• Veterans Day Thanks & American Hero Membership Reminder!

    November 11, 2020

    The Iowa Firearms Coalition recognizes the altruistic nature of those who serve our great nation.  The magnanimity and selfless acts of countless men and women in various services across America were the basis for IFC’s “American Hero” program.  Firefighters, Law Enforcement, EMS, Active Military, and most certainly our Veterans, fulfill the prerequisite for a discounted membership rate.  You’ve done much for us.  Let us do this for you.  Both annual memberships and life memberships within the Iowa Firearms Coalition are specially offered under the “American Hero” banner.

    Thank you to all our Veterans!  Please join us.

    https://membership.iowafc.org/

  • IFC PAC- 2020 Election Strategy & Results

    November 9, 2020

    The Iowa Firearms Coalition Political Action Committee focused heavily on getting out the gun-owner vote and raising awareness of pro-gun candidates in the 2020 election. In prior races, IFC had used text messaging through i360, light social media advertising, and candidate donations to influence voter turnout and support pro-gun candidates. 2020 has brought unique challenges in voter engagement through COVID-19 and massive spending in national races. It was determined that our most effective outlet to engage voters would be to target key demographics in swing district legislative races and pivot regions in Iowa through social media.  IFC-PAC running more ads was also an opportunity to prepare for a 2022 ballot initiative and increase awareness in IFC and IFC-PAC advertising.

    IFC utilized previous election data and generally accepted election expectations to select target races in retaining a Second Amendment friendly majority in the Iowa House and Senate. IFC PAC did not exclude suburban and urban communities as we believe our message carries well there. Supporting this conclusion was heavy firearm purchasing trends in Iowa’s urban areas and success with the Whitver-Gustafson Senate race in 2018, where significant election effort was aimed at the Ankeny area with high engagement from gun owners. We believe that success in the same area in 2020 validated that conclusion.

    IFC-PAC Candidate List:

    • Dan Dawson (SD-8)
    • Michael Bergan (HD-55)
    • Jeff Shipley (HD-82)
    • Eddie Andrews (HD-39)
    • Garret Gobble (HD-38)
    • Jon Dunwell (HD-29)
    • Steve Bradley (HD-58)
    • Brooke Boden (HD-26)
    • Mark Cisneros (HD-91)
    • Tim Goodwin (SD-44)
    • Jeff Reichman (SD- 42)
    • Brent Siegrist (HD-16)
    • Sally Abbott (HD-67)
    • John Landon (HD-37)
    • Bobby Kaufmann (HD-73)

    Based on election outcomes, we believe the targeting was effective and well placed. Two of the selected races fell short. IFC PAC observed high engagement in the Jon Dunwell race, where he achieved 48.4% of the vote in his race, where the incumbent won by 17% in 2018. The other failed race was Sally Abbott, who was selected as IFC PAC had targeted that race in 2018 when Ashley Hinson was defending the seat against a Moms Demand Action endorsed candidate.  We also noted higher engagement levels in the Shipley and Boden races as we encountered higher levels of support and opposition from people engaging the posts.

    ADS:

    IFC-PAC ran both positive ads for the pro-gun candidates and attack ads directed at the challengers. For the pro-gun ads, we only used the endorsed language with Dan Dawson. Other positive ads labeled the candidates as defenders of the Second Amendment for incumbents and encouraged voters to preserve fundamental liberties for newcomers. Tier 1 candidates had multiple ads and graphics created on their behalf.

    Samples below:

    IFC PAC attack ads were centered around incumbents who had previously voted against the Freedom Amendment, Bloomberg endorsements, and simple ‘can’t be trusted with your right to keep and bear arms’ language. The attack ads for Bloomberg endorsements would link the most radical elements of the gun-control lobby’s agenda to the candidate. Tier 1 opponents had multiple attack ads created. The attack ads were run with a much larger portion of the candidate’s budget in the suburban races, where outspoken anti-gun candidates were seeking re-election.

    Samples:

    In addition to candidate-oriented ads, IFC also ran generic ads aimed at civil unrest, hunters, women, patriotism, and the tradition of firearm ownership. The ads appeared multiple times to target different outcomes. The generic ads ran statewide targeting politically moderate and conservative social media users and then were ran again targeting IFC PAC pivot counties. We also targeted specific interests such as hunting, right-wing news, and commonly held interests amongst our core membership.

