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Thread: The First Steps? 'A Recipe for Passing Pro Gun Legislation.' Spring 2009 DEFENDER

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    http://www.scfirearms.org/TheDefende...2009Summer.pdf

    A Recipe for Passing Pro Gun Legislation
    Robert D. Butler, J.D., President, GunRights PAC

    Passage of S. 593 - the concealed weapon permit (CWP) school carry law - can be traced back to a single event - the victory of challenger Shane Martin over the incumbent Sen. Jim Ritchie in the June 2008 Republican primary. The ONLY reason we have any CWP school carry bill at all is because Sen. Shane Martin had the guts to introduce and fight for the legislation, which would have never happened had Sen. Ritchie remained in office.

    GunRights PAC - the political action committee of GrassRoots GunRights - was the ONLY gun rights organization to support the challenger Shane Martin. NRA-ILA - the political action committee of the NRA - supported the incumbent Sen. Jim Ritchie. Why did GunRights PAC and NRA-ILA support different candidates? This is an important difference that needs to be remembered by those who donate money thinking and hoping the money will make a difference.

    GunRights PAC took a long, hard look at how a good CWP recognition bill was sabotaged at the end of the legislative session in 2008 and turned into a lousy CWP reciprocity law. CWP recognition is different than CWP reciprocity. CWP recognition means that a CWP issued by another state will be honored without requiring the two states to enter into a formal reciprocity agreement. CWP reciprocity means that a CWP issued by another state will only be honored after the two states enter into a formal agreement to do so. CWP recognition is better than CWP reciprocity because it is more faithful to the 2nd Amendment’s dictate that the right “to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Just as states do not require reciprocity agreements be entered into prior to allowing drivers from other states to drive in their state, reciprocity agreements should not be required prior to allowing CWP holders to carry in other states.

    The dirty work to kill a good CWP recognition bill in SC was led by two senators - Sen. Jake Knotts and Sen. Jim Ritchie. If the CWP recognition bill had not been sabotaged, SC CWP holders would now be able to legally carry in over 30 states. Instead, SC CWP holders only have reciprocity with 16 states, and two of those states already allowed SC CWP holders to carry because they had already passed CWP recognition laws just as we were trying to do in SC.

    GunRights PAC noticed that both Senators Knotts and Ritchie were being challenged in their respective Republican primary elections. It is much easier for a dedicated minority - read that as “special interest group” - to unseat an incumbent during a primary than it is to unseat an incumbent in the general election. So, GunRights PAC decided to get involved in the Republican primary elections of the two senators who had just sabotaged the SC CWP recognition bill.

    GunRights PAC took donations from gun owners all across SC and put those donations into one large pot. Just as a flood is the result of many small rain drops, a well funded GunRights PAC is the result of many small and medium donations.
    Research showed incumbent Sen. Jim Ritchie had NEVER introduced a pro gun rights bill in his entire legislative career. Ritchie had never co-sponsored a pro gun rights bill, either. But, Ritchie had just helped lead the hatchet job on a good CWP recognition bill. Ritchie needed to learn there would be consequences during the election season for his betrayal of gun owners during the legislative season.

    GunRights PAC contacted challenger Shane Martin to find out where he stood with respect to protecting our gun rights. It would not make sense for GunRights PAC to support a challenger that was just as bad as the incumbent.

    It turned out Shane Martin was a proud member of GrassRoots GunRights, and Shane Martin stated he was a strong supporter of our gun rights. Being a member of GrassRoots showed Shane Martin was doing more than just telling GunRights PAC what we wanted to hear. So, GunRights PAC decided to support challenger Shane Martin.

    GunRights PAC donated the maximum allowed under SC law to the Shane Martin for Senate campaign. But, that was not going to be enough to ensure Martin beat Ritchie because the NRA-ILA was supporting the incumbent Sen. Jim Ritchie! How could the NRA-ILA actively support an incumbent who had never introduced or co-sponsored a pro gun rights bill? How could the NRA-ILA actively support an incumbent who had just worked to kill a good CWP recognition bill? How the NRA-ILA could actively support such an incumbent over a strong pro gun rights challenger was both confusing and troubling. Sadly, NRA-ILA made multiple mailings to the people in Senate District 13 asking them to support the incumbent Jim Ritchie.

    GunRights PAC decided the gun owners and voters in Senate District 13 needed to know the truth. GunRights PAC decided the gun owners and voters in Senate District 13 needed to know exactly how the incumbent had consistently failed to support gun owners’ rights during the legislative season. So, GunRights PAC sent a large 8.5” x 11” “postcard” to all the registered Republican primary voters in Senate District 13 letting them know the truth about how the incumbent had failed to support the rights of gun owners while in office, and why they needed to vote for Shane Martin - a true pro gun rights candidate.

    Hopefully, the truth about how the incumbent had failed to support gun owners and how Shane Martin would support gun owners made a difference with gun owners in the primary election run off.

    You need to ask yourself a question. Which candidate do you think a pro gun rights organization should have supported? On one hand we have a challenger who proudly belongs to GrassRoots and claims to be a strong gun rights supporter, and on the other hand we have an incumbent whose legislative record proves he has not been a strong supporter of our gun rights. GunRights PAC felt the decision to support Shane Martin was an easy one to make. Yet, NRA-ILA supported the incumbent. Who would you have supported?

    Hindsight proves GunRights PAC made the right choice in supporting Shane Martin, and NRA-ILA made the wrong choice in supporting Jim Ritchie. So, the next time you are ready to donate your hard earned dollars to a pro gun rights organization, be sure to remember which pro gun organization spends your dollars the same way you would spend your dollars.

    Remember, if Ritchie had won the Republican primary race in June 2008, there would have never been a pro gun bill introduced in the Senate and we would still be prohibited from possessing a concealed weapon in our vehicle on school grounds. Who we support in primaries can make a world of difference in what legislation gets introduced later.

    Politicians need to know the people support what they do. If politicians do not get support from the people, the politicians will think they need to do something differently. Which brings us to another issue.

    Sen. Shane Martin took a beating in the mass media for introducing bills to protect and restore our gun rights. Sen. Martin’s campaign war chest has been depleted, which makes him vulnerable come next election. GunRights PAC has already contributed as much as the law will allow GunRights PAC to contribute to Sen. Martin. But, Sen. Martin still needs more donations to pay off his old campaign debts and to get ready for the next campaign.

    If you want to thank Sen. Shane Martin for standing up for you and introducing and fighting for legislation to protect and restore your gun rights, then please send a donation to show your appreciation. Ideally, checks should be made out to “Sen. Shane Martin”, but the donations should be sent to:

    GunRights PAC
    [deleted]
    Lexington, SC 29072

    The reason to send the donations to GunRights PAC is to ensure that Sen. Martin knows that all of those donations come from GrassRoots members and supporters. It is important to make sure Sen. Martin remembers which pro gun rights organization has stood beside him in his time of need. We need to show our appreciation for what he has done for us. Please donate something to show your appreciation for Sen. Shane Martin’s strong support of our gun rights.

    Edited for emphasis to a foreign audience and readability. DH

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    Thank you for posting this timely article. More ammo for my ongoing argument with my father, who is so brainwashed by the NRA, he refuses to question or analyze any of their actions. I am beginning to understand your obvious disdain for the NRA, and organizations with similar operating procedures.

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    Thanks. My day is a bit brighter and my spirits a bit higher. Sometimes I despair.

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