Friday, October 03, 2008

DPO/GOC Shoot Succeeds, Democrats and Guns

***Previously posted on Chuck for...***

The Central Oregon Shooting Sports Association provided the Gun Owners Caucus of the Democratic Party of Oregon range rental Sunday Sept 28 and provided Range Officers for a very reasonable price. Association President Bill Flocker worked with GOC Vice-chair Chuck Butcher (me) to make this work, and it did and the Assn deserves great credit. This is a fine organization with great facilities, and it appears they may have gained a few members. Sandra Lowry of Deschutes Co Democrats provided invaluable help in coordination.

Before shooting started I conducted one of those basics of any shooting event that might include anyone unfamiliar with firearms, the safety orientation. It never hurts for those with experience to hear it once again. Firearms are potentially dangerous tools and it is entirely too late to try to correct something afterwards. GOC Chair Zak Johnson is to my right in the photo. The bed of the SSR is filled about half way with firearms and ammunition. The object being to provide opportunities for those who don't own firearms and something different for those who do. Zak also brought along extras.

Around 25 shooters from disparate parts of the state attended, Portland and Multnomah County were well represented as was the Bend area, and Baker City. I do not have at hand the names and homes of all attendees, but this was a gathering of urban and rural Democrats with a common interest. Maren Lundgren, a candidate for the State Senate District 2 7, is pictured learning the function of a .45 Colt SAA which is an uncommon handgun requiring special treatment. Other candidates present were:
Judy Stiegler, HD 54 candidate, Conrad Ruel, House District 53 candidate, Noah Lemas - running for Congress, 2nd CD (apparently he antelope hunts close to COSSA), Al Unger. current Mayor of Redmond, running for Deschutes Co. Commissioner.

Pictured is Bill Flocker, Assn Pres and one of the Range Officers giving a helping hand with accuracy. Range Officers provide an invaluable service on a shooting range, monitoring for safe conduct and opening and closing the firing line for target changes. I would like to make clear to those unfamiliar with shooting clubs that you will seldom find anyone more friendly or more helpful than their members. Politics stop at the gates, we flew our Democratic 'flags' but in no way advocated for candidates or issues. Shooting clubs, for obvious reasons, are predominately Republican and the mere presence of so many Democrats being just like them at the range is political capital that is hard to beat.

Here is Wayne Kinney who wears many hats as a Democrat, he is the DPO's DNC Committeeman and general activist as well as Sen Ron Wyden (D-OR)'s eastern Oregon chief liaison. He is shooting a Ruger Vaquero .45 Colt and grouping his shots nicely but hitting low and left of his aim point. Chuck is making the point that with that consistency the fundamentals of firing are good but the sight picture he is using has a consistent fault. I know this is not about the revolver since I can hit a 10 inch circle of metal at 200 yards with it, although with much heavier loads than used on this 7 yard pistol range or by anyone not familiar with very high power rounds - Hotrod Reloads for Vaquero 45 Colt.

Media has paid some attention to these Democratic Party activities, specifically James Sinks of the Bend Bulletin.
SALEM — On any given Sunday in campaign season, you’d expect to find Democrat Judy Stiegler, a candidate for the Oregon House, knocking on doors in Bend, or maybe in a coffee shop, sipping a latte.

What about shooting pistols?

That’s exactly what Stiegler, a Bend attorney, and several other Democratic candidates from Central Oregon did Sunday near Millican, as part of an event staged by the Democratic Gun Caucus.

Now wait just a minute, you might be thinking.

Democrats? Guns?

Yes, it’s true.

It’s events like those that Democrats — especially those who are seeking office east of the Cascades, which has been reliably Republican turf for decades — say are helping to illustrate that not every Democrat fits a stereotype that they’re identical to Portland liberals.

