"I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy." John Adams (1780)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Black Rifle (Bam-Ba-Lam)

Semi-automatic rifles, variously called "sport utility rifles," homeland defense rifles," or "modern sporting rifles" by those who enjoy and support their use, and often derisively labeled "assault weapons" by those who wish to ban them, are among the most popular guns on the market today. The AR-15 style weapon is the most popular among them. Americans own about 5 million ARs with about 500,000 more hitting the private market each year.

With numbers like that there should be plenty of gun owners in need of training on how to maintain and safely shoot the AR platform. Recognizing this market, Corey D. Roberts and the rest of the crew at Tactical Insights LLC defense training have stepped in with their new "Black Rifle" Operator Course. Since the stated goal of the class is to "provide skills and knowledge to every student, from the new rifle owner to the experienced shooter" I decided to sign up for the class.  The debut class was June 7th.

Most of the 14 or so people in the class had .223 caliber M4-style ARs with 16" barrels and collapsible stocks. There were two oddballs. One guy had an AK-47-style rifle and I had a full-size .308 caliber AR with 20" barrel and solid stock. Thankfully nobody engaged in any Freudian speculation on why I needed the big battle rifle. (I'm just taking the advice of Boston T. Party, Fred, and Bob Cashner. Honest!)

The first three hours of the class were in the classroom. Roberts and Ryan Evans, a police officer and certified armorer, headed the class. There was an overview of the AR-15 and AK-47 systems, with definitions, capabilities and explanations of their respective ballistics. Students were walked through field-stripping their weapons followed by some shooting fundamentals. All in all the classroom section of the class was a good "basic training" for AR owners.

The next five hours were on the shooting range. Students practiced shooting from various standing, kneeling and prone shooting positions that one doesn't always see at the shooting range. We shot at moving targets, from under and around barricades and practiced shooting while on the move. It was a good day of practice using the AR platform in close quarter battle drills.

I thought the class was a great learning experience sure to provide new AR-15 owners and seasoned shooters with increased proficiency. If you've got a "black rifle" you might want to check it out.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

IGO & Iowa Right To Life Primary Voting Guides

On Tuesday, June 3rd Iowa's two big-box political parties will hold their primary elections to determine who will represent them on the November general election ballot. As usual, interest groups are beginning to rate the candidates. Here are some key ratings from Iowa Gun Owners and Iowa Right to Life.

Iowa Gun Owners, which bills itself as "Iowa's ONLY no compromise gun lobby," recently emailed its "2014 Iowa Gun Rights Primary Voter Guide!" to supporters. This guide included the candidate survey results in the key State House and State Senate races that IGO is focusing on across the state. Here is the relevant portions in IGO's words:

State Senate Races:
In Senate District 19 (Ankeny) Senator Jack Whitver is in a primary with Brett Nelson. Senator Whitver has surveyed 100% in this race promising to co-sponsor all of Iowa Gun Owners’ legislative priorities if re-elected.

Brett Nelson has refused his survey. We don’t know if he’s willing to support gun control or not but we do know where Senator Whitver stands.

In Senate District 27 (Hampton area) we’ve received signed surveys from both candidates seeking the GOP nomination. Sadly, both Shawn Dietz AND Timothy Junker have put down at least one anti-gun answer on their surveys.

Dietz refuses to help fix Iowa’s pre-emption problem, thus allowing you to get criminally charged for carrying a firearm in parts of Iowa that prohibit your carrying them there (i.e. Iowa City and many cities in Eastern Iowa.)

Junker is adamantly opposed to the idea of doing away with Iowa’s unconstitutional permit to purchase handguns, a relic of a bygone era of “Jim Crow” laws that have been largely phased out across the county.

In Senate District 29 (Dyersville area), long time IGO member James Budde has surveyed 100% pro-gun! More, Budde has pledged to LEAD in the gun rights fight by sponsoring gun rights legislation in Des Moines.

Budde’s going to adamantly fight against Bloomberg’s Universal Registration too.

However, despite our best efforts, James Heavens, also from District 29, simply won’t fill out the survey. We have no idea if he’s planning to ‘make a deal’ with gun-grabbers in Des Moines or not – since he’s unwilling to tell gun owners where he stands.

Senate District 39 (Washington area) is a three-way primary as Senator Sandy Greiner is retiring. IGO members in this district have been busily trying to get a survey from all three candidates for some time.

But as of this writing, Royce Phillips is the only candidate in this race who is willing to tell gun owners where he stands.

Not only did Phillips answer the survey but he did so with 100% pro-gun answers – giving us a reason to believe that he’ll fight to stop gun control at every corner if elected. Michael Moore and Bob Anderson have refused to survey at all. We simply don’t know if they’ll vote pro-gun or anti-gun if elected.

State House:

In House District 15 (Council Bluffs) we have vastly different candidates running.

John Blue has surveyed 100%. No hesitation, no wavering, he’s been clear all along that he’ll fight against gun control and for Constitutional Carry if elected. We’ve talked with John and he seems very serious about the 2nd Amendment in our conversations with him.

