A Pro-Gun Minority Calls Out Tom’s and Gifford’s On Their Gun Safety Town Hall Agenda

Tom's Giffords Town Hall Denver Rally For Our Rights Colorado
On Saturday January 26, I attended the Gun Safety Town Hall held in the Washington Street Community Center of Denver. I’ll admit I approached with trepidation, into the belly as it were.

The anti-gun lobby is flush with cash and it shows. They can hire expert IT types to exploit social media and develop catchy websites, and they can afford big vehicles with custom paint jobs. My RSVP invitation was seamlessly handled through Eventbrite.

To enter the venue, I had to pass through unarmed security using wand metal detectors. Inside I couldn’t tell who were event sponsors or volunteers because they all wore identical flashy badges. Video cameras flanked the stage, complete with a big banner. About a hundred and fifty or so from the public filed in to occupy the rows of folding chairs arranged in the main meeting room. The crowd included the usual suspects: a few middle-aged women in MDA or Cease Fire Colorado t-shirts. One man wore a Parkland High School t-shirt, although I never found out if he hailed from there or wore it out of solidarity.

The event was moderated by a rep from the Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence, who shared the dais with an anti-gun writer from New York City, someone from Tom’s Shoes (who was footing the bill, pun intended), Congressman Joe Neguse from Colorado, and Tom Mauser. The town hall began with the speakers discussing mass shooting to include the usual hate speech against the NRA.

The actual point of the town hall was to drum up support for HR 8, the new bill for expanded background checks, advertised as needed to close the infamous gun-show loophole, because as you all know, as we were told, any Colorado resident can simply drive to New Mexico or Wyoming and buy a gun, no questions asked. Ignoring of course that such an act is already a violation of federal law.

The town hall was scheduled to last an hour and at the halfway point, the public was invited to approach a microphone and share. One young woman said she was a Parkland survivor. A couple of older speakers expressed their gratitude for the campaign’s effort to end gun violence. A young man said he was from New Hampshire and rambled on about that state’s proliferation of guns, but I couldn’t tell if he was anti- or pro-gun.

Finally it was my turn. My question was that since both the DOJ and the FBI have established a direct correlation between drug trafficking and gun violence, how come the Giffords campaign, or MDA, or Everytown for Gun Safety, or any of the prevent-gun-violence groups do not once mention drug trafficking as responsible for gun violence?

I could tell my question blind-sided them. The only one who answered was the woman from the Giffords campaign, who said that they are focused on gun violence, not drug trafficking. My rebuttal was that even the CDC concludes that the highest risk factor for homicides, especially those with guns, is drug trafficking. I stressed that the anti-gun people were ignoring one of the biggest causes of gun violence. Though I went way over my three-minute time limit, the brief back-and-forth exposed a gaping hole in their agenda.

After the meeting, I did attempt to debate HR 8 with the woman from the Giffords campaign, but she wouldn’t let the facts interfere with her talking points. She’s paid big bucks to toe the company line, not acknowledge the truth or promote effective policy that provides for public safety.

Interestingly, on my way out, one of the event’s African-American volunteers, a big man named Stevon, congratulated me for my comments. Before the town hall, he had brought up the same points, which were summarily dismissed.

So what did I learn?

ONE: these public venues are a great opportunity to make our case. Unlike in social media or through the news outlets, the anti-gunners can’t easily delete our comments. They have to respond.

TWO: focus on an issue that exposes the weaknesses of their agenda. What I noted at this town hall but didn’t mention was that they got everyone stirred up over mass shootings, then segued into expanded background checks even though they admitted that these checks wouldn’t stop mass shootings. It was a bait-and-switch that needed to be spot lighted.

THREE: we can’t rant about rights because that gets little traction with this crowd. You have to call them out on their failures to address the big problems stoking gun violence such as drug trafficking, gangs, and incompetent bureaucrats. Use government sources such as the DOJ, FBI, and CDC to back you up.

FOUR: we must actively engage the various communities to make our case. For example, meet with communities of color to explain that since less than one percent of violent criminals get their guns from a gun show, and more than forty percent get their guns through the black market, then why are we wasting time on expanded background checks to close the gun show loophole? Emphasize that when the local government and the police pursue effective programs that address violent crime, as opposed to gun control, then homicides decrease and as a result we get safer communities.

