posted Oct 27, 2013, 3:15 PM by Ronnie V
updated Oct 27, 2013, 3:36 PM
The following blog post is by guest commentator, Marc Olivier. This commentary is in response to comments by LeRoy Duncan, Protect Minnesota, made during the anti-gun group's so called "gun violence summit" on October 25, 2013, in north Minneapolis:
On Friday, October 25, 2013, Protect Minnesota held a series of workshops to stir their pot of gun control agenda stew once again. The workshop was scheduled to run from 10:00 AM to approximately 3:00 PM. The base ingredients are pretty much the same: misrepresentations, distortions and outright lies. The putrid essence of the stew is still unchanged. The question that must constantly be asked of Protect Minnesota is “Why?” Why this singular focus on guns, and only violent acts committed with guns? It is a type of social myopia that, now, suggests another influence and purpose, another less obvious agenda at work.
Make no mistake, the long-term goal of Protect Minnesota and its affiliates is a “gun-free” society. What is “gun-free”? Perhaps that question should be asked of those who have endured brutal assaults, robberies, home invasions and rape. Unfortunately, we cannot ask the victims of murder, and expect them to respond. One could ask Protect Minnesota, but it seems they don't care about the reasons for wanting a firearm, they don't care about the Second Amendment, they don't care about individual rights, and with their mantra about gun violence, they do not care anything about any other acts of violence, or the victims of that violence, if it doesn't involve the use of a gun.
Protect Minnesota took extreme action in the wake of the Newtown, CT school shootings, even though mental health professionals as well as some in law enforcement conceded that the law changes being sought would not have stopped the shooting, had they been in place. Protect Minnesota:
--fought existing permit to carry laws;
--fought to get full registration of weapons and ammunition;
--fought to get inspections of gun owners' homes by law enforcement without a warrant, based on paperwork filed to buy firearms;
--fought to get law enforcement access to gun applicants' medical records to make determinations whether to grant permits to buy guns;
--fought to get forced mental health evaluations by non-credentialed personnel;
--fought to get outright blanket bans and confiscations of guns, gun parts and ammunition.
Please review the plethora of gun control bills, and the signers and co-signers, presented during the 2013 Legislative session in the Minnesota House and Senate, but particularly HF 0241, HF 0242 and HF 0243.
While reviewing these laws, please also look fully at bills HF 1323, HF 1324 and HF 1325 (I just list them as HF 1323-5). It is critical to do this. This bill is of particular importance in this article, because it has become a key target of Protect Minnesota and particularly Mr. LeRoy Duncan, and others harping about “gun violence.” Whereas HF 0241 sought to penalize gun owners who already passed background checks, as mentioned above, HF 1323-5 sought to compel the State of Minnesota to fully comply with existing federal law, specifically getting mental health records from court-ordered hearings and procedures into the NICS background check system. Further, it laid out specific actions for government officials to take when laws involving firearms are broken, and stiffer penalties for repeat offenders who commit crimes with firearms.
Duncan himself lobbied in the State Capitol against HF 1323-5, calling it racist, and a bill that victimizes those who have already been victimized. He's not talking about those who have been beaten, robbed, raped, stabbed and killed by violent offenders. He's talking about the offenders themselves. He calls the bill racist because many of the violent, repeat offenders come from racial minorities. More on this later. He says, “We see Hilstrom's proposal from last session as just furthering the belief that the only way to solve this gun violence problem is locking people up, or killing them and having your own gun..” This statement is intentionally misleading to the extreme. Read the bill, then read the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, and the State of Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension statistics and charts concerning violent crime before deciding for yourself.
INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS DO NOT MATTER
During the WCCO interview, Duncan said individual rights do not matter. Rights of individual women fighting for their Constitutional rights, particularly their Second Amendment rights, don't count. Rights of individuals of any given racial and ethnic group don't count. Rights of young people who are aware of, and speak up for their rights don't count. He misrepresents and puts down those seeking to preserve and exercise their rights of gun ownership, calling them “homogenous” and “isolated,” although he doesn't come right out and define exactly what he means.
Here are some comments from Duncan.
--He wants to see the legislature and corporations, especially gun manufacturers “step up and start talking about real solutions to these issues.”
--“Because the ones (solutions) we've been talking about, in terms of arming everyone in the world? They aren't working.”
--“We really want to see a changing of the conversation.”
--“If you are coming into this space, simply talking about your right to have a gun, your individual right to own a gun, that's not helpful to the solution.”
--“We now have to pivot the conversation to go beyond the individual, and start talking about the systems, and people who are impacted, and the people who are stakeholders’ rights, and talk about the community, and those who are stakeholders in this, as I said, gun manufacturers. We really want people to start thinking about what we can do as a community, and as a state, … finding solutions.”
