First-ever nationwide coalition to fight the "Assault Weapons" ban forms: Coalition Against the Semi-auto Ban announced
As everyone has undoubtedly heard, President Bush has publicly stated his support for reauthorizing the 1994 ban on so-called "Assault Weapons."
Longtime RMGO members aren't surprised: when Bush was just another Republican candidate for President, we tracked his views (as well as the views of other candidates, including Hillary Clinton-wannabe now-Sen. Elizabeth Dole) on a number of issues, including the Semi-auto Ban.
You can see our old tracking page at http://www.rmgo.org/prez.html
The only people really surprised by this announcement are those who have little knowledge of the history of gun controls -- they virtually always happen with the aid of those who are ostensibly on our side -- and who cast a blind eye at a President who has a gun rights record that rivals Bill Clinton's. Despite a party platform that is strongly pro-gun, Bush has done nothing for gun owners, and a great number of things against gun owners.
Notice that George Bush stated numerous times that he supported a ban on assault weapons. The only real question was if the President would ignore the debate about to rage in Congress and simply hope the bill didn't make it to his desk or if he would actively support this gun ban. We now have our answer.
Ban to be expanded
Though the details are unclear, the sponsors of the legislation to reauthorize the ban are planning to expand it, covering more firearms and getting rid of any perceived loopholes. Instead of simply listing the types of weapons covered, the new "Assault Weapons Ban" language will ban any semi-auto firearm that accepts a detachable magazine and possesses one narrowly defined military characteristic. We'll update you regularly on their attempts.
Usually the battle against gun control proponents is lead by a few Beltway-based groups, the chief of which is the NRA.
One problem: when they are involved in a battle, they are very likely to cut deals on the issue, bargaining so that we get "the best deal we can get." That's fine, if you care about what members of Congress think, but we don't. Few groups are willing to criticize the NRA's deals, worried that it will turn off members.
This battle is different: Rocky Mountain Gun Owners has joined with more than a dozen other state-level gun rights groups, including the National Association for Gun Rights and KeepandBearArms.com, to form a grassroots-based coalition against this ban. To our knowledge, it is the first time in American history that has happened.
You can read about this new Coalition at
We don't plan on just fighting the fight -- we plan on winning, without any compromises. We won't come back to members and say "gee, we bargained as hard as we could, but in the end the only thing we could stop was the expansion -- the ban has been reauthorized." We will win this battle for one reason: we will put politicians on notice that any
-- we'll repeat it, so that any Congressional staff that read this get the right idea -- ANY vote for a ban on semi-automatic firearms or high-capacity magazines will mean you lose the votes of gun owners, forever. Period, end of sentence, full stop. Vote for this bill and you can seek forgiveness from your priest, rabbi, savior or to whichever god you pray -- gun owners must make it clear that there exists no way to wipe that slate clean.
This is no small task. Getting some institutional gun lobbies to hold politicians accountable is more work than actually holding those pols accountable yourself -- those lobbies are just too ingrained into the system, and exist primarily to feed the politicians who, almost to a man/woman, will vote for this ban.
But this coalition could change things dramatically.
Rocky Mountain Gun Owners Executive Director Dudley Brown has been working to form this group, called the Coalition Against the Semi-auto Ban, or CASB (pronounced "Kaz-bee"). We're working with dozens of groups across America to create a network of no-compromise, grassroots groups who will work 24/7 to defeat the reauthorization of the semi-auto ban.
What can you do?
RMGO will provide targeted information about where and when a politician is vulnerable -- the time to hit them with the facts and put them on notice that gun owners votes are on the line.
We'll let you know when a particular event is happening that we can hit with "informative" fliers -- if at all possible, let us know as soon as you get these notices on whether you will be able to make a particular event.
And if you know of an appearance by any of these targeted Congress-critters, please call us immediately: we can equip you and few other fellow gun owners to hit the event with fliers.
Colorado Congressional Delegation Status
Here is the status of Colorado's Congressional Delegation
Sen. Campbell - Voted FOR the ban in 1994. Though he is vulnerable only if he runs for re-election, he is likely to take GOP votes for granted.
