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How and why Minnesota legislators rejected the gun control lobby

posted Oct 5, 2013, 5:16 PM by Ronnie V   [ updated Oct 7, 2013, 11:37 AM ]
Editor/Admin note:
The following blog post by guest commentator, Marc Olivier, is a rebuttal in response to MinnPost's "Community Voices" piece published on Oct. 4, 2013:
Why Minnesota DFLers failed the gun violence test

Mr. Olivier's response, below, was submitted to MinnPost's "Community Voices" editor, but was not published. So much for "Community Voices." Apparently the only "Community Voices" MinnPost allows are those that fit their own biased narrative or that of their funding sources, i.e. the gun-grabber group, Joyce Foundation.

How and why Minnesota legislators rejected the gun control lobby
October 5, 2013
by Marc Olivier, guest commentator

I was originally going to respond to an article by Heather Martens, director of Protect Minnesota, which was published September 11, 2013; namely, her response to the Colorado recall elections. Her article expands her target well beyond gun rights advocates and activists, and she attempts to link her “gun” control position to other, broader causes. Her article, and her performance at the Minnesota Legislative hearings earlier this year, demonstrate her position to favor legislation that is un-Constitutional, anti-majority, anarchistic, and ultimately unsupportable. This is just ONE reason gun control legislation she proposed failed. 

Her article tries to link those who support the Second Amendment to the "richest 1% in the nation," to use the verbiage of Occupy Wall Street. She specifically rants against the Koch Brothers, but she is for Michael Bloomberg's Mayors Against Illegal Guns. So, she is not really against injecting Big Money into elections, as long as this gets a faux-"progressive," statist agenda and totalitarian candidates into office. 


Other "gun" control advocates take a similar position, and use similar tactics. Scholars Rebecca Lowen and Doug Rossinow, who are currently living abroad, seek to position the Second Amendment and its supporters as being viciously against women, minorities, gays, immigrants, students, and the “poor.” They openly join Martens' crusade to demonize the U.S. Constitution, its supporters, and the ability to utilize rational thought processes to weigh and evaluate legislative proposals; now, they collectively target DFL legislators who saw through the ruse.


Lowen and Rossinow, like Martens, want to build a coalition of persons concerned with other political issues, in order to take on the Second Amendment and its supporters. The article distorts, misleads and misrepresents. A specific example concerns how the writers describe legislative positions and actions of Representatives Paymar and Hilstrom.


Representative Michael Paymar is described as working to put a background check through the House, "only to be undercut by one of the DFLers on his committee, Debra Hilstrom, who reached out to the NRA for help in drafting a rival bill." This paragraph, indeed the entire piece, distorts and misleads readers in a variety of ways, some obvious, some not so obvious.


First, the writers demean Representative Hilstrom by not affording her the title, House Representative, which she earned. (Is this sexism?) Second, the writers omit telling how much of the original "gun" control legislation submitted (some authored by unelected activist, Heather Martens) was plainly unconstitutional, clearly violating not only the Second Amendment, but most of the rest of the first 10 Amendments in the Constitution.


Let's look at this closely. The Minnesota House Representative co-sponsors to Martens' bills did not remove their names from the unconstitutional bills, at last check. So, although Ms. Martens was actually the author and presenter of the bills in the House, certain House Representatives felt comfortable in leaving their names on bills which called for registries of gun owners, registries of the guns themselves, warrantless searches and seizures of persons and properties because they legally owned guns, administrative interrogations and medical examinations of those legally owning or attempting to legally purchase guns. These are not an unsupported statements. The bills are viewable on the Minnesota Legislature website, and the hearings are viewable on recorded video on Youtube, if not State of Minnesota Legislature websites.


Further, when “gun” control advocates' legislation and tactics was met with clear, unequivocal, multi-racial, multi-gender, mass resistance, "gun" control advocates then began calling for expanded background checks for all firearms transactions, while claiming they had the numbers to push for more, but were being "generous," "reasonable" and "willing to compromise." On its face, demanding "universal" background checks doesn't sound like "asking for much"; why, it sounds like "common sense.”


But, what the Martens, Paymar, Lowen and Rossinow don't tell readers is that background checks 

---Are routinely done in gun stores and gun shows.

---Aren't even an issue when criminals are the suppliers and purchasers of stolen merchandise, because criminals won't do them.

---That when background checks are done, relevant material is often missing. 

--- That Minnesota is one of several states that refused to comply with federal laws to submit mental health records to Feds to enter into the NICS background check system. (The case of the Washington D.C., Navy Yard shooter clearly demonstrates what the breakdown in following through on existing laws, policies and procedures gets us.)

---That at the Minnesota Legislative hearings, as well as nationally, Second Amendment proponents, through the NRA, specifically requested mental health records be supplied to NICS. 

These distortions and misrepresentations are misleading. That's misrepresenting the truth.

But, perhaps the biggest hole in the Lowen and Rossinow's article, and the rest of the local "gun" control lobby, is that the writers won't address what Second Amendment supporters forced the entire Minnesota Legislature to look at: Current laws go unenforced, and a broken criminal justice system gives violent, repeat offenders lenient charging, prosecution and sentencing, until they escalate to murder. The federal Bureau of Justice Statistics contains reports that verify the majority of violent crimes, including those committed with firearms, are carried out by violent, repeat offenders. Other federal statistics go further and point out the majority of violent crimes committed with firearms are committed by those with gang affiliations. Representative Hilstrom's bill sought to address these matters, but Paymar blocked the bill, which had bipartisan support and more than 70 cosigners, from having a hearing in the Public Safety Committee, which he, Paymar, chaired.


You need to look deeper into what this action by Paymar actually did. If you understand that a gun is an inanimate object until someone with intent to use it actually acquires and uses it, then you may be able to understand that Paymar's action ensured that those who have demonstrated violence in the past will continue to face favorable prospects for lenient criminals charging, prosecution and sentencing. If you understand that women and children, and young males of poor and minority communities are the most negatively affected (that is, maimed and killed) by violent repeat offenders living among and with them, using all manner of weapons, of which guns are only a small percentage, you may be able to understand how truly dangerous, reckless, and subversive Paymar's act was, Martens' acts are, and Lowen and Rossinow's article is. But the writers of the article in question, Lowen and Rossinow, would rather you not look at any of this. We would all do well to ask Lowen, Rossinow, the "gun" control lobby and ourselves why this is so.


The questions are especially important to ask this month, Domestic Violence Awareness Month. We have women, children and some men who only have a piece of paper between them and harm. Certain people want to keep it that way, rather than admit guns are effective, and allow and encourage responsible adults to avail themselves of these effective tools for protection from harm. We have a chorus of voices staging events and having public temper tantrums against "illegal" guns, but some of these same people are actively working to increase leniency for violent, repeat offenders, who have been proven in study after study to be the ones who prey on others in their homes, their communities and on the streets of cities nationwide. It's on record. It is publicly available knowledge, not a blanket, unsubstantiated claim. Look it up. Then, and only then, should readers decide. 

Marc Olivier

A Concerned Citizen, Lifelong Minnesota Resident and Registered Voter.