2017 Gun Rights Legislative Wrap Up – Part 3

(This is the third and final installment of our legislative wrap up series. If you missed the first two segments, you can find it by scrolling to the bottom of this email.)

The Fight Is On For Stand-Your-Ground

As you read in part two of our series, House “leadership” gave the order to kill Constitutional Carry in the House Public Safety Committee back in March.

But thanks to an enormous amount of pressure from gun owners like you, Leadership was forced to send Stand-Your-Ground to the House Rules Committee.

We quickly got word that House Majority Leader Joyce Peppin had no intention of moving HF238 out of her committee but was instead digging in her heels.

With over half of the legislative session already gone, we knew we had to push – HARD.

So once again we turned to you, Minnesota’s finest grassroots fighting force, and asked you to contact the Rules Committee and demand that Stand-Your-Ground law be voted out of committee and onto the House floor for a full vote and passage.

The House Rules committee refused.

So we hit back, hard!

Minnesota Gun Rights launched a full blown offensive program to pour pressure on the House Rules committee and demand they move Stand-Your-Ground.

Ads like the one below ran in targeted Rules Committee members’ districts, calling on their constituents to get in on this fight by contacting their reps.

Thousands of gun owners responded by jumping into the fight calling and emailing the Rules Committee and Majority Leader Peppin demanding a hearing for HF238.

With only a few weeks left in the legislative session, MGR staff followed up on your phone calls and delivered thousands and thousands of your signed petitions to members of the Rules committee with one message…

… Pass Stand-Your-Ground NOW!

(Executive Director Chris Dorr giving an update to gun owners as MGR delivers
 thousands of signed petitions in support of Stand-Your-Ground

With all of your phone calls and emails pouring in, thousands of petitions sitting on their desks and sponsored social media running full tilt in their districts, Majority Leader Peppin finally buckled under the pressure and scheduled a hearing for Stand-Your-Ground law!

It was clear that with only days left in the legislative session, we had just enough time to get Stand-Your-Ground out of the Rules Committee, onto the House floor and passed into the Senate so we could focus all of our efforts over there next year.

With only 7 days left in the session, MGR staff was the only voice for gun owners in the committee room as the House Rules Committee was forced to pass Stand-Your-Ground out and onto the General Register.

(MGR Political Director Ben Dorr giving gun owners an update from the
 Capitol moments after the Rules Committee passed SYG


After weeks and weeks of pushing and many politically bruised weak-kneed legislators, Stand-Your-Ground was ready to go on the House floor for a vote and passage!

Stabbed In The Back

All eyes turned to Leadership as the fate of Stand-Your-Ground rested in the hands of Speaker Kurt Daudt and House Majority Leader Joyce Peppin.

Only they had the authority to put Stand-Your-Ground on the House floor for a vote.

And the Minnesota House, with a breakdown of 77 Republicans and 56 Democrats were in the perfect position to send Stand-Your-Ground sailing over to the Senate with an easy majority vote.

But again, Leadership stalled the bill.

More than that, Speaker Daudt refused to put Stand-Your-Ground up for a vote.

So we went to war for your gun rights.

As you know, we don’t play party politics and we certainly don’t provide political cover for anti-gun politicians like other “gun-rights organizations” do.

We expose them whenever and wherever we can find them.

So once again, thanks to your generous support, we launched a state-of-the-art online media program like the one below in dozens of targeted districts all across Minnesota.

Our goal was to force House Leadership to take action even in the final hours to pass Stand-Your-Ground before the session ended.

But Speaker Daudt and his leadership team in St Paul plugged their ears and ignored the tens of thousands of gun owners who were demanding they do their duty and pass Stand-Your-Ground.

After dragging their feet through the committee process with gun owners fighting tooth and nail for every inch of ground, the Speaker’s staff made all kinds of weak excuses about why there just wasn’t enough time for gun owners.

