Many legislators - and the NRA - failed to live by the Hippocratic oath: First, do no harm. A bill that removed the existing rights of current citizens would have been a violation of the Hippocratic oath.
Instead, they crafted a bill based on political necessity - many politicians simply wanted the cover to look pro-gun in the next elections, especially our Governor - that conceded many of battles we have been fighting for years.
The creature of this necessity was Senate Bill 60, and its even worse creation, House Bill 1410. NRA lobbyists knew quite well early in the session what they are admitting in the papers now - that a much better bill is likely to pass next year - but the NRA's intention was to give Gov. Owens help at regaining the gun owners' votes he lost after endorsing Amendment 22. What good would a bill be in 2003, after the election?
In the end, it may not matter: the NRA will endorse Gov. Owens, when "he's the lesser of two evils" will be their claim, perhaps followed by "We can't have a Democrat, can we?". What Gov. Owens probably won't learn, due largely to a weak Democrat opponent, is the lesson that George H. W. Bush learned in 1992: they might vote for you, but after you've burned your base they won't work hard and they won't spend hours over the kitchen table convincing their neighbors to vote for you.
No amount of NRA cajoling will fix that -- gun owners in Colorado aren't going to let Owens live this one down for quite a while, and shouldn't.
The best attitude to the Governor's reelection should be "You might win reelection this year, but you won't get my help doing it."
What now? First, there are elections all across the state, on virtually every level. Get deeply involved in these elections, using very specific criteria for your support.
Which candidates should you support? RMGO will publish the results of our candidate survey, but as of now they are incomplete. Therefore, we'll post our actual legislative survey for you to print out. With this in hand, you can ask candidates to put their name on the dotted line on very specific gun issues. Our suggestion is to only spend your valuable time helping candidates who answer the survey, and answer it 100% -- after all, there are simply too many races and too little time to spend helping 90 percenters.
The convention process, which is happening right now, is the perfect place to promote our agenda. Go to these events, even if you are not a delegate, and gather together with other gun rights supporters to put pressure on every politician. You'd be surprised how many people will join with you when they see you putting on the heat - you'll also be surprised by the number of people who are involved in politics and who do not care about issues.
If getting a concealed carry permit is a concern of yours, please hang tight: we are working on a short term solution to this problem and will announce it when we have that solution.