Rocky Mountain Gun Owners

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Rocky Mountain Gun Owners
RMGOlogo2009FULLnoURL copy.jpg
RMGO logo
Formation 1996
Headquarters Windsor, Colorado
Executive Director
Dudley Brown
Website

Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, or RMGO, is a non-profit gun rights advocacy group in Colorado, United States.[1][2] The group also maintains a separate affiliated Political Action Committee.[3]

RMGO was established in the mid 1990s in Colorado by firearm rights advocate Dudley Brown.[4] The group has become known for aggressive lobbying activities that have made their issues prominent, particularly in primaries and candidate nominating assemblies [5] and for its influence in firearms public policy such as Concealed Carry,[6] Constitutional Carry,[7][8] and Make My Day (more recently referred to as Castle Doctrine) [9] legislation.

RMGO maintains that it is Colorado’s only "no-compromise" gun rights lobby and [10][11] has attained distinction for its lobbying tactics that differ from other pro-gun organizations such as the National Rifle Association. The two organizations have exchanged heated criticisms of each other.[12]

History[edit]

RMGO was established in 1996 and has been registered with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office since January of 1997.[13] Dudley Brown, an NRA lobbyist throughout the early 1990s founded the group shortly after leaving the NRA state affiliate for being too lax on gun-control.[12][14][15][16]

In the aftermath of the Columbine High School massacre Brown represented RMGO in national news in support of gun rights amidst calls for more restrictions on firearms.[17][18] RMGO organized opposition to a 2000 state ballot initiative known as Amendment 22 aimed at closing the purported “gun-show loophole” by requiring background checks at gun shows.[19] Amendment 22 ultimately passed.[20] The group also organized opposition and demonstrations against legislative measures supported by then Republican Governor Bill Owens to restricting firearms access,[21] and campaigned against candidates down to local sheriff that they felt undermined gun issues.[22] RMGO's early years of influenced earned recognition in a state political science textbook.[23]

Conflict with the NRA[edit]

From its early years RMGO has been at odds with other groups such as the National Rifle Association. RMGO has been recognized as “a gun-rights group so strident the National Rifle Association keeps its distance,” [19] and has accused the NRA of “squandering time and money” and ``kissing up to politicians.” [12]

The NRA has retorted by discrediting Brown as “the Al Sharpton of the gun movement,” [12] and expressed frustration with attention given to "extreme right gun groups" such as RMGO.[24]

The primary source of the tension has been reported as a difference in the lobbying tactics of the two groups. With NRA and its state affiliate Colorado State Shooting Association preferring a conventional lobbying or access-based approach, while RMGO electing to pursue a grassroots or confrontation-based approach.[12][25] The group regularly accuses the NRA of not living up to its reputation.[8]

The scope of the ideological differences was acknowledged more recently by Jim Merlino, former policy director for the Colorado Senate Democrats who observed: "Out here in Colorado, the National Rifle Association is considered a left-wing Washington-based organization. Instead of this Eastern establishment group, gun owners look to the Rocky Mountain Gun Owner as their voice in the legislature and Congress." [26]

The 2000s[edit]

During this time continued and RMGO built upon its tactics and message. An integral part of their efforts was their candidate survey, asking candidates for office a variety of questions on gun issues.[27]

In 2000 the group criticized the positions of Moderate Republican Candidates for the Colorado General Assembly in the lead up to the state Primary Election.[28]

In 2003, RMGO was noted for its opposition to local county sheriffs revoking weapons permits issued by their predecessors.[29] The group sought to address this issue and others through amendments to a concealed carry reform bill that year, however they ended up opposing the final bill due to added training requirements, and increased in the number of places off limits to weapons holders. Those provisions were acceptable to the NRA.[30][31]

In 2004, the group lobbied for a bill that would have erased the Colorado Bureau of Investigation's database of concealed-weapons permit holders.[32] Prior to 2007 permit holders were classified as "persons of interest" by the CBI. In 2007 the CBI moved permit holders out of that classification. Despite previous extensions of the law that allowed for the statewide database, the General Assembly did not renew the database and instead let it sunset.[33][34][35]

In 2008, the group began lobbying for a bill to expand the Colorado "Make My Day" (Castle Doctrine) Law to businesses. An effort that continues to this day.[36]

In 2010, the group was critical of republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes, amongst others for his response to their candidate survey.[27]

National affiliation[edit]