The entire state was up in arms demanding passage of Stand-Your-Ground law, but by refusing to pass HF238 Speaker Daudt’s message was to gun owners was clear:

Sit down, shut up and ignore the fact that we are killing Stand-Your-Ground.”

In the end, MGR staff was at the capitol on the last day to make sure everything that could be done for gun owners was being done.

But at 11:54pm on May 22, the legislature adjourned “sine-die,” killing Stand-Your-Ground law for the year.

Game Plan 2018

These politicians may think they’ve gotten away with attacking our gun rights this year.

They may think that gun owners will forget how the legislature ignored their voices and stopped all pro-gun legislation from advancing.

But let me tell you, next year is our favorite year in any two year cycle and I’ll tell you why.

The reason is because 2018 is an election year and it’s the time of year when politician’s ears are most tuned into what you gun owners want back home.

They know they can’t retain their offices without you and the hundreds of thousands of other gun voters across the state.

After all, it’s only because of gun voters that they got their majorities in the first place!

And we’re already hearing rumors that in order to cover for their massive increase in spending and bloating the size of government, they’re looking for a gun bill (cover vote) to pass next year.

That leaves you and me in prime position to demand passage of the Stand-Your-Ground and Constitutional Carry legislation – or they pay the price in the fall elections.

Make no mistake about it, Minnesota Gun Rights will be more than happy to take a political 2×4 to ANY politician who stands in the way of our 2nd Amendment rights.

We’re not armchair gun rights activists who only exist to service the political class like other organizations do.

We will be in these politicians’ districts at election time educating gun owners on their political treachery.

Just ask former legislators Rod Skoe, Lyle Koenen, Will Morgan and Joe Radinovich and others how well that worked out for them!

There WILL BE A PRICE PAID for stabbing gun owners in the back, that I can tell you.

But for now, I just wanted to write and say thank you for all that you’ve done this session.

Every year we grow bigger and stronger and your voices are heard louder and louder in the capitol halls.

We WILL get Constitutional Carry and we WILL get Stand-Your-Ground.

It’s only a question of how many political careers will line the gutters of Minnesota history before we get there.

In the days and weeks ahead we’ll be sending out more emails, laying out our detailed plan of action going forward and how you can help.

Until then, stay active, stay mobilized and as always, we’ll continue to keep you informed.

For Freedom,

Ben Dorr
Political Director
Minnesota Gun Rights

P.S. This is the third and final segment in our session-in-review email series, giving you a peek behind the curtain about the fight for Stand-Your-Ground and Constitutional Carry this year.

If you missed the first or second part, please scroll down!

And if you’re not a member of Minnesota Gun Rights yet, get involved today by hitting this link!

Dear Site,                                                             June 5, 2017

(This is the second part of our 2017 legislative wrap-up series. If you missed the first part, you can find it by scrolling to the bottom of this email.)

Part Two: Constitutional Carry Law Heats Up

Once the 2017 legislative session gaveled in, Minnesota Gun Rights worked with newly elected Representative Cal Bahr to introduce House File 309, Constitutional Carry.

And then we turned to you, grassroots gun owners across the state, and asked you to contact your representatives in the House and urge them to co-sponsor HF 309.

HF 309 was rock solid, similar to many Constitutional Carry bills that have been passing all across the country in the last two years.

Thanks to your calls and emails, HF 309 quickly accrued over a dozen co-sponsors in the House and was picked up by statewide media.

In the Senate, newly elected Senator Paul Utke, who replaced former Senator Rod Skoe after Skoe voted AGAINST Constitutional Carry, introduced Senate File 649, the Senate companion bill!

And for the first time in history, we had Constitutional Carry introduced in both chambers of the Minnesota legislature!

But the anti-gunners quickly got to work.

Anti-Gun Pressure Mounts

First, anti-gun editorial boards at the Star Tribune, City Pages and other anti-gun media outlets attacked Constitutional Carry.

Then, anti-gun activists from Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action were deployed to the legislature to pressure weak-kneed legislators.