    The following map steered targeting of IFC PAC ads in pivot counties. We did add the Council Bluffs area to support two races and emphasized the Mississippi River counties with generic ads.

    The overall engagement with the generic ads was positive. Ordinary shares were 200-1000, comments ranged from 150-1100, and the reach went as high as 95,000 people per ad. The highest engagement came in ads directed at hunters and centered around civil unrest.

    Samples:

  • IFC gave you truth and Iowans voted for FREEDOM!

    November 4, 2020

    Members, Family, and Friends,

    This election cycle has been a tough one.  We’ve had a rough year in general.  A virus has disrupted our very lives on an extremely personal level.  Most everyone I know has been placed well outside their comfort zones and in some cases worse.  Yet, we persist.  We’re diligent and committed.  This is the undeniable truth I’ve come to admire and enjoy with the IFC membership and followers.

    Thank you all for your unwavering vow in the name of the true Constitutional Republic these States United enjoys.  Offering gratitude for your engagement, your donations, and your voting is the least I can do.

    Especially, I want to take this opportunity to honor our volunteer force within IFC.  This crew put in serious work, none of which was confined to banker’s hours or portions of the week ‘off limits’ to interruption.  Countless meetings, conference calls, video chats, and virtual gatherings, both scheduled and on the fly, were necessary to erect IFC’s strategy.  Our tactics in deploying the electioneering ads, videos, graphics, virtual town halls, text banks, gun shows, public functions, radio appearances, podcasts, and general information across a myriad of social media platforms separated the wheat from the chaff for Iowans.  I’m proud to be counted among these fine men and women, for their altruistic character and performance illuminate the fact that our work is unceasingly for the benefit of others and not ourselves.  Thank you all.

    Through the ugliness that became this election cycle, IFC offered you quantifiable truth.  This has been our commitment to you, and the truth will remain as IFC’s heart and soul.

    As we’ve seen in recent months, the passions of some override common sense.  Please remain cautious with a laser-like focus on your situational awareness.  It would be wise to consider avoiding the devolving social media arguments that inevitably follow an election.  It is my personal wish that you become a catalyst towards building up communities, families, and faith throughout this great state.  If you want a way to engage personally with ideas like this, contact IFC to volunteer, and we’ll plug you in.

    Again, my sincere thanks to you all for your continued commitment to the preservation and advancement of our core civil liberty known as the Second Amendment.

    In Freedom,

    Michael Ware
    IFC Chairman

  • Everytown for Gun Safety Guts their $60,000,000.00 Spending Pledge…

    October 24, 2020

     

    The nation’s top gun-control group is falling far short of its 2020 election spending pledge with less than two weeks to go before Nov. 3.

    Despite promising to spend $60 million in 2020, Everytown for Gun Safety—founded by billionaire Michael Bloomberg and backed primarily by wealthy donors—has spent less than $26 million, according to Federal Election Commission records. Even with the cash on hand reported by the group in its latest filing, it will only be able to spend less than half of its goal without a massive cash injection before the election.

    The latest filing for Everytown’s super PAC, which has done nearly all of the group’s political spending in 2020, shows the group had just over $4.6 million remaining in the bank on Oct. 15. It brought in just over $1 million—with over 85 percent coming from large donors—in September. However, even if the group repeated its best 2020 performance when it brought in a $7 million donation from former Microsoft CEO and Clippers owner Steve Ballmer in April, it would still be tens of millions of dollars short of its pledge.

    When the group has bought advertising it has shied away from gun control. In ads targeting swing-state Republicans, the group has focused on issues like health care and energy production. The downturn in spending coupled with the messaging shift could signal that liberal donors and strategists believe gun control is not a winning 2020 issue—especially with recent record gun sales and a rush of new gun owners across the country.

    “I’m not surprised,” Joyce Malcolm, the Patrick Henry professor of constitutional law and the Second Amendment at George Mason University, told the Washington Free Beacon. “With calls to defund the police and a record-setting 11 million applications for purchase of guns in the first six months of this year (40 percent of which are first-time gun purchasers), Americans are more concerned with their safety and that of their families from violent riots and mayhem than gun control.”