FIVE: meet with our legislators and make our case. Make them explain why they endorse flawed proposals while ignoring effective policy.

Preserving our Second Amendment rights will take work, but we have truth and reality on our side.

Trump Admin Bump Stock Ban: What You Need To Know

Trump admin bans bump stocks Rally for our Rights ColoradoA few months ago I was at a gun rights rally when a news reporter came up to me and asked, “How is it legal for these people to be carrying these machine guns out on the streets?!”  She was referring to the half dozen or so attendees (among hundreds) who were open carrying rifles.  She was pointing in particular to a gentleman with a .22 rifle slung snugly on his chest, and another young woman with her AR-15 slung on her back.  I held back my chuckle, looked her right in the eye, and said: “Ma’am, those may be machines and they may be guns, but they are not machine guns.”  I went on to explain that while by definition any firearm is technically a machine, actual machine guns were regulated under the National Firearms Act.  We then walked around and people eagerly explained the very few differences between the handguns some had, and the rifles others had.  We had a great discussion about what had been banned in Boulder, CO with real life examples – and even she began to grasp the absurdity of it.  Needless to say, we had great media coverage that day.

This conversation came back to me yesterday morning as I learned the Trump administration directed the ATF to finalize an impending “bump stock” ban. What it does is essentially label an arbitrary piece of metal or plastic, that has no automatic functioning mechanical parts, as a “machine gun”.  This ban places bump-stock-type devices under the NFA, a grossly unconstitutional law requiring citizens to pay exorbitant amounts of money, register with the Secretary of Treasury, and jump through dozens of government hoops, to obtain certain firearms.

In the ATF’s amended regulation released yesterday, bump stocks are defined as “devices that allow a semiautomatic firearm to shoot more than one shot with a single pull of a trigger.”  This is interesting because just last year, Michael Curtis, chief of the Firearms Technology Industry Services branch of the ATF, said the product was not prohibited “since the device does not initiate an automatic firing cycle by a single function of the trigger [and therefore] it is not a machine gun under the NFA.”  

Under the new ban those in possession of bump-stock-type devices must turn them in to an ATF field office or destroy them by March 21st, 2019.

Trump admin bans bump stocks Rally for our Rights Colorado

Many people may believe bump stocks are simply a fun accessories for gun enthusiasts, but what they are missing is that bump stocks were originally created to help those with limited mobility in their hands.  A friend of mine has testified on this premise, stating: “Regardless of the opinions of others, I as a disabled person should be able to determine which tools are best for me in my pursuit of recreational, legal shooting sports. It is sickening to me how many people either do not know about bump fire stocks helping disabled people, or who try to minimize or pretend that there is no debate, and that civilians should not have access to them.”

Bump fire action can also be replicated with a rubber band, a belt loop, or even your finger (if you know what you’re doing).  Will we next regulate rubber bands as machine guns?  Because that’s how absurd this new law is.

Make no mistake, this ban does not come without justified legal challenges.  Immediately after Tuesday morning’s announcement, attorneys for an owner of a “bump-stock” device and three constitutional rights advocacy organizations filed a federal lawsuit against the Trump Administration.  The suit comes with multiple arguments.  First, they are challenging Matthew Whitaker’s legal authority to serve as Acting Attorney General and issue rules without being nominated to the role and confirmed by the Senate.  Second, they are challenging the confiscatory ban on firearm parts. And third they are requesting an immediate temporary injunction to prevent the Trump Administration from implementing and enforcing the new regulation.  Click here to learn more about the legal action and how you can help.

There are many people, even in the gun rights community, arguing that this is simply throwing a bone to the gun grabbers in an effort to quiet them.  This attitude is completely wrong.  It not only doesn’t appease the anti-gun community, it motivates them.  Just yesterday, Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, says to her it signals a new openness on the part of the administration to continue to tighten firearms regulations.

The “bump stock” ban is an assault on the Constitution and law abiding gun owners, but it’s also an assault on the uninformed general populace who have been led to believe it will do ANYTHING beyond create a false sense of security.

Tired of being demonized as a law abiding gun owner?  Help us get these billboards up!  Donate here: www.gofundme.com/gun-rights-billboards

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