And, of course, anti-gun legislators like Dave Pinto, Dan Schoen and Ron Latz joined in with their doomsday scenarios about what would happen if we passed Constitutional Carry.

But while our surrounding states immediately began implementing the mandate they were given in the November elections, our own Minnesota House Leadership got weak.

We got word from our inside sources that Leadership gave the order to the Public Safety Committee to drag their feet and stall the hearings for HF309.

So we dug in hard, asking gun owners across Minnesota to call and email committee Chairman Tony Cornish, telling him to stand up for gun owners and hold a hearing for Constitutional Carry.

In early March, MGR staff followed up on the calls and emails and hand-delivered over 20,000 of your signed petitions in support for Constitutional Carry to House Public Safety committee members, making it crystal clear that gun owners want a hearing on Constitutional Carry NOW!

They received the message, and we were notified that a hearing had been scheduled.

And again we asked gun owners to contact members of the Public Safety Committee, and you did so by the thousands.

The House Public Safety Committee Caves

After being bombarded by thousands of gun owners across the state, legislative leadership was feeling the pressure to “do something”.

But at the same time, our friends in the legislature were telling us Leadership didn’t want to move any gun bills.

Worse, we were told that they wanted to maintain their friendships with the anti-gun and weak-kneed members of BOTH caucuses.

This was made clear when they began to stall the gun bills.

But they made sure to make it look otherwise.

When March 8th rolled around, they held hearings on both Constitutional Carry AND Stand-Your-Ground legislation.

(MGR staff standing in the top right corner, surrounded by a sea of Bloomberg’s anti-gun shills at the Constitutional Carry and Stand-Your-Ground hearing on March 8th, 2017)

And normally that would be a good thing.

After all, since our founding in 2013, Stand-Your-Ground has been one of our primary legislative objectives.

But as the hearings played out and the votes were cast, gun owners were betrayed when they killed Constitutional Carry outright.

And to string gun-owners along, they laid Stand-Your-Ground over for “possible inclusion” to the Public Safety Omnibus bill.

In other words, at the orders of Speaker Kurt Daudt and Majority Leader Joyce Peppin, the “pro-gun” Public Safety committee killed the gun bills.

Or so they tried.

Stand-Your-Ground Survives

But we knew there were still options on the table – if we were willing to ruffle a few political feathers and do what was necessary to make it happen.

It just so happens that we ARE willing, seven days a week.

You see, MGR doesn’t exist to make friends with the politicians.

We exist to advocate on behalf of our members for the 2nd Amendment, defend it from attacks and advance it whenever and wherever possible.

And the politicians don’t like that.

In fact, they wish we would act like the other “gun rights organizations” who happily take orders from “Leadership” just to maintain access to the politicians – at the expense of their members’ 2nd Amendment rights.

So MGR sprang right into action.

We knew they weren’t going to actually follow through and put Stand-Your-Ground onto the Public Safety Omnibus bill.

It was no surprise days later when they didn’t.

Instead, we sounded the alarm to you folks and gun owners poured on the pressure, forcing leadership to send Stand-Your-Ground to the House Rules committee.

By forcing Stand-Your-Ground into the Rules Committee, Stand-Your-Ground received immunity from the “committee deadline” rules, keeping it alive for the rest of the legislative session.

And that brought us one step closer, and the fight for gun rights in the 2017 session of the Legislature switched from Constitutional Carry to Stand-Your-Ground.

In our next session-in-review email, we’ll take you through the House Rules committee fight and the betrayal of House leadership in the final hours of the 2017 session.

(If you’re not already a member of Minnesota Gun Rights, feel free to join now!)

For Freedom,

Chris Dorr
Executive Director
Minnesota Gun Rights

P.S. This is the second in our year-in-review email series, giving you a peek behind the curtain in our fight for Constitutional Carry and Stand-Your-Ground law in Minnesota this year.

If you missed the first part, just scroll down!

Stay tuned for the third and final part in our series, coming out shortly.