James and I disagree about Portland liberals, since Zak Johnson certainly qualifies as a Portland progressive and the largest percentage of GOC membership lives in the Portland urban area. Ah stereotypes.
“That’s the whole idea,” said Conrad Ruel, a La Pine retiree who is seeking an Oregon House seat and who attended the shooting event with his son, who is a member of the National Guard.

“There are a lot of Democrats who have guns and support the Second Amendment,” he said.

State Sen. Ted Ferrioli, R-John Day, said it’s good political strategy for Democrats to say they’re just like most folks in rural Oregon.

But he doesn’t think it will sway many voters.

“A great deal of the registration in rural Oregon is Democrat, but they are conservative, gun-owning, God-fearing, red-blooded American citizens, and they vote conservative,” he said.

“They are not going to be fooled, no matter how much rhetoric you pile on.”

Um, Ted, that ain't rhetoric - it's gun powder and lead - and it's concrete not the air you're pushing around. In point of actual fact, his Party's stance on the issue of the 2nd Amendment is inferior in every respect to the DPO's Resolution 08-05. Really Ted, considering your public statement that Democratic voting Democrats are somehow less "God-fearing, red-blooded American citizens" than those who vote for your Party sounds a lot like really stupid really ugly partisanship typical of many in your Party. I don't vote for you or your ilk and I'll match my contributions to this society and my values against yours any day. As far as red-blooded, I've run in a real tough Federal campaign while you hang onto your safe State campaign and most of my pastimes and manner of making a living would put your ass in the dirt.
Chuck Butcher, a former Democratic congressional candidate from Baker City, helped to form the Gun Owners Caucus because he was frustrated at the perception that all Democrats were anti-gun, he said.

“Yes, there are Democrats that want to ban all ammunition, but there are Republicans that want to do that, too, such as (former New York Mayor) Rudy Guiliani.”

But at the same time, plenty of Democrats are hunters and gun owners, he said.

James Sinks is a pretty good reporter, so I'm not going to undercut his livelihood by poaching too much of his article. Buy a copy of the Bend Bulletin, 10/3/08 and help support them. Sure, the paper is more conservatively oriented than I am, but they perform an important function and do it well.

If the DPO/GOC strikes your fancy as an organization you could get behind there are a lot of ways to contact us, DPO Contacts is probably the best or see your County Party. The GOC is not just a propaganda arm of the DPO, though it is certainly one of our functions to educate the voting public, it is also an interest group within Party politics. If you're thinking, "oh sure, like you've got leverage," it pays to know that GOC is one of the two largest caucuses in DPO with one of the very largest geographic representations. Are we visible?

That cap worn in a parade reads:
Democratic Party of Oregon
That parade just happen to be in Lane County, not Eastern Oregon, Sen Ted. We aren't
playing at anything and we're not pretending to be something we're not. This is about "why in the hell are the Republicans getting to run the show in the ditch over this issue?" Cutting firearms crimes is not about guns, it is all about people and exactly one Party has the ideas to address the things that drive crime, how people live.

GOC is tired of stupidity, blaming guns for crimes is just like blaming Chevrolet for drunk driving. People are the issue, drug and alcohol treatment, job creation, equal treatment, sufficient income, some sort of civil and economic fairness and that is not the agenda of the Party that gets the "gun vote." While gun ownership spreads across the economic spectrum it is concentrated amongst those who are most ignored and harmed by the Party they vote for, and vote for as an individual right guaranteed by the Constitution and this divide is stupid. This is the Party of the expansion of civil liberties, not the Republicans - let's help that happen.


creeks said...

Don't seen to see any of the guns my family owns in the pictures.

I bet when it comes to military style semi-auto rifles/pistols and full capacity magazines you guys would take a powder real quick.

Zak Johnson said...

Sorry, Creeks, but that's not the case. There were quite a few semi-automatics on the range, including rifles and hand guns. Does an SKS qualify as a real firearm for you? That's one I remember firing.

Rockhound said...

A standard as issued SKS has a ten round capacity nondetachable magazine. Most are classified as Curio and Relic firearms because of their age of manufacture.(1950's, 1960's etc.)