Sen. Allard - Voted AGAINST the ban in 1994. Just re-elected, so he likely thinks gun owners would forget any transgression on this issue. We must let him know that things have changed, and we won't forget nor forgive: a "No" vote on reauthorization, or any brokered compromise, is the only acceptable vote.
1st Congressional District
Dianna DeGette - 100% communist. Don't waste your time lobbying her.
2nd Congressional District
Mark Udall - 99% communist. Don't waste your time lobbying him.
3rd Congressional District
Scott McInnis - Voted AGAINST the ban in 1994. McInnis follows the crowd on gun issues, and isn't likely to raise eyebrows. He won't be a hero, and won't be an outright enemy. But he has strong ambitions to run for Campbell's seat, should Campbell not run. And McInnis is very likely to vote for a middle-of-the-road compromise on the issue (read: a defeat for gun owners).
4th Congressional District
Marilyn Musgrave - Has signed numerous pledges to vote against the ban, and campaigned on it when first elected to the seat in 2002. She's likely to lead the charge against the reauthorization, but letting her know you are with her is a spine-stiffening practice.
5th Congressional District
Joel Hefley - Voted AGAINST the ban in 1994. Coming from one of the most conservative districts in America, he should be expected to vote correctly. There are rumors, however, that he will not run again: that makes things dicey. No letup on pressure advised.
6th Congressional District
Tom Tancredo - Though Tom Tancredo ran as a proponent of gun rights, Columbine changed his tune. In a June 1999 Rocky Mountain News article, Tancredo said he now (after Columbine) supports 24-hour background checks, mandatory child safety locks and a ban on the import of high-capacity magazines (a part of the Feinstein Assault Weapons ban). And though Tancredo is probably safe in his seat until the end of the millenium, Tancredo is also ambitious -- look for him to throw his hat in the ring if Campbell retires. That makes him vulnerable to pressure.
7th Congressiona District
Bob Beauprez - A newly elected Congressman, Beauprez won by a sliver, which means he is scared of his own shadow. Beauprez has a history of supporting gun control: he was one of the signers of the 2000 SAFE ballot initiative to close the gun show "loophole." Beauprez is also very close to the Bush Adminstration, making him a very likely vote for reauthorization.
When dealing with most of these politicians, know this: if they think you will vote for them no matter what they do on this issue -- using the "lesser of two evils" argument -- your opinion doesn't count and you might as well not contact them. That's why our message to these politicians must be firm: vote against us, and we vote against you. Remember Governor Bill Owens' statement "What are they going to do? Vote Democrat?" Though few would voice that opinion so candidly, all of them think it. All of the logic in the world won't make them vote our way; only sheer political pressure will force most of these pols into voting against the ban.
Does this mean you have to support a gun-grabbing Democrat? No, it doesn't. It means you should never -- NEVER -- vote for a politician when they've openly defied our constitutional right to keep and bear arms, especially on such a crucial issue as this. If that politician can win re-election, fine: but they shouldn't do it with gun owners votes, money or time.
Remember the first President Bush? His loss gave us Bill Clinton but can be laid at Bush's own feet: had he not defied his staunchest supporters on two key issues -- guns and taxes -- he would have had an army of support in 1992. Instead, his normal base of support cared little and did even less. That's a good lesson for politicians to learn: you have to work for my vote, not take it for granted.
Beware the "gun groups" who openly support the politicians who vote against us. Case in point: shortly after the 2002 elections, the Colorado State Shooting Association posted a congratulations on their website. Of the five politicians pictured in this blatant kiss-up were three who had openly defied gun owners: Congressman Tom Tancredo, Gov. Bill "Gun Control" Owens, and new Congressman Bob Beauprez (all three had, among other sins, supported closing the gun show loophole). Beauprez himself has done quite a dance to avoid answering questions about the assault weapons ban, meaning his default position -- without a lot of hardcore lobbying by us -- is to vote for the ban (see assessment of Beauprez, above). Instead of pressuring Beauprez for an answer, CSSA covered up for him.
If you want to see CSSA's brown-nosing attempt, you can go to http://www.cssa.org/ and scroll down to the bottom of their page for proof.