And if you’re not yet a member of Minnesota Gun Rights, get involved today by clicking this link now!

Dear Site,                                                           May 30, 2017

As the dust settles on the close of the 2017 legislative session, it’s a great time to look back and see what was accomplished in our fight to defend and advance the Second Amendment here in Minnesota.

Obviously, we got Constitutional Carry introduced and went to war for Stand-Your-Ground law and a whole lot more — but that didn’t just happen on its own!

In this three part series, we’re going to review the 2017 session and see how we can use these lessons as we push for Stand-Your-Ground and Constitutional Carry in 2018.

Part 1: Setting the Stage

While the start date of the 2017 legislative session may have been January 3, this year’s fight for Stand-Your-Ground law and Constitutional Carry really began when the 2016 session ended on May 23, 2016.

That was the date when then-Senate Judiciary Chairman Ron Latz failed to pass Statewide Gun Registration, and it was the date that Minnesota Gun Rights began to lay out our program for the fall elections.

As a 501c4 non-profit, we can not expressly advocate for or against candidates.

But we are able to advocate for the Second Amendment and to expose legislators who oppose it.

And there’s no better time to do that than in the months leading up to a major election.

And I have to tell you, we love getting out into these districts and making anti-gunners pay a political price for their behavior in St Paul

It’s essential that we do, or anti-gun legislators will just do it again next year as they’ve been doing for years.

And why wouldn’t they, as they knew that there was no state organization who would hold them accountable for opposing the Second Amendment.

No Deals and No Games!

That all began to change with the 2014 elections when gun owners in Minnesota, educated by Minnesota Gun Rights, booted out many anti-gun incumbents like Will Morgan and Joe Radinovich.

So as the 2015 session began to wind down, anti-gunners knew that they had to pass something that could pass for a gun bill — to try to placate the gun owners that they knew would be waiting for them in the fall of 2016.

First they tried to buy your silence by legalizing suppressors in exchange for killing Constitutional Carry on April 23, 2015.

Once we let them know that wasn’t good enough, they passed an “emergency powers” bill.

While these were some steps forward, only made possible by MGR supporters who were demanding major pro-gun reforms, they were gimmicks designed to silence gun owners in the fall of 2016.

We wanted and demanded passage of Stand-Your-Ground and Constitutional Carry legislation, and we were going to hold them accountable if they didn’t deliver.

And that’s what makes Minnesota Gun Rights so effective and so different from any other organization in Minnesota. We don’t care what politicians think about us.

We don’t care if they attack us in the paper, on their little Facebook page, or in their committee chambers –- we’re not going to back down.

More, we’re going to attack them back as hard as we can.

In their districts.

At election time.

So instead of falling for the gimmicks they offered up, we prepared for the largest election program in our existence once the gavel fell for the last time during the 2016 session.

Holding Them Accountable!

After running our candidate survey program in the summer months where we identified who was willing to publicly support your gun rights and who was not -– it was time to get to work.

With early voting capturing a larger than ever percentage of the vote here in Minnesota, we had to be ready earlier than ever before.

By late September Minnesota Gun Rights was sending out direct mail by the truck load, letting gun owners in key districts know exactly who was responsible for killing Constitutional Carry in 2015 and supporting Statewide Gun Registration.

And this was a focused plan.

We’re not in the business of wasting your donor support in areas where pro-gun candidates have no chance of being successful.

Rather, we lasered in on key races where we knew we could be effective.

Specifically, we hammered on Lyle Koenen, Rod Skoe, Jim Carlson, and Paul Rosenthal’s districts, to name a few.

(A mountain of direct mail, funded exclusively by Minnesotans, moments after being dropped off at the USPS last year as MGR exposed anti-gun incumbents with everything we had.)

With direct mail rolling out by the tens of thousands of pieces, we added in an additional layer of mail to combat the blatant lies that incumbents were publishing about their records.