When I say semi-auto military style firearms(rifles) I'm refering to ones that are modern manufacture can take a detachable magazine that can hold 20, 30+ rounds. Examples: AR15, AK47, etc.

Where were those in your photo shoot?? They are used by a wide range of the shooting population for competitive shooting, hunting, recreational shooting etc.

Zak Johnson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zak Johnson said...

Hi Rockhound. It sounds like you have an excellent collection. I was there all day and didn't see anybody on the whole range with a 30-round clip. Must be the economy; it can get expensive even with reloads, as you probably know. How about a new .308 M1 Garand? True, there was no 30-round clip in it, but does that mean it's not a real gun? Would you say bolt action rifles are less accurate or more? Honestly. If you're predisposed to believing Democrats don't support gun rights, I doubt there's anything I can say to convince you otherwise. But many of us, I would even say a clear majority, do.

creeks said...

As stated in your report the range was set aside for use by your group. Perhaps the reason why you saw no rifles with detachable magazines or 20,30 round magazines. Did you go to the public shooting area?

The M1 is another Curio & Relic rifle from WWII. Not a modern day firearm. I started competitive shooting with one many years ago. They are no longer used for serious competition.

As a competitive high power service rifle shooter I can say at 200,300 600 yards the AR15 rules the roost over bolt guns in accuracy. The rifle of choice is the AR15. Anyone shooting anything other then a AR15 or a platform of the AR15 is not competitive among serious shooters.

So your groups SUPPORTS the right for Americans to own semi-auto military style rifles: AR15, AK 47 etc. and the legal ownership of standard capacity magazines 15, 20, 30 rounds etc.??

Zak Johnson said...

So your groups SUPPORTS the right for Americans to own semi-auto military style rifles: AR15, AK 47 etc. and the legal ownership of standard capacity magazines 15, 20, 30 rounds etc.??


I'd also like to point out that to my knowledge the only member of the Oregon legislature who has the stamp for full-auto possession is a Democrat.

And to answer your other question, the range had many visitors besides us that day. It's a popular spot. If you've never gone to COSSA, it really is a nice facility. But it sounds like you've been there yourself, so you know.

creeks said...

It is nice to hear you SAY you support all classes of firearms, but it is hard for me to believe you are actually serious when you support and vote for politicians who have a clear track record of being anti-gun and supportive of future gun bans. Watch their actions not their words as the saying goes.

In addition to your Presidential nominee your Vice President Mr. Biden is the acknowledge father of the 1994 Federal gun and magazine ban. Both candidates also voted against the Congress approved legislation to stop frivolous lawsuits against the firearms industry. These hundreds of lawsuits filled by some of the very individuals that you support/elect was dealing death by a thousand cuts to the American firearms industry.

Obama has already gone on record as saying he would support Supreme Court Justices in the mold of the current left of center Justices(Ginsberg etc). As you know all of these Justices looked on favor by Obama and used as examples of future Supreme appointments voted against the individual right to bear arms. As it was we were only one vote away from having our individual firearm rights voided and the militia theory as the corner stone of national law.

The above actions and thousands more that could be listed here as examples represents the face of the modern day Democratic Party. This left of center direction is the very reason our family left the Democratic Party years ago and became Independents.

The activity at COSA was a photo op opportunity for Democratic pols running for office to be seen with guns. Hopefully, the photos of Dems with guns would spin over into the local paper, make the news or be used on a political flyer in hopes of peeling off a few gun votes to put them in office. Kinda like our friend John Kerry going on his now infamous “Duck Hunt” photo op.

Zak Johnson said...

