(This is part 2 in the 2015 session wrap-up email series from Iowa Gun Owners. If you missed part one, you can find it here.)
By mid-February, Iowa Gun Owners was rolling hard-hitting radio ads statewide on WHO Radio as well as local stations in Marshall County where Chairman Sodders resides.
The same was happening to Majority Leader Gronstal.
These ads, funded by you, were making it loud and clear to Senate leadership that we were not going to meekly go away.
We had our gun show coordinators focus in on gun shows in the communities nearest Senator Sodders and Gronstal so that we could alert the maximum number of gun owners about their obstruction of Stand-Your-Ground law.
Volunteers from our office were going house-to-house in these districts passing out flyers making sure that locals knew what their Senator was doing.
We were working the media circuits as well, getting this story out all over the state.
In fact, one TV station out of Sioux City said that Senator Gronstal and Senator Sodders had “gone dark” and were not granting any more media interviews on why they were killing this pro-gun bill.
About this time, we began to receive 3rd hand communications from inside the Capitol from sources close to Senate leadership urging us to drop our mobilization programs in exchange for a deal.
We’d have to stop exposing them for blockading Stand-Your-Ground (and, by extension, we couldn’t expose them in their districts at election time) and in exchange they’d ‘give us something.’
You see, that’s how many other organizations work. It’s the old ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.’
Put another way, ‘you sell out your members, tell them what to accept, and don’t ever attack us at election time, and we’ll throw you a bone.’
I can tell you right now, as long as I work for Iowa Gun Owners that will never happen. More, as long as the current board of directors is in place, that will never happen.
Suffice it to say, we turned them down.
So with Stand-Your-Ground amassing 24 cosponsors and tens or hundreds of thousands of gun owners demanding action, the Senate leadership was feeling the heat – and they were getting nervous.
They were desperate to divert pressure.
In fact, Senator Sodders, who’s up for re-election next year, was trying to divert pressure so much that he began to claim that IGO members were threatening his life!
Of course, we contacted Senator Sodders to determine the veracity of these claims and to offer assistance as we would never condone, much less call for, violence against a politician.
But Senator Sodders never responded.
I wish I could say this is the first time this has been tried, but it’s not.
It’s become normal for politicians in Iowa to claim that they are being threatened when under pressure from grassroots gun owners.
As a sheriff’s deputy it would be easy for Senator Sodders to file a complaint with his county sheriff, the Capitol police, or his town police chief.
But when we asked Senator Sodders about obtaining a copy of the report that he filed, the response was a deafening silence.
So when they couldn’t shut us down privately and they couldn’t use baseless allegations to divert the pressure, the Senate leadership had to do something to convince gun owners in Iowa that they are actually pro-gun – as they all remember what happened to their former colleague Daryl Beall.
That’s why, late in the session, they trotted out a multi-part piece of legislation, designed to straight up fool gun owners.
This legislation had great components to it. As we’ve documented before, multiple portions of it were drafted by us over the last couple of legislative sessions. This was done to attempt to get gun owners to support this bill.
However, to get the radical anti-gun members of the caucus to support the bill, Sodders and Gronstal also had to put dangerous anti-gun provisions in the bill as well.
That’s why, when the final version of this bill materialized, it was laced with a little-talked about provision that enacted a statewide, computerized, searchable database of all the permit holders in the state of Iowa!
Lists of gun owners.
History makes it clear what happens to gun owners when the government gets their hands on such lists.
In fact, much more recently, in neighboring Missouri, 163,000 permit holders were recently turned over to the Obama administration under the guise of a ‘criminal investigation.’
That’s right, there must have been 163,000 suspects – and they all happened to have concealed carry permits.
(As the headline in this article from the St. Louis Times Dispatch makes clear, once the state is able to comprise a statewide database of permit holders, gun owners have no control over how it is used. Imagine Obama’s administration having your name safely in their database of gun owners.)
That’s exactly why the very same politicians who were killing Stand-Your-Ground and Constitutional Carry legislation were all in favor of this.
It conveniently allowed them to kill pro-gun legislation, vote for a bill that allows them to enact a database of all permit holders in the state, and still fool gun owners into believing that they are worthy of support in the upcoming 2016 elections.
It was an ingenious plan, hatched by desperate legislators, who arrogantly assumed that they could easily fool gun owners. What’s more, they had the support of many organizations at the Capitol.
The organizations I mentioned before, the ones who like to play insider games in Des Moines, were all over this.
After all, not having an ability to go after politicians at election time, it’s easier to hold your nose and pretend the bad stuff isn’t there than draw a firm line in the sand and not relent.
But Iowa Gun Owners didn’t relent.
Our grassroots supporters didn’t relent.
And our legislative allies didn’t relent either, recognizing that these 4 lines of legislation, tucked inside of a 12-page long bill, represented a major attack on our gun rights – while pretending to be a pro-gun bill!
Stay tuned for our email as we review the 2015 legislative session.