The feedback on this program was incredible, as we were able to put a face on the gun control movement in St Paul and give people a way to express their frustration with out-of-touch legislators who voted to kill Constitutional Carry and pushed for Statewide Gun Registration.

And of course, we had to combat the spin and misinformation that Skoe and others were putting out over the airwaves.

While we could never match their anti-gun campaigns dollar for dollar, we knew we had to do what we could.

Soon radio ads like this, this and this were running all over the state.

Having paid for the production of these ads, we got double the use out of them by using them in a state of the art internet and Facebook program, that reached out to hundreds of thousands of additional Minnesotans.

                  (Over 38,000 gun owners saw this ad that we ran on Facebook in SD02 in the
                          weeks leading up to election day last November.

But that wasn’t all.

We’re not armchair gun rights activists, we love to get out there and meet with gun owners one on one and tell them the truth about anti-gun incumbents first hand.

And so with our mail blanketing these districts –- being augmented by our radio ads and digital campaigns -– we unveiled a door to door ground game as well.

In the weekends prior to election day last fall, Minnesota Gun Rights volunteers put our hard-hitting flyers on a combined 25,000 doors in Senate Districts 51, 02, 47 and House Districts 31B, 49B, 33B and more!

We were in big towns like Bloomington and Eagan, but also in small towns like Ham Lake and Park Rapids.

And let me tell you, while it may be the most ‘boring’ part of our program, nothing beats going door-to-door for effectiveness!

(MGR’s Executive Director, Chris Dorr, giving an update to gun owners as teams of volunteers hit thousands of houses with information-packed flyers.)

We had people flagging us down all over town letting us know that that were getting our mail and seeing our digital media ads and that they were hearing the radio ads as well — and that they would be voting pro-gun on November 8.

Making Them Pay A Price!

By now you know that this program was very successful in educating gun owners who wiped out Rod Skoe and Lyle Koenen, flipping the Senate anti-gun Majority and sending a dozen pro-gun legislators back to St Paul!

All in all, this program cost tens of thousands of dollars to implement — every single penny of which was funded by grassroots gun owners in Minnesota!

Lyle Koenen, toppled.

A hostile Taxes Chairman, Rod Skoe, booted out!

Multiple rank and file incumbents, with over a 15 years of time in the legislature fighting against the Second Amendment, were sent home.

The result of these efforts led to a flip in the Minnesota State Senate and, with it, a pro-gun majority in both chambers of the state legislature for the first time in years!

None of this would have been possible without the humbling generosity of thousands of gun owners here in Minnesota.

It wouldn’t have been possible if Minnesota Gun Rights had a philosophy of appeasement with anti-gun politicians like so many other “gun rights organizations” do.

And it wouldn’t have happened had we been willing to take the scraps of freedom that the anti-gunners offered up — in exchange for our silence.

This has been the fundamental difference between Minnesota Gun Rights and every other lobby organization in St Paul.

Rather than be party to watering down and weakening our bills, we’re willing, eager in fact, to get out into the districts of these anti-gunners and expose them at election time.

And in the process, the entire gun rights debate in Minnesota shifted.

With the anti-gun Senate caucus having been decimated in the elections, gun owners were in an excellent position to pass Constitutional Carry and Stand-Your-Ground through the legislature during the 2017 session.

In our next update, we’ll cover the introduction of Stand-Your-Ground and Constitutional Carry legislation and how the Minnesota House — under the leadership of Speaker Kurt Daudt and Majority Leader Joyce Peppin – stabbed gun owners in the back.

For Freedom,

Christopher Dorr
Minnesota Gun Right

P.S. This is the first in our session-in-review series that will cover where we came from in the last elections, where we are right now with our 2nd Amendment rights and where we’re at going forward.

Stay tuned for the next part in our series which will be coming out shortly.

And if you’re not yet a member of Minnesota Gun Rights, get involved today by hitting this link!

To stay up-to-the-minute on the fight for gun rights in Minnesota, please take a moment to go check it out on our Facebook page by clicking the image below!