Colorado sends a message to politicians: Vote against your constituents, and your constituents will vote against you
by Jim Irvine
After very hard-fought, highly-contested recall races in Colorado, which saw hundreds of thousands of dollars from out of state, the votes are counted. Two anti-gun, anti-freedom, anti-self-defense Democrats who voted to trample on individual rights and support a radical agenda being pushed by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg have been voted out of office. The importance of these historic events will be felt for years to come, and it will affect all of us, no matter where you live.
Senators Angela Giron (D-3) and John Morse (D-11) voted for a bill to limit magazine capacity to 15 rounds, and to require uniform background checks for gun sales. As sitting Senate President, Morse didn't just vote for the bills, he championed their passage.
Ten years of Clinton's so-called "assault weapon" ban proved that limiting magazines to a ten round capacity was useless at preventing crime. So there is no way any reasonable person could believe a 15 round limit would have a desirable effect. And while "universal background checks" is a great marketing phrase, it really means "universal gun registration" (and confiscation, if the past is any predictor of the future) – something that Americans, no matter their party affiliation, oppose.
Why would anyone vote for such terrible bills? Because they were being told to by an egocentric New York mayor who hates guns and the people who own them - a mayor who is extremely wealthy and lives to use his money to buy him influence, and who promises to give financial support to protect his sycophants' elected positions.
Bloomberg personally gave $350,000 to support his candidates in Colorado. Bloomberg lost. America won.
Conventional wisdom is that recalls fail; that someone as powerful as the Senate President could not be brought down by a group of grassroots activists upset about one bill or one vote; that a county that voted for Obama by a 14 point spread (56-42) just last year would vote with the incumbent Democrat; that gun owners are some radical minority group that makes a lot of noise, but do not represent the masses; that the NRA's power and influence are diminished after the Aurora movie theater and Sandy Hook killings. Conventional wisdom is wrong.
Some will look at Bloomberg's money versus the NRA's money, see nearly equal amounts, and think they simply offset each other. It is important to keep in mind that reported contributions to Morse and Giron totaled about $3 million, vastly exceeding the amount raised by pro-gun rights activists who petitioned for the recall. The two sides spent their money very differently. Yes, money from both sides went to political ads to get their points across, but Bloomberg's money buys people to deliver his message. The NRA money helps the grassroots individuals deliver their message. Bloomberg is all about Bloomberg. The NRA certainly cares about its image, but at its heart is really a big grassroots, civil rights organization. That has proved a winning formula for decades.
Buckeye Firearms Association spent over $7,000 to send three people to Colorado last week. They knocked on doors and visited gun stores. They attended political rallies and helped encourage others to get involved in the fight. Other people volunteered to make phone calls to help get the vote out in support of the recall effort, while many others donated money to support our efforts. It was a true grassroots effort that may have been the key difference in Morse's race, which was won with only 50.9% of the vote. Elections matter, and every vote counts.
When Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was targeted for a recall election, grassroots support rallied and he won that recall election by a greater margin than his election night win. But when two Senators voted against their constituents civil rights, they were tossed from office in a pair of historic recall elections. The common theme is that people in this country still care about individual liberty and freedom.
The effects of the recall election will matter to all Americans. Had Bloomberg's money won, we would be facing a barrage of similar attacks in other states. He would be touting his wins as proof that he would spend big money and defend those who help him push his big government control on the masses. And he would find those weak individuals willing to shun the NRA and their constituents for the promised fame and glory. But we won, and there are consequences for both sides.
The next time you don't read about an anti-gun bill being introduced or voted on, give thanks to those in Colorado who circulated recall petitions, or who signed them and brought about the recall election. By winning the fight in Colorado, there are many other fights that will not need to be fought. The best way to never lose a fight is to never need to fight one.
Contrast that with Washington, where we are dealing with a very different set of circumstances. President Obama, who was only elected because too many gun owners voted for him, continues to fight against your right to keep and bear arms. Many battles must be fought and won because we lost an election last November, and those consequences will continue to hurt all gun owners.
We salute our freedom fighting brothers and sisters in Colorado and elsewhere who stood up to big government, to anti-gun lies, to big city money and turned out the people to vote to retake their government. Their wins will shape the gun debate in other states and in D.C. for years to come, and we are proud to have been able to support their efforts.
Jim Irvine is the Buckeye Firearms Association Chairman, and recipient of the NRA-ILA's 2011 "Jay M. Littlefield Volunteer of the Year Award" and the CCRKBA's 2012 "Gun Rights Defender of the Year Award."