18th Annual Gun Rights Policy Conference
by Dave Workman
September 26, 2003
September 27, 2003
|September 28, 2003
He said 2004 will be an "extremely important year,"
not only in terms of federal elections, but in state and local
elections as well.
Dark told the audience that 2003 was a "banner year" in the Lone Star State for gunowners, thanks to the 2002 elections that significantly changed the face of Texas politics. He said several pro-gun Republicans were swept into office, producing a pro-gun majority in the legislature.
He described the battle that has been waged against municipal governments that have posted their buildings off limits to licensed citizens, even though it is a violation of state law.
"We were told that to get this fixed, we would have to get the law re-written, so we did," he recalled.
The pro-gun tilt to the legislature had one other positive effect, he chuckled.
"We didn't even see the anti-gun lobbyists this year," Dark noted. "With no funding, no members, no credibility and no chance whatsoever of getting anything passed, they stayed at home, and they were not missed."
In their place, however, lobbyists for the Texas Municipal League "picked up the shield dropped by the anti-gun forces," and sent 14 lobbyists to Austin to fight against gun rights. But their efforts were for naught. Dark said, "We prevailed. Why? Because we were right."
From the good to the bad and ugly, Michel followed Dark to explain the nightmare that is being faced by California gunowners, cautioning the audience that the same can happen in their states when and if the legislatures change to an anti-gun majority.
Delivering a short course on gun control in the Golden State, Michel noted that anti-gunners have tapped into millions of dollars from anti-gun foundations to carry on their campaigns. He said when the Democrats took over in 1998, controlling the legislature and putting Gray Davis in the governor's mansion, "they just passed a lot of bad laws."
"It was everything on (Handgun Control Inc.'s) wish list," he said.
Michel accused anti-gun lawmakers of "incrementally working against not just guns but gunowners, making people unable to possess guns in expanding categories."
He said one proposal would have police getting search warrants for the homes of people who find themselves denied on a gun purchase, even though it may be based on something that happened decades in the past. They would seize any guns in the home and arrest the person for having guns."
"Obviously," Michel explained, "their agenda is a complete ban on civilian possession of firearms."
All is not darkness, however. Waldron detailed some of the recent victories for gunowners, in Colorado, Minnesota, New Mexico, Alaska and elsewhere, where pro-gun laws have been enacted or expanded. He said momentum is slowly building in Wisconsin, and that state could become the 37th with a shall-issue statute, provided the governor does not veto a bill that seems to have a reasonable chance of getting through the legislature there this session.
Concealed carry recognition and reciprocity laws are being added in several states, and Waldron suggested that there may have been quite a change in the national mindset about gun ownership following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
"That was followed by a spike in gun sales, and that was followed by a spike in concealed carry applications," he recalled.
Waldron also reminded the audience that "all politics is local."
"Grassroots is most effective," he stressed, "and has the greatest impact, and can move mountains, if you work at the local level. Start at the local level and work up."