[For a discussion on why the DPO needs a Gun Owners Caucus, please see the previous post (scroll down.)]
These bylaws (below) have been submitted to the DPO. It's hoped they will be approved by the SCC and serve as the basis for an activist caucus that can support the Democratic Party and its policy aims in the following ways:
• Protect Gun Owners' rights by promoting a pro-Second Amendment legislative agenda.
• Help Democrats win elections by publicizing the Democratic Party’s support of all Constitutional guarantees—including the Second Amendment.
• Combat the incorrect and harmful stereotypes that Democrats are anti-gun and anti-gun owner through press releases and by outreach and education at Shooting Ranges, Gun Shows, and other venues that currently serve as de facto forums for promoting the Republican agenda.
• Create a Democratic voice for the promotion of firearms education and responsibility, hunter safety, and enforcement of existing gun laws within the state.
• Persuade and support party leaders to accurately reflect the attitudes of the Oregon Democrats they represent, including the high number of gun-owning Democrats.
• Serve as a counterpoint to nationally prominent anti-gun Democrats who, while they may speak for their own constituents, do not speak for Oregonians or the national party.
Here are the bylaws. Feedback is welcomed and encouraged!
Gun Owners Caucus of the Democratic Party of Oregon Bylaws [proposed]
Article I – Name
The name of the organization is the Gun Owners Caucus of the Democratic Party of Oregon, here after referred to as the Gun Owners Caucus.
Article II – Purpose
The Gun Owners Caucus will serve to promote the Democratic Party and Democratic candidates for office. Through its efforts and statements, the Gun Owners Caucus will support elected Democrats and Democratic nominees for office.
The purpose of the Gun Owners Caucus, through its members and activities is to: represent the political interests and views of Gun Owning Democrats in the State of Oregon; provide opportunities for supporters of gun owners’ rights to seek political appointments or elected office, paid or unpaid; provide networking and meeting opportunities for Democrats who support the full range of gun ownership rights; serve as a forum to counter the stereotypes and misinformation regarding the Democratic party’s long-standing support for all rights enumerated in the U.S. Constitution, especially the Second Amendment right of citizens to keep and bear arms; and to act as a forum to educate elected officials and the general public on matters affecting gun owners in Oregon.
Article III – Membership and Voting Privilege
Membership in the Gun Owners Caucus shall be limited to registered Democrats who support the Constitutional right of private citizens to decide for themselves when and whether to keep and bear arms, who believe gun ownership by citizens is essential to the maintenance of civil liberties, and who agree with the principles enumerated by the Democratic Party of Oregon in Resolution 2005-008, which reads:
“RESOLUTION NO. 2005-008
A RESOLUTION OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF OREGON
WHEREAS, the Democratic Party has long been dedicated to the preservation of civil liberties; and
WHEREAS, the Democratic Party has long been dedicated to the preservation of freedom and social justice.
NOW, THEREFORE, THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF OREGON RESOLVES AS FOLLOWS:
Section 1. To recognize and support the right to keep and bear arms in Article 1 Section 27 of the Oregon State Constitution and the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America as an individual right not granted by the government, but rather guaranteed by the government.
Section 2. In recognition of the tremendous personal responsibility engendered by the right to keep and bear arms, the Democratic Party of Oregon further advocates severe penalties and their enforcement for criminal use or misuse of the right.”
The Executive Committee may from time to time create guidelines on membership that clarify the intent of the organization to represent gun owners in Oregon.
Article IV – Offices
The principal office of the Gun Owners Caucus shall be the city or county address of the chair. The Gun Owners Caucus may have any such offices or chapters as the State Executive Committee may determine.
Article V – State Executive Committee
5.1 The governing body of the Gun Owners Caucus shall be the State Executive Committee, hereafter referred to as the Executive Committee, which derives its authority and responsibilities from the membership. The Executive Committee shall have authority to transact business on behalf of the Gun Owners Caucus between statewide meetings. The Executive Committee may appoint standing and special committees, and may delegate any of its powers to said committees with advice and consent from the general membership.
5.2 The Executive Committee shall be comprised of the following duly elected positions:
e) A representative from each chapter (once chapters are established).
5.3 The Chair, Vice-Chair, Treasurer, and the Secretary shall be elected by the general membership at the annual organizational meeting. Each chapter shall designate its representative.
5.4 Duties and responsibilities of standing and special committees not defined in these bylaws shall be established by the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee shall hold meetings at each State Central Committee meeting when caucus times are available. Other committee meetings may be called by the Chair or by any three members by giving notice to all members of the Committee. An emergency meeting may be called by telephone, or email. All Executive Committee meeting notices shall be mailed or emailed at least two weeks prior to a meeting.
Article VI – Qualifications for Office
All members of the Gun Owners Caucus in good standing qualify for nomination and election to office in the Gun Owners Caucus.
Article VII – Term of Office
The term of office for the Executive Committee shall not exceed three two-year terms. The term of office shall begin in the month following the reorganization meeting.
