February 23, 2016
The first annual IFC 2A Day at the Capitol is officially a wrap!
Today was one heck of a day for civil rights and gun owners in Iowa. If you follow this page, no doubt you know already that we made a clean sweep of all five of our bills in the House today, each bill representing solid, positive progress for common sense gun legislation. Congratulations to all of you on our victories!
VP Kurt Liske will be along later this evening to put something out via e-mail (he’s still driving home from Des Moines as I type this), but I just wanted to take a moment to thank all of you for stepping up and making some noise. As one of the guys who goes to the Capitol and talks to the legislators, I cannot express to you just how influential your collective voices are. I know every special interest group says that, but IFC has gained a very positive reputation among the legislators for being able to get the word out, not to mention turn the heat up, when necessary.
Trust me when I say this: The Iowa Legislature knows who you and IFC are!
This is going to end up being a long post, but it’s important that I write it and I hope you read it through to the end. This one is important because the people I’m about to thank need to know just how much they mean to me, to IFC, and to advancing the civil rights of over three million Iowans. Further, it’s important that you all know who is doing what on your behalf so hopefully someday, when you meet them at a gun show or some other IFC event or at the Capitol, you can shake their hand and say thanks too. They deserve it, and more.
So with all that said…
First, thanks to all of you who took time out of your day today, in the middle of the week, in the middle of February–some of you even driving across the state!–to come and talk to your legislators and witness history in the making. At no time in anyone’s memory has anything like today’s Second Amendment Day ever happened here in Iowa. Yes, lobbyists and interest groups show up at the Capitol each day, all with their different wants and needs…But nobody has ever put close to 100 people under the golden dome during a coordinated vote on that group’s bills. You folks were amazing today!
About that coordinated vote…A HUGE thank you is owed to Representatives Jake Highfill, Brian Best, Terry Baxter, and Greg Heartsill for running legislation on your behalf. All managed our bills with aplomb, and they all deserve our gratitude. Watching them speak on your bills, answer questions, and counter some of the nonsense thrown at them today was a beautiful thing to see. The Republic was alive and well today in Des Moines, and it was an honor to be present to witness it.
Furthermore, a special thanks is owed to Speaker Pro Tem Matt Windschitl, without whose support and friendship we’d not be nearly as far as we are. We could not ask for nor have any better ally. Matt is truly the happy warrior, and we all owe him a debt that cannot be repaid.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Speaker Linda Upmeyer, Majority Leader Chris Hagenow, and Representatives Zach Nunn, Walt Rogers, Jarad Klein, John Wills and Joel Fry. I feel bad lumping these folks together because they all deserve individual thanks. But these good folks, the House majority leadership, worked closely with Matt and the bill managers to make our bills come to the floor today, on our Second Amendment Day. This may sound like a simple task to the uninitiated, but timing such things is not all that straightforward and there’s a great deal of art to it. That they pulled it off for us is beyond cool!
Thanks to the man, the legend, Kurt Liske, our vice president. As with many things IFC, I or members of the board come up with the ideas and it ends up on Kurt’s plate to work out. Today’s Second Amendment Day was no different, and Kurt shouldered most of the load on making it happen. There’d be no 2A Day, or a lot of other things, without Kurt. There’s hardly a thing you see IFC do that doesn’t have Kurt’s fingerprints all over it. The gratitude I have for that is inexpressible.
And did you see our new shirts and stickers? Shout-out to Membership Director Levi Larsen for getting those made up on what was an unrealistically short notice…But he pulled it off, with a good bit of help from our new printer, Paul Anderson at Creality Print Solutions. Look for these at the gun shows, and to go on sale soon!
Richard Rogers, one of our board members, deserves a standing ovation for today too. I’m one of IFC’s two lobbyists, but it’s Richard out there literally doing the daily grind. A senator needs to have a meeting on short notice? Call Richard. Representative So-and-So is waffling on a bill? Call Richard. Richard is the go-to guy when our bills need that push, and as the votes from today prove, he’s damn fine at his job. I can’t think of a single IFC member who spends all day each day, Monday through Thursday, doing the good work for us…But Richard does. How amazing is that?