--“The way (gun violence) is being experienced in rural Minnesota, it's manifesting itself in as suicides, and that currently is not being seen as a problem.”
As a member of the administration of Protect Minnesota, Duncan's comments are made clear through the words of Rebecca Lowen; a local university professor currently living abroad, and a member of a local synagogue closely affiliated with Protect Minnesota. Ms. Lowen went on a talk radio show in Washington D.C., and flat out said the pro-gun people who showed up at legislative hearings were old white men, most of whom were bused to the hearings from out-state Minnesota, using funds from the NRA. There is a sound file of the interview available online. She claimed the reasons gun control people were not at the hearings in greater numbers (which took place over the course of several days and nights), was because they were working and could not take time off their jobs to attend. She portrayed those supporting Constitutional rights as disorderly, disruptive and basically, not knowing their place, literally. Videos of the hearings are available on the Minnesota Legislature website, as well as Youtube. Watch the videos, and then you decide what the truth is.
PREJUDICE, RACISM, SEXISM, DIVISION, EXCLUSION, AND TOTALITARIAN INTENT
I wrote earlier, Protect Minnesota, their affiliates and associates called the Hilstrom Bill, HF 1323-5, racist and claimed it victimizes those who are already victims - meaning convicted felons. I believe there is something being attempted here that needs special attention. Recently, the “drug war” has gained national attention, as have incarceration rates in this country. In fact, many claim national incarceration rates are the highest in the world because of draconian drug laws. Many states have firearms laws tied to drug laws. Many drug-induced crimes are committed with firearms, to be sure. These are crimes of violence. They must be dealt with. Studies and statistics show felons who commit drug-fueled crimes are most likely to re-offend violently, when exposed to more drugs.
Drug treatment and support groups are available while incarcerated, and once a sentence has been completed. Programs are available. Minnesota offers public and private job skills training programs, many available to ex-offenders. If a felon completes his/her sentence, and undergoes sufficient transformation of attitude, behavior and actions, s/he can file for an expungement of their records, and if successful, can be restored certain legal abilities, including the right to own and bear firearms. The criteria for expungement are under Minnesota Statutes 609A, and 609.165. Minnesota law also provides similar benefits for those who have undergone mental commitment. Protect Minnesota mentions none of this. They make no distinction between violent offenders and non-violent offenders. I ask why?
Protect Minnesota seeks to usurp efforts of other organizations without forming clear affiliations, nor doing justice to the core causes of those other organizations. At a Capitol rally during the legislative session, they claimed give voice to adults and juveniles in the criminal justice system, and called Hilstron's bill HF 1323-5 racist. I did not see these other long-standing organizations, who actually work with offenders (AMICUS and Volunteers of America) at the rally, voicing opposition to HF 1323-5. I did not see Children's Defense Fund at this rally, protesting the bill (although they themselves are clearly against guns, as evidenced by their summer school children's march in Minneapolis this past summer). Children's Defense Fund, under Marian Wright Edelman, is concerned with children's issues, one of which is the involvement of corporations administering prison industries becoming involved in the nation's schools, with highly questionable and undesirable outcomes. HF-1323-5 has nothing to do with such corporations, or such programs in schools. As I said, I did not see any of these groups at Protect Minnesota's rally. I only saw Protect Minnesota, trying to block a bill that sought to protect society by identifying and isolating violent offenders from the rest of society; a bill to make government do what it is supposed to do.
Protect Minnesota claimed HF 1323-5 was racist. Read the bill. The wording and directives of the bill do not give race any weight in the performance required by those enforcing the law. The bill sought to control those who have committed crimes of violence, especially when these individuals are found to be illegally using or possessing guns and ammunition, regardless of race; while preserving the rights of those who have NOT broken any laws. Protect Minnesota and sympathetic lawmakers at the Capitol were successful in blocking the bill. In doing so, they did nothing to promote public safety, and in fact, put the public in danger, because proven violent offenders were left to the same revolving-door criminal justice system to be back on the streets to cause and endure mayhem and murder.
Duncan's comments in the nearly 5 minute WCCO interview pit young people against older people, minority against white, urban against rural. Readers who are individual gun owners, those who know and seek to preserve their Constitutional rights, are not “stakeholders” in his world. The fact of the matter is, Protect Minnesota and their affiliates demonstrate prejudice, racism, sexism, division, exclusion and totalitarian intent and outcomes. When they say the word “conversation,” understand they mean “dictate,” “command,” “compel” and “coerce.” This is what they do. Do these words sound familiar? Exchange them all for the word “bully.”