    Everytown did not respond to a request for comment on its political activities, but the spending picture in late October is much grimmer than when it announced the $60 million goal in January. The group said it would spend double what it did in 2018 and even surpass the $50 million the National Rifle Association spent helping elect Donald Trump and other Republicans in 2016.

    “The gun-safety movement has never been stronger or larger—and we’re going to meet this moment with our most aggressive, well resourced, and grassroots-powered electoral program ever,” Shannon Watts, founder of Everytown subsidiary Moms Demand Action, said when announcing the program.

    Instead, Everytown is being outspent by the NRA. The NRA’s PAC—which raised two-thirds of its haul from small donors—brought in more cash than Everytown in September. When combined with the NRA’s super PAC, the gun-rights group had a roughly $3 million cash-on-hand advantage over Everytown as of October.

  • A Guide for Parents: Understanding Youth Mental Health and Preventing Unauthorized Access to Firearms

    October 20, 2020

    NEWTOWN, Conn. – The National Shooting Sports Foundation® (NSSF®) today released a new guide, developed in consultation with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), that helps parents recognize signs their children may be struggling with mental health issues and offers advice on how to talk to kids about suicide, make homes safer for those who may be at-risk and help reduce the risk of suicide among America’s teens.

    The free resource – “A Guide for Parents: Understanding Youth Mental Health and Preventing Unauthorized Access to Firearms” – can be downloaded at NSSF’s Project ChildSafe® website or AFSP’s Project 2025 website.

    “Mental health may seem like a difficult topic to raise with children, but it doesn’t have to be,” said Doreen Marshall, AFSP’s Vice President of Mission Engagement. “Talking openly with our young people about mental health, just as we would physical health, can help protect our kids and give them the support they need, long before a crisis occurs.”

    Multiple studies show today’s teens are dealing with higher levels of stress, anxiety, depression and other mental or emotional health concerns than any generation before them. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has created a new set of challenges for teens, including loss of structure, separation from peers and increased feelings of isolation—adding to the stressors young people are already bearing.

    “With these realities, it’s crucial that parents take steps to secure potentially lethal methods of harming oneself or others. That may mean rethinking how and where you store your guns and other possible methods of self-harm,” said Joe Bartozzi, NSSF President and CEO.

    The new guide covers the health, environmental and historical factors that may lead to kids being more at-risk, as well as warning signs that someone may be contemplating suicide, and critical advice on how and when to take action. There are also recommendations on how to secure firearms, prescription drugs, harmful chemicals and other lethal means so they can’t be accessed by a person in distress.

    “Keeping guns out of the wrong hands is a firearm owner’s most important priority, and securing a firearm is one of the most important steps parents can take to protect at-risk teens and others in the home,” Bartozzi said. “Our Project ChildSafe website offers several resources on how to determine the best safe storage option for your home and family.”

    NSSF and AFSP have developed supplemental resources, including A Tip Sheet For Parents: Mental Health, Suicide Prevention and Firearm Safety and Being There for Your Friends: A Guide to Helping Prevent Suicide, for teens who may be concerned about their friends but don’t know what steps to take.

    “Suicide is preventable—increasing our knowledge of adolescents’ mental health, combined with secure firearm storage options, is a powerful combination to save lives,” Bartozzi said.

    Importantly, anyone experiencing a crisis is urged to reach out to any of the following resources:
    • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
    • Lifeline Chat: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/
    • Crisis Text Line: Text TALK to 741741
    • Emergency Response: Call 911 or contact your local emergency room

     

    About NSSF
    NSSF is the trade association for the firearm industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of thousands of manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers nationwide. For more information, log on to www.nssf.org.

    About Project ChildSafe
    The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association of the firearms industry, launched Project ChildSafe in 1999 (originally as Project HomeSafe). Since then, the program has provided nearly 40 million free firearm safety kits and gun locks to firearm owners in all 50 states through partnerships with thousands of law enforcement agencies across the country. That’s in addition to the more than 70 million free locking devices manufacturers have included, and continue to include, with new firearms sold since 1998. While helping to prevent accidents among children is a focus, Project ChildSafe is intended to help adults practice greater firearm safety in the home. More information is available at projectchildsafe.org.
  • HF716, the IA DNR, 2020/21 Hunting Regs, and You…

    October 7, 2020

    From an IFC Member:

    Hi and thanks for all you do.