Nathan Gibson and his daughters Natalie and Meredith are rock stars. Nathan has taken up the mantle of our tech director, but you may know him as the guy who was kicked off the range with his girls because they were too young to be shooting pistols. Through their misfortune, we discovered the long since forgotten law restricting children from learning gun safety. But turning aggravation into political possibility, Nathan decided to make their problem a teaching moment for his kids, and together he, Meredith and Natalie did the American thing and fought back. They serve as daily inspiration as to why we fight this fight, and together we’re doing right by the hundreds of thousands of parents affected by this ridiculous law.
He’d be upset with me mentioning this, but that’s just too bad. You see, few people have such a positive influence on IFC and gun rights in Iowa as Michael Ware does. Today’s 2A Day is something Michael has dreamed of for years, though until the last year or so we lacked the resources to pull it off. And throughout all the planning and arranging, Michael was there in the background providing all the support anyone needed. That pretty much describes Michael: always there, always in the background, always helping move the ball just a little bit closer to the end zone.
Along that same vein, our fearless leader of the board of directors, John Reed, deserves more thanks than its possible to give. John stepped down as an IFC lobbyist after last year and has tried to enjoy retirement a little more these days. However even though he had less of a hand in today’s 2A Day, today was only as successful as it was due to all the previous years work John has done, laying the tracks for our path to success. We simply wouldn’t be where we are today without John Reed.
Thanks are also owed to our friends Knox and Michael Williams, the lobbyists for the American Suppressor Association. These guys have flown out here, from Atlanta, Georgia and Washington D.C. respectively, each time the suppressor bill has needed a little extra tender loving care. That’s what you call dedication, and we’re lucky to have such companions on this journey.
A hearty thank you goes to Scott Rausch of the NRA. Scott is new to the Iowa legislative scene this year, but already he’s one of the gang. He helped us bring some of the capabilities of the NRA to bear, which has not only raised awareness of our issues, but got a few more people to turn out today.
Next, while they’re far too numerous to name, my sincerest and most heartfelt thanks go out to all the legislators who voted for our bills, Republican and Democrat alike. In the end, despite what a few individuals do, passing legislation is a numbers game and it’s the votes that matter. Your support won’t be forgotten any time soon, and we sincerely look forward to working with you again in the future.
And, if on the odd chance any of them read this, I’d like to thank those who voted against our legislation too. I obviously disagree with your positions, and I even think some of the counter-arguments made today were, frankly, ridiculous. But all that aside, we all want what’s best for Iowans even if we disagree on how to get it done. So to that end, please know that IFC is always available to you for any information you need, any questions you may have, or yes, even if you just want to go out shooting sometime and see what all the fuss is about. My offer here is genuine: we are honored to serve if called.
Lastly, on a somewhat selfish note, I’d like to thank my wife Deb. Deb recently volunteered to be IFC secretary and work with me to get our years and years and years worth of paperwork in order, keep minutes of our meetings, and all that other boring and unexciting grunt work that unfortunately needs to be done. And perhaps more importantly, she puts up with me spending time doing IFC stuff instead of spending that time with her. Nothing I do, what little of it there is compared to all these aforementioned folks, would be possible without her support and friendship.
Thanks to all of you, from the bottom of my heart, for all you do. Today, the first annual IFC Second Amendment Day at the Capitol, was a complete success–and it was all because of you!
Iowa Firearms Coalition is an entirely volunteer, grassroots, Second Amendment advocacy group. Responsible for bringing uniformity to Iowa’s Permit to Carry process, IFC’s members work to protect and enhance Second Amendment rights in Iowa. An affiliate of the National Rifle Association, the IFC actively seeks to foster and promote the shooting sports. Sign up for our email list for the latest on Second Amendment issues in Iowa. You can support our work by becoming a member, or making a donation.