Rocky Mountain Gun Owners is an affiliate of the National Association for Gun Rights,[8] a group that serves as an umbrella coordinator for various state-level pro-gun organizations. NAGR is also headed by Dudley Brown.[37] The two organizations submitted a joint Amicus curiae brief to the United States Supreme Court for the landmark 2010 McDonald v. Chicago case that determined the Second Amendment applies to individual states.[38] The RMGO et al. brief was cited in the court's opinion.[39] RMGO has also affiliations with Gun Owners of America and several other state-level gun organizations.[40]

Campus carry lawsuits[edit]

In 2010 RMGO filed a lawsuit against Colorado State University for their attempt to ban Concealed Weapons Permit holders from carry-on-campus.[41][42][43] CSU subsequently rescinded their ban and the lawsuit was dropped.[44]

RMGO also argued against a similar campus carry ban by the University of Colorado. In 2012 Colorado Supreme Court ruled that CU's ban on the lawful carry of firearms was illegal, citing RMGO's Amicus Brief in its ruling that under Colorado Law the school's Board of Regents should not have "authority to regulate concealed handgun possession on campus".[45][46][47]

Recent activities[edit]

In early 2012, the group was critical of Republican State Representative Jim Kerr's support of a measure that would have restricted gun sales on Sundays. Kerr sought appointment to a vacant State Senate seat that year, but Businessman Tim Neville was ultimately selected instead.[37]

In February 2012, RMGO continued their efforts on behalf of the "Make My Day Better" bill by testifying and successfully advancing the bill through committee.[48] At the state level, RMGO backed five gun bills during the 2012 legislative session.[49]

In April 2012, RMGO presence was noted Colorado GOP convention, making firearms issues a prominent topic of discussion among delegates.[50] RMGO threw their weight behind Randy Baumgardner in his race for Colorado Senate District 8 by opposing incumbent Republican Senator Jean White. RMGO's literature during the event called White's gun rights record into question and heralded Baumgardner for answering their survey 100%.[51]

RMGO is an opponent of the Violence Policy Center, and calls their methods into question.[52]

In 2012, the Denver Post accused the group of failing to file required documents with the Internal Revenue Service to maintain its tax-exempt status.[53] The story ran one day before Colorado's State Primary Election.[54]

RMGO-PAC supported local legislative candidates such as Vicki Marble, Owen Hill, Lori Saine, and Steve Humphrey, this keeping with the purported theme of supporting conservative candidates that answer their survey "pro-gun" over moderate candidates that do not.[55] Each of these candidates prevailed in their Republican Primary Elections and in the General Election despite the fact that Republicans over all lost control of the State House of Representatives and failed to take control of the State Senate.[56]

In 2013, RMGO assisted on the campaign to recall a Colorado State Senator, Evie Hudak, a democrat who voted in favor of more restrictive gun laws. The recall was cancelled when Senator Hudak resigned and was replaced by another Democratic Senator, Rachel Zenzinger. Senator Zenzinger lost her re-election bid in the midterm elections of 2014 to the RMGO-PAC endorsed Republican candidate, Laura J Woods.[57] The effort of the RMGO-PAC on the 2014 midterm elections helped to change control of the Colorado State Senate from Democratic control to Republican control when three of their endorsed candidates won legislative seats.[58]

In August 2014, the public library in Windsor, Colorado had their "no-gun" policy challenged by RMGO. The challenge occurred after a local resident had been asked to leave the library after a patron noticed that the citizen had a concealed handgun on her person. The library had a "no weapons" sign posted on the door of the building and had a policy that prohibited the carrying of guns in the library. RMGO told the library that their policy was not in accordance with state law and unless they changed the policy, the library would face legal action.[59] In September 2014, the library board voted unanimously to change their policy and now allows concealed carry permit holders to carry guns in the library.[60]

In October 2014, RMGO launched a lawsuit against the Colorado Secretary of State to keep RMGO donor information private.[61]

Other programs and services[edit]

RMGO provides information for firearms training, use of force for personal defense, and other gun rights materials on their website and offer firearms training courses that satisfy such legal requirement for individuals seeking to obtain a Colorado Concealed Weapons Permit.[62]

In September 2011, RMGO provided training to women at Colorado State University in response to safety concerns initiated by a serial rapist.[63]

RMGO maintains the Colorado Gun Market, web-based forum for privately listing and selling firearms,[64] and a web-based shop dedicated to selling gun-rights merchandise.[65]

