NC--Yet more A ratings for gun grabbers
GRNC response to NCRPA President Russ Parker's attackSeptember 24, 2001Dear GRNC supporters:Although Russ Parker, president of the North Carolina Rifle & Pistol Association, issued his attack on GRNC in late August, we have forestalled our response not only until a full analysis was complete, but in deference to our recent national tragedy. Here it is.Paul ValonePresident, Grass Roots North CarolinaExecutive Director, RightsWatch InternationalGrass Roots North CarolinaP.O. Box 10684Raleigh, NC 27605(919) 664-8565 http://www.grnc.org GRNC Alert Hotline: (919) 562-4137
To: Russ Parker & members of the North Carolina Rifle & Pistol Assoc. From: Paul Valone, president, Grass Roots North CarolinaRe: Open letter in response to NCRPA "State Shots" column on SB 680Dear Russ:Your diatribe in NCRPA's "State Shots" concerning SB 680, "Lawful Firearms Activities Protected," contains a variety of mistruths and omissions.Although you described GRNC as "NRA haters," we have pursued a deliberately measured response to the NRA's excessively risky legislative tactics. In the interest of saving ostensibly pro-gun lobbyists further embarrassment, I had hoped to avoid naming all the players, dates and details. Given the name-calling to which you have resorted, however ("viciously anti-NRA" and "vitriolic" come to mind), plus the NRA's mischaracterization of GRNC alerts as "grossly misleading," it's time to let people decide for themselves.I can understand how you got so many facts wrong: The last time I recall seeing you at the North Carolina General Assembly was circa 1996. Given the absence, your information apparently originated with NRA lobbyist Nicole Palya. Because Palya is currently trying to cover her tail (having been described by pro-gun legislators as "worse than useless"), her account is, at best, self-serving.THE DEAL BETWEEN NRA & DEMOCRATS You got the basics of the SB 680 debacle right. The NRA, in its efforts to obtain committee hearings for bills restricting city and county lawsuits against gun makers, was indeed stymied by "liberal Democrats" in the Senate--specifically by NRA-endorsed Senate President Pro Tempore Marc Basnight. Despite passing the House resoundingly, Representative Wayne Sexton's HB 622--as well as Senator Fountain Odom's companion bill, SB 680--were destined for the legislative graveyard. In order to secure a hearing for its litigation proposal, the NRA agreed to amend SB 680 to all of SB 1020, Sen. Brad Miller's "gun show" bill (which, incidentally, was a re-write of previous language drafted by Parker, Poe, Adams & Bernstein, registered lobbyists for North Carolinians "Against Gun Violence").PROBLEMS WITH NRA TACTICS Alas, that one of few things you got right. As described below, your assertion that GRNC "immediately cried foul when gun show restrictions were placed in the bill" is demonstrably false. Among your many omissions and errors: In what you aptly label "Classic Sleazeball American Politics," you note that adding gun show language gives anti-gun legislators political cover under which they can support NRA's litigation bill. Yet you fail to mention the corollary: that it gives them equal cover from PRO-gun voters under which they can push gun show restrictions. Under precisely this sort of camouflage, Odom first gutted HB 90, the original concealed handgun bill, and later cosponsored SB 324, a bill defeated by GRNC which would have freed merchants of civil liability for posting against concealed handguns. (Despite his actions, Odom continues to tout an "A+" rating and endorsement from the NRA). (1) [Editor's note: The NRA apparently likes giving "A" grades to gun grabbers when it serves their interests to do so. Do read "No More 'A' Grades for Gun Grabbers", linked below, and the many other mentions of such lowly tactics as described by other gun rights leaders in other links below. Best of luck getting the NRA to address that issue.] Although you mention the gun show language was "stripped" from SB 680 in the House (House J-III, to be exact), you neglect mentioning that gun show restrictions are far from dead, and could easily be resurrected in a conference committee if the Senate fails to concur with the House version of the bill. Referring to GRNC alerts issued in June, you claim I "ignored" attempts by Palya to "explain.what was actually happening." Wrong again. Here is the actual chronology of SB 680, including communications with Palya and registered NRA lobbyist Joe McClees:April 25: Palya paid me what she called "a professional courtesy call" (2) informing me that she had approved Odom's inclusion of what she said was language to include a requirement for pistol purchase permits for long guns at gun shows. (Although you note "Senators run the Senate," do you honestly expect us to believe he would amend a bill sponsored for the NRA without their approval?) What made the call remarkable was not only her dishonesty about the scope of the language (or her ignorance, if you prefer), but also that despite what had been a cooperative relationship between GRNC and NRA, she made the call exactly **one hour** before the Senate J-II Committee convened a special mid-session meeting to pass the committee substitute and refer it to the Finance Committee. I informed her then that we could not support the proposed committee substitute. (3)May 1: By telephone, McClees informed me they intended to remove the gun show language **in the Senate Finance Committee.