    The DNR doesn’t seem to be acknowledging HF716 in the new 2020 regulations.  Does it go into effect this year?

    Thanks

    This is a great question and one we need to understand.  After all, what could be greater than Grandpas taking their Granddaughters out for their first hunt?

    In a typical legislative year, the session which starts in January would be wrapped up in late April or early May.  That’s pretty normal.  2020 has been far from normal.  Some pieces of legislation didn’t get passed and signed until late June and early July – HF716 was among them.

    When legislation that impacts the DNR is passed, rules are put in place for how the legislation will be carried out and acted upon, essentially.  This rulemaking process involves public comments periods, sometimes several of them, then a proposal to the NRC (Natural Resources Committee), and so on.  This is not a swift process.

    Simply put, by the time our late session was concluded all the prerequisites couldn’t be accomplished before the 2020/21 season regs were distributed, much less be communicated through other means.

    Now…  Personally speaking, that sounds like a bureaucratic bunch of hooey to me.  And frankly, it is.  But, this is the system in which we operate today, and I’m unable to wave a magic wand and alter it.  Not at the moment anyway.  So the contents of HF716 will not be present for this hunting season, 2020/21…

    HF716 was passed by citizen legislators and signed by Governor Reynolds.  HF716 has been codified, but isn’t being implemented yet.  Do you see the confusion?

    There is an upside, and it stems from the relationships formed with the personnel within the DNR.  IFC carefully crafted our concerns to officials within the Iowa DNR.  They listened.  The example I made to DNR was one I experienced in my own shop.  A gentleman came in tickled pink by the law change saying, “I’ve had this old 375 over/under rifle over my mantle since my Granddaddy gave it to me.  I’ve never been able to use it in Iowa and I’ll be able to take my Granddaughter out this year for the first time since I was a kid to hunt Iowa deer.”  That’s a great story and one I liked, but the rules haven’t been shored up and put in place, so this fine man’s desire is certainly ethical and moral but isn’t technically legal yet.  When I offered this to the DNR and essentially said, “This is likely to be a problem,” and asked what could be done, I was given a decent and thoughtful answer by Dr. Dale Garner of the Iowa DNR…

    “The DNR’s law enforcement are being instructed to approach this with a soft touch considering the pickle we find ourselves in.  In the scenarios you describe Michael, folks won’t be cited.  However, this doesn’t mean we’re giving a soft touch to clear instances of violation.”  

    It was communicated to me that if there was an innocent misunderstanding between the current hunting regulations and the codified content of HF716, otherwise legal hunting practices would be given a pass.  Nobody wanted the hunters in the field caught in the middle.  IFC couldn’t accept people being cited when they’re under the impression new law is the law, and DNR recognized this as well.  The Iowa DNR collaborated with IFC to offer a “cooperation” considering the nature of our conflict.  The hunting regs for this year are pretty much the same as last year.  Find the dates, seasons, and regulations here:

    https://www.iowadnr.gov/hunting/hunting-season-dates

    What does this mean for you and me?  When the public comments are opened you need to be engaged, as HF716 hasn’t gone through the “rulemaking” process yet.  We’ll let you know when and where they take place.  Get out and hunt!  Use the information in the link above for your guide to the regulations and if you learn of a situation where all other things being equal a person was cited for adhering to the content in HF716, IFC wants to know about it immediately.

     

    -Michael Ware – IFC Chairman

  • IFC 2019 Team from NRA Nationals Receives Awards…

    September 21, 2020

    With various shooting clubs, competitions, and both local and national events drastically altered or paused, it was a breath of fresh air to get this pic back from some of our shooters. The folks on the 2019 IFC Team we sponsored to the NRA Nationals were able to grab their awards and snap a couple of quick pics in recognition.

    From Left to Right:
    Douglas Roe,  Jeff Happel,  Paul Porter, Ralph Reid, Keith Busing, Stan Sorokowski

    These shooters put in tremendous time, energy, and devotion to post scores at this level. Join IFC in thanking them for representing us so well!

