We at the Independence Institute take on bullies. It’s what we do.
Bullies like to use the coercive power of government to take away individual choices, like teachers’ unions work to limit educational choice.
Nothing exemplifies this more than the current effort by Dudley Brown, of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, who is using intimidation and threats to squelch a growing movement to re-legalize 30-round magazines, winning back 99 percent of all the gun magazines we lost in the 2013 ban.
A guy who claims to be a no-holds-barred pro-gun activist is fighting to uphold Colorado’s new ban on any magazine that holds more than 15 rounds. Denying a woman her choice of a 16-round gun for self defense. Denying a man the choice to buy a standard 30-round mag for his AR-15.
Bullies like Michael Bloomberg surround themselves with bodyguards who can fire a hundred rounds in a few seconds. Hypocritically, Bloomberg won’t let a domestic violence victim buy a Glock or Springfield handgun with a standard 16 or 17 round magazine. Bully Dudley Brown may already have stockpiled all the magazines he needs; he won’t let a domestic violence victim buy her first gun with a standard magazine until he can add another 100-rounder to his stockpile.
I deliberately use the term “bully” in regards to Dudley. Not only do bullies tell other people how to live, bullies use intimidation and fear. Dudley enjoys beating elected Republicans into compliance by threatening them with ugly primaries full of malicious lies, which admittedly is a specialty of his. It is understandable that good officials fear this tactic, and I hold no ill-will to those he intimidates.
Another bullying technique is of course using falsehoods to created straw-man arguments. A good example is Dudley’s misdirection that I said a bill to fully repeal the entire magazine ban, SB-175, could be amended to re-legalize up to 30-round mags. Of course I never said any such thing and Dudley hasn’t (and can’t) produced proof I did.
Unlike with Dudley’s organization, the magazine ban is not a profit center for the Independence Institute. We have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars — more than we have raised — representing Colorado Sheriffs in a federal lawsuit to overturn this unconstitutional ban.
Dudley’s contribution to the fight is to tell law-abiding citizens to “shut your pie hole,” to buy magazines illegally, and go after the real “anti-gunners.”
We’ll take one of Dudley’s suggestions. We will go after the real “anti-gunners.” That’s why we are standing up to Dudley Brown.
In 19 years, Dudley has raised millions of dollars from Colorado gun owners, and has never passed a pro-gun bill in the State Legislature.
Dudley vehemently opposed the bipartisan 2003 Concealed Carry Act. If Dudley had prevailed, Colorado would still be one of the small number of backwards states like Massachusetts or New York, where citizens are denied the right to carry based on the city or county where they live.
Dudley ignores the need of female victims of domestic abusers and stalkers who need their first gun immediately.
Bills to fully repeal the mag ban twice failed this legislative session, but if the phony fundraiser Dudley Brown really supported gun owners, we could win back 99 percent of what we lost on our way to full repeal.
Second Amendment rights aren’t abstract debating points. For people who must defend themselves, they are survival itself. Callously, Dudley Brown, like Michael Bloomberg, puts himself ahead of the people who most desperately need the Second Amendment. Crime victims — especially women, the disabled and others — need the tools to resist violent bullies right now. Not in some far-off hypothetical day when Dudley Brown for the first time in his life passes a pro-Second Amendment bill for this state.
We might have to wait until next year to get to a vote. As long as necessary, we will continue to fight to expand our gun rights, one round at a time if needed.
Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute, a free market think tank in Denver