The group also operates a merchant awareness program (MAP), allowing its members to list Colorado based businesses that opt to ban firearms in their premises.[66]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "ROCKY MOUNTAIN GUN OWNERS". GuideStar USA, Inc. Retrieved Nov 27, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Rocky Mountain Gun Owners". Description. Project Votesmart. Retrieved Nov 27, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Candidate and Candidate Committee Detail". TRACER. Colorado Secretary of State. Retrieved Nov 27, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Records Search; Query ID: "19971004306"". Colorado Secretary of State. Retrieved Nov 27, 2012. 
  5. ^ Swenson, Michele (2005). Democracy Under Assault: TheoPolitics, Incivility and Violence on the Right. Sol Ventures Press. pp. 6–7. ISBN 9780976678809. 
  6. ^ Kane, Arthur (2003-01-23). "Concealed-carry bill clears Senate hurdle Panel OKs measure allowing guns in schools Article". Denver Post. Accessed Nov 27, 2012. 
  7. ^ Brown, Dudley. "RMGO's Dudley Brown testifies for Colorado Constitutional Carry Bill". Colorado Senate State Affairs Committee Testimony (3/22/2011). RMGO via Youtube. Retrieved Nov 27, 2012. 
  8. ^ a b c Hacker, Tom (Aug 22, 2010). "Loveland Reporter-Herald". Loveland Reporter-Herald. Retrieved Nov 27, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Make My Day law for business advances in Colorado". Associated Press. Feb 3, 2012. Retrieved Nov 27, 2012. 
  10. ^ Congressional Quarterly, Incorporated (2004). CQ Weekley. 62: 1791. Accessed Nov 27, 2012.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^ "Rockey Mountain Gun Owners". Website. Rockey Mountain Gun Owners. Retrieved Nov 27, 2012. 
  12. ^ a b c d e Crowder, Carla (March 26, 2000). "STATE'S TOP GUN-RIGHTS GROUPS DIVIDED BY PHILOSOPHY, TACTICS \ NRA PREFERS TRADITIONAL LOBBY". Rocky Mountain News. Accessed Nov 27, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Records Search". Colorado Secretary of State. Retrieved Nov 27, 2012. 
  14. ^ Sanko, John (Feb 7, 1995). "HIDDEN-GUN DEBATE RETURNS SENATE PANEL HEARS COMMENTS ON 3 BILLS ON CONCEALED ARMS". Rocky Mountain News. Accessed Nov 27, 2012. 
  15. ^ "UNDER THE DOME". Denver Post. May 3, 1997. Accessed Nov 27, 2012. 
  16. ^ "UNDER THE DOME". Denver Post. 1996-01-17. Accessed Nov 27, 2012. 
  17. ^ "About US". Rocky Mountain Gun Owners. Retrieved Nov 27, 2012. 
  18. ^ Trump, Kenneth (1999). Stopping School Violence: An Essential Guide. Jones & Bartlett Learning. p. 7. ISBN 9780834217164. 
  19. ^ a b Bartels, Lynn (Oct 5, 2012). "GROUP AIMS TO DEFEAT GUN MEASURE". The Rocky Mountain News. Accessed Nov 27, 2012. 
  20. ^ "Statewide Initiatives - Colorado" (PDF). Initiative & Referendum Institute. Retrieved Nov 27, 2012. 
  21. ^ Blake, Peter (June 11, 2000). "GUN-RIGHTS FOLKS TO KEEP HECKLING OWENS ON THE ROAD". The Rocky Mountain News. Nov 27, 2012. 
  22. ^ De Conde, Alexander (2003). Gun Violence in America: The Struggle for Control. UPNE. p. 285. ISBN 9781555535926. 
  23. ^ McCalley Morehouse, Sally; et al. (2003). State politics, parties, and policy. University of Virginia: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 53. ISBN 9780742511002. 
  24. ^ "DENVER ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS CORRECTIONS". The Rocky Mountain News. March 8, 2000. Accessed Nov 27, 2012. 
  25. ^ "Our Strategy". Rocky Mountain Gun Owners. Retrieved Nov 27, 2012. 
  26. ^ Merlino, Jim. "Post Aurora: Don’t expect new gun laws". POLITICO. Retrieved Nov 27, 2012. 
