To really understand the depths of the betrayal you need to understand the details.
By now you know that House Leadership, Republican House Leadership specifically, sent Stand- Your-Ground and Constitutional Carry legislation to die in their handpicked Judiciary committee after Rep. Shaw filed these bills for us in January.
At the same time, our bill to remove the current law that makes you a criminal for teaching your children to shoot a handgun prior to age 14 was killed in the House Public Safety Committee at the hands of Chairman Clel Baudler.
We have discussed at length why it’s important to make these legislators vote on gun bills – to identify who is pro-gun and who is not.
That’s why we worked with Rep. Shaw to add these bills to the Standings Bill where they could be debated at the end of the session – ensuring that you and I would be able to get a vote.
This is standard practice in Des Moines. As the last bill of the year, the number of amendments filed onto the Standings Bill can require DAYS of debate to get through.
The minute the Standings Bill was filed this year our amendments were attached to them. We then urged you to call and email your Representative and insist that he/she vote in favor of those amendments when they came up for a vote.
And call you did. We received copies of emails from dozens of Representatives who told you that they were going to vote in favor of your gun rights.
We also received copies of emails from legislators who are hostile to your rights who stubbornly declared that they would vote against your rights.
Everyone at the Capitol was nervous about this, especially the anti-gunners who didn’t want to be on record opposing your gun rights.
For some time, we were hearing rumors that the House leadership team wasn’t going to allow any pro-gun amendments onto the Standings Bill.
Insiders were reporting that in an attempt to kill our gun bills, Speaker Paulsen and Majority Leader Upmeyer were going to kill EVERY amendment by running a “strike- after” amendment on the entire Standings Bill.
We know this is can be tedious, but you need to follow this in order to understand what just happened to your gun rights.
To bypass our amendments, Paulsen and Upmeyer ran an amendment to the Standings Bill to gut the entire bill and replace it with another, thereby killing all of those amendments in the process.
We were aware of this possibility, as was Rep. Shaw, and we were ready for them. The moment the “strike-after” amendment was filed, Rep. Shaw re-filed our two gun bills to the amended version of the Standings Bill.
Now understand, the decision to bypass all the amendments is shocking – the majority party virtually ALWAYS allows for debate at the end of the session on the Standings Bill. So already they were going to extreme lengths to bury your gun rights.
But then they did it again. They re-re-filed the Standings Bill in a desperate attempt to stop us.
After Rep. Shaw re-filed the amendments, it became obvious to all that we were not playing games, and were determined to get a vote on these pro-gun bills.
So, in a desperate ploy to ensure that there were no gun bills voted on, Speaker Paulsen and Leader Upmeyer quietly filed ANOTHER “strike-after” amendment while holding the Republicans in a caucus room – not telling their rank and file legislators what they were doing.
Then, the moment the second “strike-after” was filed, they reconvened almost immediately, denying Rep. Shaw the time it would take to re-re-file the amendments.
We couldn’t believe it.
We’ve heard of amendments being physically locked in drawers so they can’t be filed, we’ve heard of all manner of threats and intimidation being used to keep legislators from filing amendments in the first place, but to see not one but two “strike-after” amendments filed was simply outrageous.
As a result, no vote was cast on Constitutional Carry legislation or the legislation to remove the age limit on when parents can teach their children to shoot a handgun.
Already, legislators who are known to be anti-gun are reassuring their voters who are members of IGO, of how pro-gun they are – knowing that there was no vote to prove them liars.
Many of you want names; you want to know who is good and who is bad when it comes to the 2nd Amendment. We are going to have to rely on candidate surveys for that – which we’ll be discussing more in the future.
In the meantime, realize that the entire Republican leadership team in the House worked in concert to kill any chance of these bills coming up.
In a similar way, Senate Democratic leadership voted to kill the suppressor bill last night also – but at least they brought it up for a vote so you and I know where they stand!
These leadership team members are the ones to hold accountable in the House – as well as all no votes in the Senate.
Of course, this email would not be complete in painting the picture without a special mention of the action taken last night by newly minted Speaker Pro-Tem Matt Windschitl.
Windschitl, a Republican leader from Western Iowa, has long painted himself as the hero to the 2nd Amendment in Iowa. His family owns a gun store and he has sponsored many pro-gun bills over the years in the legislature.
Yet one thing is constantly lacking – a willingness to actually do the hard work of advancing the controversial bills. Sure the bills that are relatively straight forward he’ll act on, but anything that’s tough, he’ll run from.
For years insiders have reported that Rep. Windschitl simply files bills to get the grassroots credit for filing them, intending all along to do little with them. Lobbyists, legislators, and voters in his own district have long suspected this.
Last night erased any debate.
Matt Windschitl, long seeking to move up in his career in the Iowa House, was elected to be the Speaker Pro-Tem of the House. Understand how this works.
That is an elected position, and the 100 members of the House are the voters. To get those votes, you can’t rock the boat. Ever. You must do the will of the leadership no matter what.
For Rep. Windschitl last night, that meant that one of the very first things he did as the Speaker Pro-Tem, was to sit in the Speaker’s chair and rule Constitutional Carry out of order!
What’s more, with IGO member Nathan Gibson and his daughters looking on (the ones who were being taught to shoot by their father, and forced to leave the range they shoot on since they are not 14) Windschitl went on to kill the bill that would fix the age limit issue too!
This is what the “pro-gun champion” in Des Moines did last night to secure his role as the Speaker Pro-Tem. As one IGO member said on the phone with us this morning, “This is what he did to get his 30 pieces of silver.”
We’ll have a more complete session wrap-up email coming out before long. This fight has just begun.
IGO is aggressively surveying and meeting with candidates state wide, our PAC is preparing to get involved in House primaries which take place next month, and we’re readying our election program for the Fall where we’ll be exposing anti-gunners in their districts through direct mail, internet advertising, email blasts, and more so that gun owners in Iowa can be informed as they head to the polls.
Frankly, if you’re mad at the events of last night, help us.
IGO is working on our program to hold these politicians accountable in the House and Senate. If there is no price to be paid for bad political behavior, this will continue.
Thank you for your activism this year – we did not lose any of our gun rights – and we’re going to hold them accountable come election time for those that tried to tamper with them.
P.S. Last night we witnessed a massive betrayal in the Republican controlled House, and they repeatedly altered the final bill of the year in an effort to strip out IGO’s pro-gun amendments.
The Speaker of the House Kraig Paulsen, Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer, and newly minted Speaker Pro-Tem Matt Windschitl are now willing to do whatever it takes to keep gun owners from knowing who is pro-gun and who is not – all in an effort to maintain their majority status.
Many thanks are in order to pro-gun champ Tom Shaw (R-Laurens), who fought valiantly against his own party when needed, in an effort to protect and defend our gun rights here in Iowa.
Now as IGO looks ahead to the primary elections, surveying all the candidates here in Iowa, and ramping up for a massive round of educational mail, email, radio ads, and internet advertising to inform Iowans on where the candidate stand come election time – we can certainly use your help.