Troy Arthur has returned the survey as well, but unlike John Blue, Arthur’s survey was very disturbing.

Troy Arthur will not support Constitutional Carry and he will not support repeal of the unconstitutional ‘permit-to-purchase’ either!

More dangerous, however, was Arthur’s answer on mental health legislation. Gun grabbers are using mental health legislation to come after gun owners, especially vets, by having them declared unfit to possess a firearm.

The key is the word ‘declared.’ This can be done by virtually anyone. Hundreds of thousands of vets have lost their rights this way according to Gun Owners of America. Hundreds of thousands!

On the other hand, if someone is ‘adjudicated’ defective it means that the individual was given a chance to appear in a court of law, have counsel present, produce evidence, confront the opposition’s evidence, and more.

In other words, adjudication implies you have rights, declaration means someone can arbitrarily decide to seize your gun rights. Troy Arthur supports the idea of you simply being declared prohibited. No due process, no lawyer, no rights, just the end of your gun rights.

Thankfully, John Blue is opposed to this radical attack on the 2nd Amendment!

In House District 39 (Johnston area) we have received multiple surveys as this is a 3-way primary. Representative Jake Highfill and Taylor Egly have surveyed 100% pro-gun. Jerry Kinder has REFUSED to survey in this race at all.

It’s important to note that Rep. Highfill, in his two years in the House, has co-sponsored all of the legislation put forth by Iowa Gun Owners.

In House District 47 (Boone) we have a Democratic primary with a reportable difference that voters should know about.

Hans Erickson has surveyed 100% in favor of your gun rights. Constitutional Carry, Stand Your Ground, Pre-Emption reform – Hans Erickson supports all of these concepts and more.

Mark Trueblood has not returned our survey, although IGO members in the district say that he may have dropped out of the race, which may explain this.

In House District 60, Rep. Walt Rogers has failed to return his survey. We’ve spoken to Walt about gun rights, at length, this past legislative session. You see, when Constitutional Carry legislation came to the House for a vote in 2011 Walt voted “NO!”

Now Walt is in a leadership position in the House, and insiders have reported that Walt’s more concerned about maintaining that leadership position that he is about fighting for your gun rights. This pattern of behavior is what makes his refusal to survey this time around all the more concerning.

Thankfully, Jason Welch, who is running against Rogers, has surveyed 100% pro-gun. More, Jason Welch has promised to SPONSOR key pieces of legislation for IGO. We appreciate his support for the 2nd Amendment.

In House District 61 (Waterloo area) we have a 3-way Democratic primary that you should know about as Brad Condon answered 6 out of 9 questions with arrogantly anti-gun answers. He wasn’t just anti-gun, he’s proud of it!

Andrew Miller answered the survey too, but thinks it’s ok for a single ‘mental health professional’ to take gun rights away from Iowa’s veterans on their own volition without any basic due process rights!

Miller actually called our office wanting to make sure we highlighted how ‘good’ he is on the 2nd Amendment and basically argued that anyone who’s even accused of being ‘mental’ should have their gun yanked immediately. Andrew, consider your race “highlighted.”

Timi Brown-Powers refused to survey in this race.

In House District 84 (Mt. Pleasant area) incumbent Dave Heaton is hoping that the voters will forget about his vote against Constitutional Carry in 2011 as Ralph Holmstrom is primarying him to be the GOP nominee in this district.

Heaton has refused to complete his candidate survey whereas Ralph Holmstrom has surveyed 100% pro-gun!

Finally, in District 91, Rep. Mark Lofgren, no friend to the 2nd Amendment whatsoever, is retiring from that seat to run for Congress (voters beware, Lofgren is ducking his federal survey while Matt Waldren has answered 100%) creating an open seat race between Mark Cisneros and Gary Carlson.

While Gary Carlson is refusing to tell gun owners where he stands on the 2nd Amendment, Mark Cisneros has been extremely up front about his pro-gun views in signing his survey 100% pro-gun.

(Cisneros actually surveyed twice for us, as his original survey was misplaced by a volunteer in our office. Cisneros was very sincere in his support of the 2nd Amendment when we spoke to him.)