Why do we say to beware these type of groups now? Put simply, these groups view their job as running interference between you (the dedicated gun rights activist, who wants to hold politicians accountable) and the politician who has voted against us. These Quislings -- in reference to the Norwegian socialist who invited the Nazis to take over his country and then crowned himself dictator -- are certain to do much of the same during this battle to reauthorize the assault weapons ban. Their efforts are what enable many marginal politicians to vote against us.
More on all of this later, but expect a huge battle -- one that can't be won without your help.
We've had a great many contacts from people wanting to do something -- anything they could -- to win this battle. We appreciate, and share, their enthusiasm.
In just a few weeks you will be getting a piece of mail that will require your attention -- we hope you'll respond with the same enthusiasm.
But, in the meantime, we need to prepare for this battle. Since we are planning to take this battle to the most effective level -- to the grassroots, right where the politicians don't want us being active -- we need to get a solid list of activists who will be available to attend events, distribute fliers, and force some members of Colorado's Congressional Delegation to commit to voting against this reauthorization.
Leave Subject line the same
At the TOP of the body of the message, send full name, mailing address (so we can call you for your area and to verify that you are who you are) and phone number.
Friends, this is a very important battle we are in. And while a rally might feel nice, hitting politicians at local events is a much more effective method of getting their attention.
Again, our message is simple: if you vote for the reauthorization -- or ANY compromise on this issue, regardless of who brokers that compromise -- you will be forever shunned by gun owners. The ribbing Governor Bill Owens took at the 2000 Republican State Convention (where a powerful and otherwise popular first-GOP-governor-in-24 years was almost booed off the stage) is only a sampling of what we will do to the careers of Colorado members of Congress who vote wrong (or work behind the scenes to secure reauthorization).
And again, we're not going to dilute our message: we'll concentrate on the Congressmen and Senators in Colorado who are most vulnerable, i.e. Republicans. We could spend a lot of time putting pressure on DeGette and Udall, but that would be a waste of effort. Let's concentrate our fire on those who need to follow their party platform and vote against ANY gun bans.
Let's play this one smart, and make sure we do our part to undo this vile ban on the very type of firearms that are defending our freedom in other countries.
What you can do:
Leave Subject line the same
At the TOP of the body of the message, send full name, mailing address (so we can call you for your area and to verify that you are who you are) and phone number.
We'll be in contact you as soon as possible.
Preemption, weak concealed carry bill pass House on Second Reading
March 13, 2003 - SB24 and SB25 passed the House today on Second Reading today, which is where most amendments and debate are done. SB25 wasn't changed, but SB24 was.
SB25, the preemption bill, will have a Third reading vote on the House floor on Friday. Assuming no third reading amendments, it will sent directly to the Governor's desk (the Senate already passed the exact version the House debated today).
Dave Kopel published a sharp paper on SB25, detailing what it does and does not do, at:
As reported, SB24 sponsor Al White ran his amendment to, among other things, change the expiration on training to 10 years for law enforcement and veterans. That makes it the same as training for the average citizen -- it must have been within the last 10 years.
But the main thing SB24 did, and didn't do, was keep the database until 2007, when it would sunset.
Other amendments were fought off viciously, including our effort to remove the database entirely. State Rep. Kevin Lundberg ran that amendment. State Rep. Pam Rhodes ran an amendment to lower the fee (from $100 to $50, for a five year permit) and to make former law enforcement go through the exact process the rest of us must endure.
By threatening to run an amendment, State Rep. Mike May forced Governor Owens to admit that DOW's hunter safety training (conducted by what is considered a law enforcment agency, and therefore allowable training under SB24) would satisfy the training requirements.
Rhodes and Lundberg forced the House to make recorded votes on their amendments, which is one of the toughest things to do as a legislator. Party leadership has a fit, threatening careers and cajoling these "rebels", who's only sin is that they want to allow citizens to practice their God-given rights with as little government interference as possible.
Though these three amendments failed, it forced the other changes to the bill. We'll post those votes electronically soon, as they serve as great reminders of who is REALLY pro-gun, and who is so afraid to rock the boat that they will oppose gun rights.
