Tuesday, March 27, 2007

GOC - Quarterly Meeting Report

Greetings GOC-DPO! Once again Cyreena Boston came through and found a place for the GOC-DPO to get out of the rain at Chemeketa College and hold our quarterly meeting. Some issues remain the same, others have changed. This meeting saw a lot of new faces, energy, and ideas to start promoting our message inside & outside the DPO and around the state. Here's a summary:

Jesse Bontecou of the DPO gave us some pointers on organizing the grass roots:
  • GOC-DPO members can be effective by stressing your beliefs within your own social network.
  • Follow the lead of the GLBT "pub crawl"--go where the gun owners congregate and engage them in a positive way.
PCP Sign Up Drive - Changing the party from within.
The PCP (Precinct Committee Person) is the entry position into the Democratic Party. County Party PCPs vote to elect members to represent them locally and in the DPO. The more pro-gun Democrats who become PCPs, the better chance we have of electing pro-gun leadership within the state party (like the new DPO Chairwoman!)
But more importantly, PCPs stay in touch and connected with local politics--you learn what's going on. If you are not currently a PCP in your county organization, sign up to become one.
(Congratulations to Bert Lowry--GOC-DPO member and newly signed PCP for Multnomah County [application pending].)

Treasurer Resignation
Jim Robison, a well-known DPO activist from Multnomah County and a founding SCC member of the Gun Owners Caucus, announced he has too many irons in the fire these days and will need to resign as GOC-DPO Treasurer. Best wishes to Jim on his other projects, especially the Portland Progressives Toastmaster Club he has founded.
Jenni Simonis has put her name forward as a replacement for Jim and is currently "acting" treasurer. She easily meets the primary qualification, which is to have a good working relationship with Cindy Moody. ; )

Fund Raising
In visiting with the other caucuses, it's clear that fund-raising remains problematic for all of the special interest communities. Ideas were offered at the meeting that will both raise funds for the DPO and GOC-DPO, while simultaneously promoting our pro-RKBA position as Democratic gun owners. The idea with the most legs was to host gun raffles at Oregon county fairs. Preferably the guns would be modern (i.e. semi-automatic) weapons.
Because the GOC-DPO does not have the capacity to raise funds on its own, members suggested that fund-raising efforts by done in partnership with county parties and the DPO.
An ad hoc Gun Raffle Committee was formed, led by Bert Lowry along with Zak Johnson and Jenni Simonis.

Let's Go Shooting
The next DPO quarterly meeting is to include a well-publicized outing to a range near the meeting site. Zak will coordinate with Chuck Butcher, Chris Roop, and others who live near the next meeting site to find local media coverage but most of all to have a good time. Chuck mentioned the ranges in eastern Oregon offer somewhat longer distances for practice that is generally the case in the western half. . .

Membership and Literature
We gained several new member at the meeting, including some first members from The Dalles and Colton.
Several members have asked for the membership list to be posted publicly. However, several people--both members and "supporters"--have asked that their personal information not be posted publicly. Zak is currently working with DPO Tech Dude John Springer to do two things:
1) Set up an automated membership sign-up on the Democratic Gun Owners page on the DPO website
2) Make that list available for GOC-DPO members for sending announcements.
That should be in place by the next quarter. John's a busy guy, too, but if you see him, be sure to bug him about getting it done. ; )
Additionally, I am also working with getting online merchandising set up online--a lot of you are asking for more GOC-DPO hats.

Currently we have several sources of information on the caucus you can download and distribute or send as links to your Democratic and non-Democratic friends alike.
1) Blue Steel Democrats blogsite - Feel free to quote or print any part of this blog (in context, please.)
2) The Gun Owners Caucus of the Democratic Party of Oregon webpage on the DPO website. We can also post documents to this site which members could then access and download. Please send me anything you'd like to have added there.
3) Resolution 2005-008:

The DPO message on the 2nd Amendment could not be any clearer that what this resolution says. I'd recommend including it in any publication you put out:



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.


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.

ADOPTED by the Democratic Party of Oregon on the 16th day of July, 2005.

[End of Resolution here.]

Last point: Please sign up to contribute to the blog. We're all busy people, but if each member could contribute just one article a year to the blog it would be more than we need to generate discussion and keep it fresh. If I've sent you an invitation to join as a full member, please consider it. If I haven't sent you an invitation--just ask and if you're bona fide GOC-DPO, you're eligible for write access.

If you're looking for a topic, there are any number of bills currently circulating both in the state and at the national level (H.R. 1022) that deserve our scrutiny and comment.

That's the report. Comments, rejoinders, admonishments, or even blandishments, are welcome.
Zak Johnson, Chair GOC-DPO

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Right to Bear Sporting Goods & the Oregon Constitution

Whenever the anti-gun folks mention that no one wants to take away hunting guns, I simply remind them that that the Second Amendment and Oregon Constitution do not say that there is a "right to keep and bear sporting goods." Its sole purpose is to allow citizens the ability to protect themselves from tyranny – not to shoot deer.

In fact, most people fail to realize that the Oregon Constitution protects firearms more strongly than the federal constitution. It is broader than the Second Amendment and specifically covers self-defense (and was written well after handguns were widely used):

The people shall have the right to bear arms for the defence [sic] of
themselves, and the State, but the Military shall be kept in strict
subordination to the civil power[.]
Oregon Constitution, Article 1, Section 27 (emphasis added)."

C. Michael Arnold,
Attorney at Law
Eugene, Oregon