“They don’t give a rip about us, the ones who put them in office in the first place. They have utter contempt for us –- and that’s a two-way street.”
That was the reaction I got on the phone when I first walked into the office this morning and began receiving calls from IGO members who saw our video last night.
In a display of sheer cowardice, the Iowa Senate Judiciary Committee pulled Constitutional Carry legislation from debate — moments before it was to be heard!
The look of glee on the face of Michael Bloomberg’s lobbyist was unmistakable, as not even he thought this committee would fold on this critical bill.
Despite the fact the gun owners gave the Senate leadership their majority — they caved on the Second Amendment.
Despite the fact that Constitutional Carry enjoys 18 cosponsors in the Iowa Senate — they caved on the Second Amendment.
Despite the fact that the Senate Sub-Committee recommended passage of this bill just a week ago — they caved on the Second Amendment.
What’s remarkable is that on the same day that the Iowa Senate leadership caved on Constitutional Carry, a Colorado Senate Committee voted to advance it.
Just last week, a Senate Committee in nearby South Dakota did the same thing.
But here in Iowa, when the Second Amendment needed champions in the Judiciary Committee yesterday — no one would stand up.
One of the most infuriating backstories yesterday in the Capitol was who it was that worked so hard to convince Senate leaders to table this bill.
When I confronted Committee Chair Brad Zaun for pulling the bill, he said that House Speaker Pro-Tem Matt Windshitl spent much of the morning trying to kill this bill with Senate leadership and members of the committee.
Senator Schultz, who chaired the sub-committee on this bill last week, confirmed the same thing when I asked him.
IGO members will likely remember that it was the same Rep. Windshitl who pulled Constitutional Carry from the Stand-Your-Ground bill that we passed last session.
It was the same Rep. Windshitl who gutted the immunity language from Stand-Your-Ground law, until IGO members forced him to reinsert it via an amendment on the Floor.
You see, this is how the game is played in the Capitol.
Insiders cut deals in back rooms where you and I have no access and no involvement — and law-abiding Iowans are expected to just shut up and accept it.
I don’t know about you, but gun owners haven’t worked so hard to advance Constitutional Carry just to let some back-room deal shut us down! More on that below.
Another backstory from yesterday is the Iowa Firearms Coalition (IFC.)
You see, IFC did all they could this session to stop Constitutional Carry, as they work to pass a Constitutional Amendment to the Iowa Constitution.
They refused to back the bill, until just hours before the sub-committee — when they suddenly said they were in favor of it so that they could claim credit if the bill began to progress.
Their lobbyist, Dick Rogers, went out of his way to urge the sub-committee to drop this bill and focus on the Constitutional Amendment when offering his hurried testimony.
It was pathetic.
And don’t be confused about the impact of a Constitutional Amendment for a second. Make no mistake, advancing this bill is bad politics and almost worthless policy.
Don’t take our word for it.
Instead, take a look around at other states that have a “guarantee” in their state Constitutions and see how much protection that provided.
Colorado has had a state right to keep and bear arms amendment since 1876 –- and that did nothing to protect them in 2013 when they banned 30 round mags and implemented universal gun registration.
Connecticut has had a state right to keep and bear arms amendment since 1818 — and yet in 2014, gun owners lost the right to own .50 rifles, can no longer own a magazine that holds over 10 rounds, now have universal firearms registration, and a complete ban on AR15’s.
Washington state has had a state right to keep and bear arms amendment since 1889 — and yet NYC Billionaire Michael Bloomberg was able to force through universal gun registration there in 2014.
Oregon has had a state right to keep and bear arms amendment since 1857 — and yet Michael Bloomberg was able to pass his gun registration into law there as well, in 2015.
Nevada has had a state right to keep and bear arms amendment since 1982 –- and yet that didn’t stop gun control advocates from passing a universal gun registration bill there in 2016.
And that’s only at the state level!
Did the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution ever stop President Obama and his cronies from launching attack after attack against our gun rights?
Does anyone think that Hillary Clinton, if elected, would have paused for even a second before launching a four-year war against our gun rights, because of the Second Amendment?
Of course not.
Our gun rights are ONLY safe as long as activists like you and me fight tooth and nail during legislative session and election season to hold legislators accountable, something that IGO members are renowned for in Des Moines!
It is stunningly obvious then, that constitutional protections at the state or federal level do absolutely nothing to stop gun control at the state level!
However, these bills do offer protections to desperate politicians in Des Moines.
And that’s why this bill is moving, because virtually everyone in the Capitol can support this bill as they know it will do virtually nothing to stop or advance policy.
So at election time, anti-gun lawmakers can trot out their vote for this legislation and try to convince their voters that they are pro-gun as they work behind the scenes to kill Constitutional Carry.
And again, they’ve been aided in this process by the Iowa Firearms Coalition from the very start!
This is how the game is played here in Des Moines.
If an organization is willing to play the game — and protect politicians at all costs -– then the politicians sing their praises.
And when organizations like Iowa Gun Owners dare to hold them accountable, desperate lawmakers do all they can to attack us.
But that’s ok, we’re used to that, and most of the lawmakers who attack us wind up removed from office by gun owners anyway.
To be clear, option A for advancing this bill is now closed. But as we said in our video last night, there are a variety of ways to obtain votes on and pass legislation in the Capitol.
Already we are in discussions with lawmakers who are outraged about what took place yesterday in the committee and how we will advance this bill for a vote going forward.
Recorded votes are what strike fear into the hearts of lawmakers; if they are on the record, they have to own it at election time.
Gun owners have made it clear what happens to legislators who refuse to back our gun rights, much less vote against them.
The current crop of legislators in Des Moines should remember that.
More to come.
P.S. In a weak display of cowardice, the Iowa Senate Judiciary Committee pulled Constitutional Carry from consideration moments before the vote yesterday.
As numerous Senators told me yesterday, House Speaker Pro-Tem Matt Windshitl worked all morning to kill the vote on this bill.
But he wasn’t the only entity working to stop this bill. Read the email above for the whole story and what steps we are taking to ensure Constitutional Carry moves forward.