Part Three: Senate Action!
With Stand-Your-Ground law having cleared the House, including the criminal immunity language that we fought so hard for, the fight moved into the Senate.
Of course, in the past, any attempt to advance Stand-Your-Ground law through the Senate was stopped by Mike Gronstal and Steve Sodders.
With gun owners having booted them both from office last fall, passage in the Senate was much more realistic.
But we had to clear multiple committees in the process.
And I have to tell you, sitting there in the Judiciary Committee, it was obvious to all that gun owners were in charge.
Not only was Steve Sodders no longer chairing the committee, but his former colleagues were obviously scared of being on the wrong side of a gun bill.
Take Senator Kevin Kinney, from Senate District 39.
Kinney, who railed against the bill for ten minutes in committee, meekly voted yes when the votes were counted moments later.
Same for Senator Bisignano. Senator Bisignano tried to vote “Pass” but, when told that he can’t do that in the Iowa Senate, voted “Yes” moments later.
You see, after all the hard work that Iowa Gun Owners has done in the last 4 election cycles where we’ve exposed anti-gun legislators, everyone in Des Moines knows that there is a price to be paid for voting against the Second Amendment.
Not quite three weeks later, the Senate met again to consider this bill on the full floor.
In anticipation of this vote, Iowa Gun Owners deployed a statewide radio program with this ad — funded by our members — to make sure gun owners from all over the state called their Senator.
And of course, we updated you as often as we could through Facebook videos, emails, and more — urging you to keep the pressure up!
The day of the vote, we rolled tens of thousands of robo calls to gun owners, urging one last round of calls into the Senate.
During the floor debate, it was encouraging to see multiple pro-gun legislators stand up to combat the spin and lies coming from anti-gun legislators.
Senators’ Zaun, Chapman, Bertrand, Garrett, and more stood tall for the Second Amendment!
(Pro-gun Senators Bertrand and Chapman on the floor of the Iowa Senate, fighting for Stand-Your-Ground law.)
And with the vote just moments away, anti-gun legislators who sneered in our faces in years past as we asked for their support for Stand-Your-Ground law, suddenly realized that they had a choice to make.
Would they continue their obstructionist policies from the past and oppose Stand-Your-Ground law, or would they support the bill in an attempt to save their jobs?
Looming large over all of this was the memory of so many former Senators who have been removed from office by angry gun owners going back to 2010!
Former legislators like Senators’ Rich Olive, William Heckroth, Staci Appel, Becky Schmitz, Keith Kreiman, Daryl Beall, Brian Schoenjahn, Mary Jo Wilhelm, Chris Brase, Steve Sodders, and Mike Gronstal weighed heavily on their minds.
This list terrifies legislators!
In the end, we had multiple Senate Democrats that crossed over and voted “Yes” on the bill, including Senators’ Allen, Bowman, Horn, and Taylor — clearly not liking the odds of their re-election should they vote “No” on the bill.
After a brief conforming vote in the House a few days later, the Governor signed the bill into law on April 13, most of which will take effect on July 1, 2017.
This is how you pass pro-gun legislation, by directing massive amounts of grassroots pressure!
All told, Iowa Gun Owners members gave us the resources to run a massive mobilization program to advance this bill, including:
*** Deploying over 2.87 million emails during the session alone to generate action from members. If you’re not aware, sending emails on this scale isn’t free. It costs well into five figures;
*** Sending out 72,117 pieces of U.S. Mail to keep Second Amendment supporters informed and raise critical resources for the fight;
*** Spending over $10,000 on radio ads, which you may have heard, on WHO, KCZE, KMCH, KLMJ, KSOU, KCHA, KXIA, KCZE, KNEI, KVIK, KDEC and KIWA;
*** Running a $2,500 targeted social media push during the final few days before the Senate vote, which was seen by over 100,000 gun owners;
*** Attending over a dozen gun shows from Davenport to Council Bluffs and everywhere in between to spread the word about this fight.
All of this program was designed to melt the phone lines in the Capitol.
And it worked.
Stand-Your-Ground law didn’t pass because gun owners begged the legislature.
It didn’t happen because Iowa Gun Owners made a promise to excuse bad amendments or say nice things about legislators as long as they say nice things about us like other organizations do.
It passed because of pressure, and lots of it.
The gun rights fight in Iowa now turns to passage of Constitutional Carry legislation, the very issue that Iowa Gun Owners was founded on.
And I can assure you that it will take this same pressure, and likely much more, to make this a reality in 2018.
Legislators will almost assuredly adopt the attitude that, “We gave you guys a huge victory in 2017, go away for a few years.”
I can assure you, with your continued support, that will not happen.
Over the past few months, you’ve seen the difference you can make for freedom.
For that, I can’t thank you enough.
In the coming weeks and months, I’ll be sure to keep you updated on all of Iowa Gun Owners’ activities.
But for now, I just wanted to write and say thanks for all you’ve done.
We won a big victory this year together.
And the credit goes to you.