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Thread: GOUtah! Alert #324, Party Political Caucuses coming up in March

  1. #1
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    Jul 2006

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    Part 1 of latest GOUtah! alert.

    Alert #324
    14 January, 2010
    Today’s Maxim of Liberty:

    "Gun sales are spiking. Stores are running out of ammunition. Why? Because people don’t trust their government. And the feeling seems to be mutual – your government doesn’t trust you, either, at least not with owning a gun."

    -- Glenn Beck
    In this alert:

    * Party Caucus Meetings Coming Up
    * How to Prepare for a Caucus Meeting

    Party Caucus Meetings on March 23rd

    Please mark 7:00 pm, Tuesday, March 23, 2010 on your calendars. That’s when Utah’s various political parties hold their caucus meetings. If you want to have more political power than most citizens have, you can acquire and exercise such power by attending the local caucus meeting of the party of your choice. These meetings can last anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours, with the typical meeting being a bit over one hour.

    Those of you who are familiar with the caucus/convention process and are already planning to participate can skip the rest of this article. Those of you who haven’t participated in caucus meetings before might want to keep on reading. The only way we can prevent additional "gun-control" laws from being passed (and perhaps even eliminate some of the existing "gun-control" laws) is by electing people to the state legislature and to Congress who will work to achieve these goals, or by electing a governor who will veto all "gun-control" bills, or by persuading existing politicians that it’s to their political advantage to protect your Second-Amendment rights.

    One way to do this is to make sure that you’re registered to vote, and to make sure that you vote on Election Day for candidates who’ve demonstrated an interest in protecting your rights.

    A much more effective way is to get directly involved in the candidate-nominating process. This is the process by which each political party selects its candidates for public office during an election year. Utah is fortunate to be one of the few states that still have an old-fashioned caucus and convention system for selecting candidates. This enables concerned citizens to get directly involved in determining who will be on the ballot in November.
    Often, two or more candidates from the same party will file to run for a given office. Thus, each party must select one of those candidates to be placed on the ballot.

    Within a given political party in Utah, candidates for local office are chosen at that party’s county convention, as are most candidates for the state legislature.

    Candidates for Congress and for statewide office (such as governor, attorney general, etc.), as well as state legislative candidates representing districts that straddle a county line, are chosen at a party’s state convention.

    Thus, party conventions in Utah are important, and the people (known as "delegates") who participate and vote in these conventions carry an enormous amount of clout with the politicians. For example, if you live in the district of a state senator who’s leaning the wrong way with regard to a particular gun-related bill during the legislative session, and you write a letter to him explaining that you are a delegate to his party’s county convention and that you want him to protect your gun rights, he’ll probably pay a lot more attention to your letter than he would if your were just an ordinary voter.

    So who gets to vote at these conventions? You do, if you manage to become a state or county delegate for your party. You can run for a delegate position by participating in your local caucus meeting on March 23rd. This is actually easier to do than most people realize. If you become a delegate, you’ll have a chance to meet the various candidates from your party. If there’s more than one candidate from your party running for a given office (which is often the case), you’ll get to vote at the convention to select one of those candidates to be on the ballot in November. These conventions take place on a Saturday (usually in late April or early May during an election year), and they typically last a few hours. They’re actually quite fun. Sometimes you even get a free lunch.

    How to Prepare for Your Caucus Meetimg

    Different parties have their own rules as to who may participate in their caucus meetings. Some parties require you to be a registered party member if you wish to vote in the caucus meeting, but they’ll allow you to register on the spot if you’re not already registered. Other parties merely require that you show up at the meeting and be of voting age. Even if you don’t qualify to vote at a caucus meeting, you can still show up and sit in on the meeting and learn how the process works.

    Once you’ve decided which party to affiliate with, if you haven’t already, you’ll need to figure out your voting precinct and then find the location of your party’s caucus meeting for that precinct.

    You can get your current precinct number from your voter registration card, or from the Lieutenant Governor’s website, or by looking in the government pages of you local phone book and calling your county clerk’s office.