  • Lack of Leadership During a Critical Time

    September 15, 2020

    Below is the letter offered to the public from Cedar County Sheriff, Warren Wethington. Sheriff Wethington is a board member of the Iowa Firearms Coalition. Sheriff Wethington was honored with a Special Recognition Award from the Iowa Association for Justice in recognition of his “Principled Public Stand against Police Misconduct” in November of 2019.

    During these difficult times, we need leaders who are willing to make hard decisions. Leaders who will protect their constituents first. We have too many politicians now, who base the decisions on how it may affect their next election. A leader should always put the people they represent first, and their own political safety should not enter into their thinking.

    I’m writing this letter in support of our State Representative Bobby Kauffman in this November election. The Sept.2 issue of the Tipton Conservative had several letters to the editor showing support for Bobby’s opponent. It is true Bobby’s challenger in this election has 35-year law enforcement career, the last 15 years as the Johnson County Sheriff.

    I have had the opportunity to work with Lonny over the last 13 years I have been the Cedar County Sheriff. I like Lonny as a person; however, we are two opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of law enforcement theory. I sit as an executive board member of the Iowa Firearms Coalition. During Lonny’s 15 years as sheriff, he has been one of the most outspoken anti second amendment sheriffs in Iowa when pro-gun legislation is purposed.

    Lonny has been a strong supporter of Sanctuary Cities. Publicly stating that his office does not inquire as to a person’s citizenship status, or condition of their visa. “If an illegal alien feels they may be taken into custody, they are less likely to report they are the victim of a crime”. This may be true, but if you are an illegal alien you have entered this country illegally. That makes you a criminal. I have worked with people of different ethnicity and enjoy them very much. I have great respect for the work ethic they bring with them. We need more hard-working, good people in this country; but there are laws in place dictating how to enter the country legally

    The most disturbing example of putting his political career above the safety and security of not only his own constituents but the safety and security of every person in the area. In recent months Iowa City has been plagued with Social Justice Protests. Some protests turning into riots. I fully support anyone and everyone engaging in the act of peaceful protests. However, when a peaceful protest includes blocking interstate 80, this is unacceptable. Iowa State Code prohibits a person from standing in the middle of I80. Allowing this to happen places every person in the area in danger. These rioters made it impossible for people who required emergency care to access any of the hospitals.

    The Office of Sheriff carries a great deal of power/responsibility. The Office of Sheriff is the only law enforcement entity provided for in the U.S. Constitution. All other L.E. entities are created through administrative code. The sheriff is elected. Elected because it is important that the sheriff answers to no one person, board, or committee. We answer to you the citizens every 4 years in November.

    The Johnson County Sheriff had the authority, responsibility, and duty to stop this riot from blocking I80 but choose not to. This decision place a large number of people in danger. An example of how this decision affects everyone is while the interstate was closed by rioters, I received a call from the Mechanicsville ambulance service. The ambulance responsible for serving Mechanicsville and Stanwood was stuck on the Dodge Street exit. In the ambulance was the Clarence paramedic. Clarence covers Lowden. This means all of Hwy 30 was without an ambulance service because rioters were allowed to close I80. I called Lonny who was on scene and he made arrangements to get the ambulance out of the confusion. But again, the rioters should not have been allowed on I80 to begin with.

    During the recent wind storm Democrat Iowa State Senator Zach Wahls and Republican Iowa State Representative Bobby Kaufman both reached out to me asking what we needed and how they could help. I have a great deal of respect for both Zach and Bobby. Bobby has demonstrated his willingness to work with his Democratic colleagues for the best Iowa possible. I feel he and Zach have a good working relationship.

    Thank You

    Cedar County Sheriff

    Warren Wethington

  • Iowa pheasant survey results show popular game bird numbers up significantly

    September 4, 2020

    Iowa’s recently completed annual pheasant survey is great news for hunters – statewide, Iowa averaged 20.2 birds per 30-mile route, up significantly from 2019, with six of the nine survey regions averaging more than 20 pheasants per route, the most since 2007.