Article VIII – Authority and Duties of the Executive Committee
8.1 The Chair shall:
a) be the Gun Owners Caucus’ Chief Executive Officer;
b) be the Gun Owners Caucus’ spokesperson;
c) be responsible for external affairs;
d) preside at all regular Executive Committee meetings;
e) be responsible for preparing the agenda of all regular Executive Committee meetings; and
f) appoint standing and special committee chairs with advice and consent of the Executive Committee.
8.2 The Vice-Chair shall:
a) be the Gun Owners Caucus’ Chief Operating Officer;
b) be responsible for internal affairs;
c) assume the duties of the chair in the absence of the chair when the chair is incapacitated; and
d) perform other duties as directed by the Executive Committee.
8.3 The Treasurer shall:
a) maintain the Gun Owners Caucus financial account with the Democratic Party of Oregon or at a local bank or credit union;
b) receive and deposit all Gun Owners Caucus monies into said account;
c) disperse, by check only, funds of the organization in accordance with the approved budget as established or directed by the Executive Committee;
d) submit written financial reports to the Executive Committee and the membership at each regular meeting, and at such other times that the Executive Committee directs;
e) comply with local, state, and federal statutory requirements;
f) maintain all active financial records of the Gun Owners Caucus, except historical records, which shall be turned over to the custodian of records;
g) prepare and submit all financial records for audit prior to relinquishing the Office of the Treasurer, and at such other times as determined by the membership;
h) assist the Executive Committee, by completing all financial reporting required by law; and
i) in the absence of the chair and vice-chair, preside at regular meetings.
8.4 The Secretary shall:
a) be the official custodian of all historical records, files, books, and correspondence of the Gun Owners Caucus;
b) maintain a current list of the officers, committee members, including their duties and responsibilities, and the current address and phone numbers of all members;
c) conduct correspondence as directed by the Executive Committee;
d) in the absence of the chair, the vice-chair, act as spokesperson of the Executive Committee;
e) record and transcribe the minutes of meetings;
f) prepare minutes for reproduction and presentation at the next regular meetings; and
g) track and report approved resolutions.
Article IX – Membership Meetings
There will be at least one quarterly meeting, totaling at least four meetings per year, of the Gun Owners Caucus, as noted below.
9.1 The Platform and Legislative Convention: The general membership shall assemble in the winter preceding general elections to establish the Gun Owners Caucus legislative agenda and to review and revise its platform.
9.2 The Reorganization/Convention: The general membership shall assemble in the winter after general elections to select its leadership. These conventions may be scheduled no earlier than 30 days, nor later than 90 days, following the general election.
9.3 Executive Committee Meetings: The Executive Committee shall schedule a minimum of four meetings per year. A meeting of the Executive Committee shall be scheduled during the annual conventions and the three other meetings scheduled during the remaining part of the year.
9.4 Standing and special committees’ meetings shall be held at a time and location of each committee’s choosing. Each committee shall set its own agenda in accordance with its charter.
9.5 These meetings shall be for members to express views and adopt resolutions. Voting for officers shall be by secret ballot unless only one candidate stands for an office, in which case the vote may be done by acclamation. All other votes may be taken by the acclamation or consensus of those present. There shall be no proxy votes.
Article X – Nominations, Elections, and Vacancies
10.1 The nomination and election of the Executive Committee shall take place at the biannual reorganization meeting.
10.2 A nomination and election committee shall be appointed by the Executive Committee to identify and recruit candidates for office. The names of the candidates submitted by the nomination and election committee and the names of candidates submitted from the floor at the time of the reorganization meeting shall be submitted to the Gun Owners Caucus members for a vote.
10.3 Electors shall be the members in good standing and present at the reorganization meeting. Elections shall be by majority vote. In the event that no candidate receives a majority vote or there is a tie, a runoff of the top two candidates shall be immediately conducted.
10.4 Vacancies may be filled by the will of the Executive Committee at its next regular meeting.
Article XI – Quorum
All those qualified under Article III of these bylaws who attend the convention shall constitute a quorum at each convention. The quorum at Executive Committee meetings shall be a simple majority of members of the Executive Committee. A quorum must be present through out the meeting to transact the business of the Gun Owners Caucus. In the absence of a quorum, there shall be no business transacted, except for reports and concluding business previously approved.
Article XII – Chapters
12.1 During the initial biennium, all activities of the Gun Owners Caucus will take place at the state level, without county or other local chapters. Should the need for local chapters arise in the future, these bylaws may be amended as the membership deems appropriate.
Article XIII – Recall
13.1 Elected Officers may be removed from office by majority vote at a regular scheduled Executive meeting. Chapter representatives may be denied voting privileges pending recall by their organization.
13.2 Executive Committee members, including chapter representatives, who are absent from three consecutive regular scheduled meetings without notice shall be automatically removed from office (representation), unless the member can show just cause.
Article XIV – Rules of Order
The rules of order for the Gun Owners Caucus shall be by unanimous consent except for the use of parliamentary procedure when debate is needed. In such a case, the Gun Owners Caucus shall operate by Roberts Rules of Order, as most recently amended.
Article XV – Enacted
These bylaws are enacted and approved by the general membership on the ___________________ day of _____________________ 2006.
[Date of enactment pending]
Draft of August 11, 2006