Iowa Right to Life describes itself as "the largest pro-life organization in the state of Iowa united in our value for human life and the common belief in each individual’s fundamental right to be treated with dignity and respect." Here is their voter guide:

The Entire List of Candidates Iowa Right to Life Believes Best Meet Evaluation Criteria:
(Where multiple candidates are listed for a particular race, they are in alphabetical order)
Governor and Lieutenant Governor
Governor Terry Branstad
Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds
U.S Senate
Sam Clovis
Senator Joni Ernst
Matt Whitaker
U.S. Representative District 1
Rod Blum
Steve Rathje
U.S. Representative District 2
Matthew Waldren
U.S. Representative District 3
Robert Cramer
Joe Grandanette
Matt Schultz
Monte Shaw
David Young
Senator Brad Zaun
U.S. Representative District 4
Congressman Steve King
State Senator
District 1:    Senator David Johnson
District 3:    Senator Bill Anderson
District 5:    Tim Kraayenbrink
District 7:    Senator Rick Bertrand
District 9:    Jason Schultz
District 11:  Art Hill
District 13:  Senator Julian Garrett
District 15:  Crystal Bruntz
District 19:  Senator Jack Whitver
District 23:  Jeremy Davis
District 25:  Senator Bill Dix
District 27:  Shawn Dietz AND Timothy Junker
District 29:  James Budde AND James Heavens
District 39:  Royce Phillips
District 41:  Senator Mark Chelgren
District 47:  Senator Roby Smith
State Representative
District 1:    John Wills
District 2:    Rep. Megan Hess
District 3:    Rep. Daniel Huseman
District 4:    Rep. Dwayne Alons
District 5:    Rep. Chuck Soderberg
District 6:    Rep. Ron Jorgensen
District 7:    Rep. Tedd Gassman
District 10:  Mike Sexton
District 12:  Brian Best
District 15:  Troy Arthur AND John Blue
District 16:  Rep. Mary Ann Hanusa
District 17:  Rep. Matt Windschitl
District 18:  Steven Holt AND Dillon Malone
District 19:  Rep. Ralph Watts
District 20:  Rep. Clel Baudler
District 21:  Rep. Jack Drake
District 22:  Rep. Greg Forristall
District 23:  Rep. Mark Costello
District 24:  Rep. Cecil Dolecheck
District 25:  Rep. Stan Gustafson
District 26:  James Butler AND Eric Durbin
District 27:  Rep. Joel Fry 
District 28:  Rep. Greg Heartsill
District 29:  Patrick Payton
District 30:  Zach Nunn
District 37:  Rep. John Landon
District 38:  Rep. Kevin Koester
District 39:  Rep. Jake Highfill
District 43:  Rep. Chris Hagenow
District 47:  Rep. Chip Baltimore
District 54:  Rep. Linda Upmeyer
District 55:  Darrel Branhagen
District 57:  Ryan Kilburg
District 60:  Rep. Walt Rogers
District 63:  Rep. Sandy Salmon
District 64:  Craig Johnson
District 67:  Rep. Kraig Paulsen
District 68:  Ken Rizer
District 71:  Jane Jech
District 72:  Rep. Dean Fisher
District 75:  Rep. Dawn Pettengill
District 79:  Rep. Guy Vander Linden
District 80:  Rep. Larry Sheets
District 82:  Jeff Shipley
District 84:  Rep. David Heaton AND Ralph Holmstrom
District 91:  Mark Cisneros
District 92:  Ross Paustian
District 94:  Rep. Linda Miller
District 95:  Rep. Quentin Stanerson
District 96:  Rep. Lee Hein
District 97:  Norlin Mommsen

Monday, May 26, 2014

Cannabis Oil Coming To Iowa

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad said that next week he will sign a bill legalizing the use of oil derived from marijuana to treat chronic epilepsy. This comes after the bill passed the Iowa legislature at the last moments of the session.

According to The Des Moines Register:

"The legislation requires patients with chronic epilepsy and their caregivers to acquire a registration card through Iowa’s Department of Public Health, per a written recommendation from a neurologist. The oil would have to be obtained in another state that produces it. The bill limits the amount of oil that can be in a patient or caregiver’s possession at any given time.

"Branstad said he supports the measure because of its narrow focus and applicability to a small number of people in need. He said that families with children suffering from severe epileptic seizures convinced him of the bill’s importance and that he believes the oil can help them."

The bill is so narrowly focused that even Iowa's anti-cannabis crusader Clel Baudler supported it. “I refuse to call it medical marijuana. It’s hemp oil. I hope it works,” he said. “Right here, right now, we have the opportunity to do something that is very good.”

Even if the further legalization of other forms of medical marijuana doesn't take root here in Iowa, as it has in other states, at least this bill will provide some relief for some very sick children and their families now.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

"Cold Hard Cashner on Gun Rights"

Please check out and buy my new book: "Cold Hard Cashner on Gun Rights: Second Amendment Writings From 2008-2013."
"Cold Hard Cashner" has been called "the premiere small-town Iowa blog about Liberty." This book collects the blog's best posts dealing with Second Amendment issues since its inception in 2008 through 2013. In these pages you will read about the history and philosophy behind the Second Amendment, Iowa's struggle to become a "shall-issue" state, gun training and selection, and the gun politics in the state.

About the author: Benjamin R. Cashner is a lifelong resident of Iowa where he lives with his wife and two children. He served as an infantryman in the Iowa Army National Guard from 1992 to 1998. Cashner is a member of the Iowa Libertarian Party and his columns have appeared in the "Cedar Rapids Gazette" and "Iowa City Press-Citizen."

Buy the book HERE.

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