** Although I expressed deep reservations for the reasons above, in an exercise of considerable restraint, I responded that we would remain silent **if** the gun show language was removed in Senate Finance.May 8: I sent an e-mail to both Palya and McClees reiterating that, in the interest of cooperation, we would remain silent **if** gun show language was removed in Senate Finance but that if the bill left committee with gun show language attached, we would make it a national issue. Far from bashing the NRA, we offered every opportunity to avoid the debacle. By failing to respond to our objections, it was Palya who ignored GRNC. (4)Mid May: GRNC Legislative Director Jim Metts obtained copies of talking points distributed to legislators touting benefits of SB 680 in preventing gun litigation but mentioning nothing about the gun show restrictions it contained (I still have the handout). When Metts met with Rep. Wayne Sexton (sponsor of HB 622, NRA's **clean** litigation bill), Sexton was infuriated that NRA was pushing Odom's flawed bill and ignoring HB 622.Mid May: Metts phoned NRA Director of State & Local Affairs Randy Kozuch to yet again warn him we would oppose any version of SB 680 containing gun show restrictions. Given the NRA's intransigence, I again ask: Who is ignoring whom?June 26: Senate Finance Committee gave SB 680 a favorable report. At this meeting, neither Palya nor McClees, both in attendance, voiced any objections whatsoever to the bill's gun show restrictions. The only objections to the committee were voiced by Jim Metts of GRNC. (I have the audio tape of the full committee hearing. Would you like to hear it?) Even Bruce Thompson, lobbyist for North Carolinians "Against Gun Violence" expressed no objections to the litigation section of SB 680--something NCGV has vociferously opposed. When none of the players defend their positions to a committee debating a bill, it means the deal is already fixed. Clearly, both NRA and NCGV were parties to that deal. Incidentally, at the meeting GRNC Legislative Team members were prevented from videotaping Odom lauding SB 680 for "closing the gun show loophole," even though the Sergeant-At-Arms had helped them set up the video cameras.June 27: SB 680 passed its second and third readings in the Senate. At GRNC's behest, Sens. Hugh Webster, Patrick Ballantine, and Phil Berger attempted to "divide the question" for separate votes on the bill's litigation and gun show sections. Although their attempt failed (with Odom moving to table their amendments), we obtained several clean recorded votes to determine which legislators support gun show proposals. Not only did the NRA make no effort to get a recorded vote, its sponsor, Odom, actively opposed the effort. During this debate, Odom alleged NRA didn't "support" the bill's gun show section. As the clich? goes, however, "support is as support does." Given that both Palya and McClees told me they cut the deal which secured a committee hearing for gun show language originally drafted by NCGV's lobbyists--which would otherwise have died for failure to make the crossover deadline--their disavowals amount to little more than an exercise in semantics.July 2: Having passed the Senate, SB 680 went to the House and was referred to the Rules Committee. Interestingly, on July 11, it was withdrawn from Rules and re-referred to the J-III Committee.July 26: House J-III convened to consider a committee substitute for SB 680 which removed the gun show language. This was the meeting about which you allege, "The only group to speak in opposition to the gun show restrictions during the committee meeting was the NRA-ILA. GRNC took no position." This assertion would be not only wrong but libelous were it not for the fact that you speak from ignorance because, by all accounts, **you weren't there.** In reality, GRNC representative Margaret Ann Tyner addressed the committee by: (1) Opposing Section 2 of the original bill, which contained the gun show language; (2) Noting that with the deletion of gun show language, GRNC would not oppose the bill; and (3) Noting that due to the unacceptable risk presented by SB 680, GRNC took no position **on the committee substitute containing only gun litigation measures,** but would continue to monitor the bill for amendments related to gun shows.For the rest http://www.keepandbeararms.com/information/XcIBViewItem.asp?ID=2486 www.keepandbeararms.com "It is the individual gun owner's responsibility to understand and follow all laws regarding gun purchase, ownership, storage, transport, etc." http://www.nrahq.org/safety/eddie/info.asp (bottom of the page, next to last paragraph) Had our Founding Fathers taken this position, Lexington & Concord would have been a line of people handing over weapons.