    Constitution Party

    Democratic Party

    Libertarian Party

    Republican Party

    If you’d like to run for a delegate position at your caucus meeting, it’s a good idea to prepare a little bit. Caucus meetings vary in size, ranging from just a couple of people to 20 or more. You might want to contact your party’s precinct chairman ahead of time and introduce yourself, and mention that you’d like to run for state or county delegate. If the meeting is going to be a large one, it can help to bring a friend or neighbor who lives in the same precinct and who would be willing to nominate you for a delegate position. If there are multiple people seeking the same position, you might wish to have a brief speech prepared. An even better solution is to write up a one-page blurb about your political views and why you think you’d be a good delegate, then put copies of your blurb on the literature table at the caucus meeting or hand them out to the participants. Quite often, however, these meetings are small and informal and the chairman might simply ask people to raise their hands if they’re interested in a delegate position. This is especially likely to be the case in a mid-term election year such as 2010.

    If you attend your local caucus meeting and run for a delegate position, there’s a good chance you’ll be elected as a state or county delegate (or even both), and even if you don’t get elected, you’ll get your feet wet and you’ll feel much more confident about running for a delegate position in 2012.

    Note: Actually, it isn’t always true that the final selection of a candidate occurs at the convention. If no single candidate for a given office gets at least 60% of the delegate vote at the convention (which happens occasionally), he and the second-place candidate will face off against each other in a primary election in late June.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2006

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    Part 2 of latest GOUtah! alert.

    2009: Gun Ownership Up, Violent Crime Down

    When the federal "assault weapon" ban expired five years ago, we were told by the hoplophobes* that violent crime would soar in America. It didn’t. Then, when gun and ammunition sales surged to record levels beginning in late 2008 (a phenomenon that continues), the hoplophobes again predicted that violent crime would soar in America. It didn’t. In fact, violent crime actually dropped.

    From The Christian Science Monitor, Dec. 23, 2009:

    Even as gun ownership has surged in the US in the past year, violent crime, including murder and robbery, has dropped steeply…. After several years of crime rates holding relatively steady, the FBI is reporting that violent crimes – including gun crimes – dropped dramatically in the first six months of 2009, with murder down 10 percent across the US as a whole. Concurrently, the FBI reports that gun sales – especially of assault-style rifles and handguns, two main targets of gun-control groups – are up at least 12 percent nationally since the election of President Obama….

    From an official FBI press release of Dec. 21, 2009:

    For the third year in a row, our Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report shows that violent crime, property crime, and arson have decreased.

    From The Associated Press, January 1, 2009:

    The death of a Washington state police officer Dec. 28 raised the total law enforcement deaths in 2009 to 125, still the fewest annual fatalities in the line of duty since 1959. The 125 deaths compared to 133 in 2008, the lowest since 108 a half-century ago, according to the annual report of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

    Bear in mind that there are a lot more law-enforcement officers in the United States today than there were in 1959. Which means that, on a percentage basis, officer fatalities were MUCH lower in 2009 than they were in 1959.

    Every murder is a tragedy, regardless of whether the victim is a private citizen or a low-enforcement officer. Thus, the decline in the overall murder rate as well as the decline in the rate of officer fatalities is a trend that we hope will continue.

    Our main point here is that the facts continue to defy the main thesis of the hoplophobes: that the ownership and carrying of firearms by law-abiding citizens causes violent crime. 2009 probably set an all-time record for legitimate purchases of guns and ammunition by private citizens in the United States. And we may also surmise that in 2009 more Americans were legally carrying guns in public than in any previous year within our lifetime. Yet violent crime rates and officer fatalities continue to decline.

    Thanks to Dr. John Lott for providing the links to the above articles.

    * hoplophobia: A term coined by the late Col. Jeff Cooper to describe an irrational fear of weapons. Derived from the Greek "hoplos", meaning "weapon" or "tool", and "phobia", meaning "an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something". A hoplophobe is someone who suffers from this particular mental illness.

    Two "Bills" to Ignore

    We continue to get occasional e-mails from people concerned about two extreme anti-gun bills, one in the U.S. Senate and one in the U.S. House of Representatives. The alleged Senate bill, "SB-2099", is a hoax. The House bill, H.R. 45, is an actual bill, and it is indeed an anti-gun bill, but there’s no chance it will pass. We therefore encourage our readers to ignore the e-mails that continue to circulate regarding these two bills.