Actually, Creeks, the Democratic candidates who came out because they truly support the 2nd Amendment and they want people to know it. I would recommend to gun owners interested in political activism to look at the record of each candidate--Noah Lemas for instance is someone you would never have to worry about curtailing 2nd Amendment rights. In the larger picture, I think it is dangerous for gun rights activists to limit their political influence to the Republican party, which has largely been the case. If you do that, then when the Republican party is out of power you will find you have no influence and no voice. I think that's been the mistake of groups like NRA and GOA in the last couple of decades--they've more or less given up in trying to influence GUN RIGHTS policy and instead behave as defacto wings of the Republican party. The result is that the Republicans take the gun vote for granted and many Democratic candidates, especially from geographic areas where gun rights activists are few, don't worry about the issue. What we need to do is ensure that everybody in every party supports the clear wording of the Constitution. I'm a liberal, I'm a gun owner, I'm an American. I expect my elected officials to respond to respect my rights. I'm sure you do the same. But the best way to ensure that rights across the board are respected regardless of who is in power is for the members of all political parties to fight for the whole Constitution all the time. It does no good for gun rights activists or other civil rights activists to isolate their influence within a single, narrow political philosophy or party.

creeks said...

You wrote: NRA and GOA in the last couple of decades--they've more or less given up in trying to influence GUN RIGHTS policy and instead behave as defacto wings of the Republican party.

Your true colors are showing my friend. Both you, I and the guy behind the tree know that statement is pure BULL!!

The NRA is rated as the most powerful GUN RIGHTS lobby in Washington DC and also at the state levels. Their lobby efforts focus ON gun rights!!!!! The are recognized even by their most bitter enemies as a GUN RIGHTS lobby.

I always like that worn out line "NRA is just a GOP stooge group". First and foremost, The reason the NRA supports mostly republican candidates is simple: Most Republican candidates are pro-gun and most democratic candidates are anti-gun.

If a candidate is pro-gun, the NRA supports them. They would support more Democrats if there were more pro-gun democrats. There just aren't.

In fact, if you cruise around this page: You will see a fair number of endorsed Democrats (sometimes even over a republican).

P.S. tell you Dem legislative buddy with the NFA tax stamp it was the Democratic controlled house in May 1986 that slipped an amendment to ban the future possession of the NFA firearm in now owns. That’s why private citizens are now paying $4,000 for a entry level FA firearm that had a retail price of $175.00 before the 1986 ban.

Zak Johnson said...

I just got the NRA endorsements for local Oregon races in the mail today. They gave Jeff Merkley a lower rating than they gave Ginny Burdick. Kind of hard to swallow.

creeks said...

Again don’t listen to what they say watch what they do.

Merkley is not a friend of gun owners. He has proven that by his actions in the Oregon Legislature.

I’m sure your probably SHOCKED that David Wu, Earl Blumenauer and are soon to be gone Darlene Hooley have F grades also.

Darlene Hooley is a good example. Claims she is solid pro-gun and solid pro second amendment. Yet, if you look at her voting record on gun rights all through her term in office right up to 2008 she has voted against gun owners on all important issues every time. There might have been a few fluff votes nothing else. On the important stuff gone south every time.

It is not rocket science to figure out who the supporters of gun rights are for Americans be it Republicans or Democrats. Just study the politicians voting patterns, who they associate with, sources of their funding, what organizations endorse them(such as Handgun Control Inc./Brady Center, American Hunters & Shooters Association etc.)

This is turning into an endless cycle going no where. Good luck with your second amendment supporting candidates Obama and Joe Biden. Were all going to need it.


creeks said...

One thing I left off.

Barack Obama/Joe Biden have just received the endorsement of the anti-gun Brady Campaign. The Brady Campaign is America’s LEADING gun-ban/anti-gun rights advocate.

You must be familiar with what the Brady Group has done over the years to damage/attack gun rights in this country???

Having trouble swallowing again??

No problem!! I own guns and I'm to vote for a gun grabber pols!!


Zak Johnson said...

Adios, Creeks. Couldn't agree with you more that the Brady Bunch is misguided, to put it mildly. Doesn't change anything though--gun rights need to be promoted by both parties, and a part of each party does exactly that.