In the end, it was the efforts of a small number of House Conservatives that forced some of the changes to SB24. SB24 now allows hunters safety as an accepted form of training, your training does expire as early as a previous version of the bill, and the database sunsets in 2007 (as opposed to never). Again, NONE of this would have happened without RMGO and the true pro-gun leaders of the legislature.
Notable are the efforts of two freshmen: Kevin Lundberg and Mike May. Both showed an extremely stiff spine, something that distinguishes them from the normal invertebrates who populate the legislature. If you live in their districts (Lundberg represents parts of Larimer county and a little bit of Weld, while Mike May represents a part of Douglas county), or even if you don't, it is worth dropping a note to them thanking them for their fortitude.
These three legislators were backed up by Greg Brophy (another freshmen who showed guts), Ted Harvey, Bill Crane, Mark Cloer and, of course, Dave Schultheis, who worked diligently for weeks in advance to force changes in SB24. If we had just a few more of these type of legislators, SB24 would have looked much better and Colorado citizens could look forward to more freedom.
As it is, SB24 isn't much to brag about: it will take years to remove some of the more objectionable provisions of this new law.
SB24 will be heard on Third reading in the House on Friday. Once passed, it will go to the Senate where the House changes must either be accepted (it can "concur") or, failing that, a conference committee must be appointed. Until both chambers have voted on and passed the exact same version, it cannot go to the Governor.
New “Concealed Carry Compromise” a step backward
April 1, 2002 -
This week the State Senate passed SB24, Sen. Ken Chlouber's concealed carry bill.
The bill itself passed out of the Senate with 23 votes, 5 more than the required 18 majority.
Since Republicans now control the Senate, and thus decide who is the chairman of the "committee of the whole" Senate for Second Reading, most of the amendments offered by Democrats were ruled as "not fitting under the title."
Understand what is happening here: the Democrats, mostly from Denver, used just this circumstance 2 years ago as a way to run a series of anti-gun amendments to a concealed carry bill. The Democrats then used these recorded votes to attack sitting Republican legislators - especially on the "guns in schools" issue - in the 2000 elections.
Though RMGO had worked to add language to prohibit a statewide database of permit holders, which was successful in the Senate State Affairs Committee, Chlouber joined with hardcore anti-gun Denver Democrat Sen. Ken Gordon to strip that language from
SB24. That means that sheriffs can, and will, enter all permit holders into a statewide database, effectively creating a dangerous persons list, a perfect tool for tyranny.
Sen. Doug Lamborn fought hard to keep the database prohibition language in the bill. Lamborn used a procedure called an "amendment to the committee of the whole" to force a recorded vote on this issue. 6 Senators voted to prohibit a statewide database of permit holders: Lamborn, Bruce Cairns, Mark Hillman, Andy McElhany, Dave Owen and Senate President John Andrews. For those keeping score at home, this serves as a list of the stalwarts for gun rights in the State Senate.
We were able to slightly move the training requirement. Sen. Bruce Cairns offered an amendment on Second Reading to change the requirement to have training within the last 5 years: it has now changed to 10 years. Though this amendment passed, this hardly makes SB24 a good bill.
SB24 was assigned by the House Speaker into the Local Government, a committee with no conservatives, where it will be heard on Friday, Feb. 28th at 1:30 pm. This wasn't by accident.
What is wrong with SB24? Here is a short list:
- No database prohibition
- Training requirements - hunter safety not included, and there is a 10 year time limit on training.
- Fee -- $100 plus $30 fingerprint fee plus the required training makes this bill affordable to Ross Perot, but out of reach for many Colorado citizens.
- Safezones - K-12 public schools; any facility that has security personnel and weapons screening devices.
- Fingerprint logging - SB24 requires applicants to submit their fingerprints, which are then forwarded to the FBI and entered into their fingerprint database.
- Existing permits expire early
- Residency requirement - Rather than allow sheriffs to issue permits to non-county residents (which would provide a safety outlet when cities like Denver refuse to issue permits, as they are now threatening), SB24 requires you to apply in your county of residence. It also fails to allow visiting out of state citizens to apply.
What you can do: call your State Representative today at 1-800-811-7647 or 303-866-2904 and urge him/her to either fix SB24 or kill it.