    If you expend time and effort contacting members of Congress to ask them to oppose these bills, it will be wasted time and effort. We’d much prefer that gun owners target their limited time and effort on actual threats to their Second-Amendment rights, or on actual opportunities to expand the right to keep and bear arms. With the Utah State Legislature convening soon, there will be plenty of chances for you to contact your elected representatives regarding legislation that’s real and that actually has a chance of passing.

    The alleged U.S. Senate gun bill is numbered "SB-2099", and will supposedly require you to list all your guns on your 2009 tax return. "SB-2099" is a complete hoax. There is no U.S. Senate bill numbered "SB-2099", because Senate bills are prefixed with an "S" rather than an "SB". There is, however, a Senate bill numbered S.2099. It was introduced a few months ago by Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan. It's a bill to temporarily suspend the import duty on certain heaters. Although "heaters" was a slang term used for firearms in 1920's Chicago, the "heaters" referred to in S.2099 are home appliances that you plug into the wall to produce heat. The last bill numbered S.2099 was introduced more than a decade ago and dealt with federal sentencing guidelines for counterfeiting. Whoever is circulating the hoax about "SB-2099" instructs us to go to the official U.S. Senate web page and do a search for "SB-2099" to gain access to the full text of this alleged bill. We tried doing just that and came up with the above information. Apparently, the person perpetrating the hoax is hoping that people won't actually take the time to perform this search. For all we know, the SB-2099 hoax may have been started by an anti-gun activist as a diversionary tactic to get us to waste our time chasing red herrings.

    H.R. 45 is an actual bill. GOUtah! published an article about it last year (see GOUtah! Alert #319). H.R.45, which was introduced in January 2009, is indeed a draconian gun-control bill and is sponsored by Rep. Bobby Rush of Chicago. Among other things, H.R. 45 would require federal licensing of all handgun owners. However, H.R. 45 is a distraction that isn't worth worrying about in our opinion because there's no chance it will pass during the 111th Congress. At the end of the 111th Congress (i.e., the end of 2010), the bill will automatically die, along with all other unpassed legislation. We recently checked on the bill's current status. It still has no co-sponsors. Nobody other than the sponsor himself wants to touch this bill with a 10-foot pole. H.R.45 was assigned to the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security in early February, where it has languished ever since. No action has been taken on the bill by the subcommittee. Given that 2010 is an election year, the chance of H.R. 45 passing is, in our view, about the same as the chance that Paris Hilton will become a nun.

    GOUtah! Gun Rights (and Wrongs) Quote Watch

    "I wonder if the recent news of massacres, murders, suicides and unintentional shootings, almost all committed with handguns, has any emotional impact on handgun advocates. Do they feel any unease, a smidgen of guilt or feelings of irony that their efforts to put a gun in every home may be the cause or at least contributed to countless deaths and injuries? For the period between 1980 and 2006, the annual average number of deaths in the United States from all types of firearms is 32,300. Does this death toll mean anything to handgun advocates?
    If handgun use is proven to save at least as many lives as it costs, then it might be possible to accept the deluge of handguns into our communities and the resulting tragedies. Handgun enthusiasts need to present evidence that the benefits (innocent lives saved) of easily available handguns outweigh the costs (innocent lives lost). It is incumbent upon them to show that easy access to handguns prevents as many murders, suicides, and accidents as it causes. Skip the righteousness, the conspiratorial rhetoric and unsupported claims. Give us the facts. Prove that handguns make us safer."

    -- Tom Stephens, in a letter printed in The Salt Lake Tribune, 2 January 2010.

    If you have a gun rights quote you'd like to share, please send it, along with a verifiable original source reference to webmeister (at)

    That concludes the GOUtah! Political and Legislative Alert #324 for 14 January, 2010. We hope this information will be of assistance to you in defending your firearms rights.

    Remember that getting this information is meaningless unless You Act On It Today. If you just read it and dump it in the trash, your gun rights, and the gun rights of future generations go in the trash with it. Get involved, get active and get vocal!

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