    “Pheasant hunters should expect significantly better pheasant numbers in 2020,” said Todd Bogenschutz, upland wildlife biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR). “Pheasant hunting this fall could be some of the best the state has seen in a decade.”

    Bogenschutz credits the 2020 winter with its mild temperatures and little snowfall that led to higher hen survival and coupled with a dry spring to more successful nesting and an increase in the population. The southeast region led the way with a 163 percent increase, followed by the northeast region with a 115 percent increase and east central region with a 55 percent increase.

    While those numbers are very good, the statewide numbers would have likely been better if not for the drought conditions impacting much of the state.

    “In the western and central regions where we counted fewer birds, we struggled to get good survey conditions so the results are not likely representative of actual numbers,” Bogenschutz said. “Pheasant populations in these regions appear higher than last year, according to casual staff reports, even though the survey says the population is essentially unchanged.

    “Given this year’s statewide index of 20 birds per route Iowa, pheasant hunters should harvest approximately 250,000 to 350,000 roosters this fall,” he said.

    Iowa’s quail population was essentially unchanged from 2019 with the highest quail numbers coming from southwest Iowa. While the counts were unchanged, it is still double the number of quail counted from a decade ago. Hunters can expect to harvest more than 20,000 quail this year.

    Iowa’s partridge population was up slightly over last year with higher counts coming from northcentral Iowa. Iowa’s rabbit population was nearly identical to 2019 with better populations across southern and east central Iowa. “Cottontail hunters can expect excellent hunting across most of the state this fall,” Bogenschutz said.

    • Iowa’s pheasant season is Oct. 31-Jan. 10, 2021
    • Iowa’s quail season is Oct. 31-Jan. 31, 2021
    • Iowa’s partridge season is Oct. 10-Jan. 31, 2021
    • Iowa’s cottontail rabbit season is Sept. 5-Feb. 28, 2021. 

    Media Contact: Todd Bogenschutz, Upland Wildlife Biologist, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, 515-979-0828.

  • Are you “Safe” today?

    August 31, 2020

    You know… Over the last few weeks as we’re all gearing up to return to school, I’ve noticed the word “Safe” being brandished about in nearly every facet of our culture. Here are a few that came in just this morning to my email:

    “…child feeling safe at school”

    “In the meantime, take care of your families and stay safe.”

    “safe learning environment”

    And that is just the start. For the thinkers among us, I offer you a question. Are you ever truly safe? For the thinkers among us, I offer you the reasoning why we’re not, have never been, and will never be. Sin stalks us and wishes to have us. Period. Calamity is just around the corner. Now, that doesn’t mean we lose our minds and become paranoid obsessives. But, it should mean that we prepare for possible problems. If we didn’t, you’d neither need a spare tire nor a fire extinguisher. To prepare adequately is a physical and mental exercise equally.

    I’m primarily interested in truth. And the truth is, each time some well-intentioned person tells you that you’re safe, you aren’t. They of course want you to be, and they wish for it. I’m glad for that. But ultimately, they have little power over your safety. So, the outcome of ‘safety’ falls squarely on us all as individuals first, and in the communal sense second.

    Once we abandon the idea that we’re safe, we can begin to understand the measures, thoughts, and preventative steps necessary to better prepare for problems. This naturally leads to the outcome others call “safety” in the traditional sense. Their version of “safe” is almost always a house of cards.

    Their version of “safe” revolves around incoherent ideas and applications. A prime example is the “Gun Free Zone” as it were. Does a sticker or the declaration in law magically make you safer? No. It does not. But do the masses too often believe that it does? Yes. And by the practice of believing a thing like that to be true which isn’t, what can you and I say about that assertion? First, it is incoherent. Second, the net safety of a “Gun Free Zone” drops, not elevates. Why? Because they let their guard down where they’re “safe” right? Thus, they’re less aware situationally and aren’t implementing proper levels of risk assessment.

    My point is a simple one today. Each time you hear somebody blathering on about “safe” this or “safe” that, you should seriously be questioning all of it. I truly believe most folks do wish for other’s safety. However, the sophomoric idea that yapping about safety achieves the goal is the core problem. …And the more they yap the more we accept the word “safe” as legitimate and real.

    Don’t do that…