  27. ^ a b Maes, Dan (2011). Running Without Cowboy Boots. Xlibris Corporation. p. 143. ISBN 9781465334589. 
  28. ^ de la Garza, Rodolfo O. (2005). Muted Voices: Latinos and the 2000 Election By Rodolfo O. De La Ga. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 148. ISBN 9780742535916. 
  29. ^ Huntley, Sarah (Feb 25, 2003). "COUNTIES REQUIRE NEW GUN PERMITS". Rocky Mountain News. 
  30. ^ Lowe, Peggy (March 1, 2003). "PANEL OKS GUN BILL". The Rocky Mountain News. Accessed Nov 27, 2012. 
  31. ^ "Chlouber concealed carry advances,Preemption passes first Senate floor vote". Rocky Mountain Gun Owners. Retrieved Nov 27, 2012. 
  32. ^ Lowe, Peggy (Feb 19, 2004). "GUN MEASURE ADVANCES". Rocky Mountain News. Accessed Nov 27, 2012. 
  33. ^ "Concealed Handgun Permit Database" (PDF). Colorado Bureau of Investigation, Department of Public Safety. Retrieved Nov 27, 2012. 
  34. ^ "Stop CCIC Entry". Rocky Mountain GUn Owners. Retrieved Nov 27, 2012. 
  35. ^ "Does your sheriff enter you into a Criminal Database?". Rocky Mountain Gun Owners. Retrieved Dec 27, 2012. 
  36. ^ Gardner, Cory. "Rep. Gardner explains the 2008 "Make My Day Better" bill on Youtube". Rocky Mountain Gun Owners via YouTube. Retrieved Nov 27, 2012. 
  37. ^ a b Marcus, Peter (Feb 3, 2012). "Rival pro-gun groups’ explosive relationship triggers political hits". The Colorado Statesman. Retrieved Nov 27, 2012. 
  38. ^ "Amicus Curiae Brief of ROCKY MOUNTAIN GUN OWNERS and NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR GUN RIGHTS in support of petitioners" (PDF). US. Supreme Court Amicus Brief. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. Retrieved Nov 27, 2012. 
  39. ^ "MCDONALD ET AL. v. CITY OF CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, ET AL." (PDF). United States Supreme Court. Retrieved Nov 27, 2012. 
  40. ^ "Affiliated Groups". Rocky Mountain Gun Owners. Retrieved Nov 27, 2012. 
  41. ^ Wolf, Jeremy (Jan 26, 2010). "Coalition threatening to sue CSU because of weapons ban proposal". 9 News. Retrieved Nov 27, 2012. 
  42. ^ "Gun-rights group to protest CSU's proposed gun ban". Denver Post. Jan 27, 2010. Retrieved Nov 27, 2012. 
  43. ^ Editor (April 24, 2010). "RMGO files suit against CSU for Gun Ban, while CU’s Ban is Overturned on Appeal". Greeley Gazette. Retrieved Nov 27, 2012. 
  44. ^ "Gun-rights group to drop concealed-weapons lawsuit against CSU". Denver Post. May 7, 2010. Retrieved Nov 27, 2012. 
  45. ^ "Pro Gun Group, CU React To New Guns On Campus Ruling". CBS 4 Denver. March 6, 2012. Retrieved Nov 27, 2012. 
  46. ^ "Regents of the University of Colorado v. Students for Concealed Carry on Campus" (PDF). Colorado Supreme Court. Retrieved Nov 27, 2012. 
  47. ^ "Amicus Brief". Rocky Mountain Gun Owners. Retrieved Nov 27, 2012. 
  48. ^ "Make My Day law for business advances in Colorado". Associated Press via Fox News. Feb 3, 2012. Retrieved Nov 27, 2012. 
  49. ^ Johansson, Brandon (Feb 16, 2012). "Gun rights or wrongs?". Aurora Sentinel. Accessed Nov 27, 2012. 
  50. ^ Luning, Ernest (April 20, 2012). "Colorado GOP splits support among Romney, Santorum and Paul". The Colorado Statesman. Retrieved Nov 27, 2012. 
  51. ^ Bartels, Lynn (April 13, 2012). "Gun-rights group speaks up in Colo.". Denver Post. Retrieved Nov 27, 2012. 
  52. ^ Whaley, Monte (May 24, 2012). "More Coloradans died from gun shots than car wrecks in 2009, study says Read more: More Coloradans died from gun shots than car wrecks in 2009, study says". Denver Post. Retrieved Nov 27, 2012. 
  53. ^ Bartels, Lynn (June 25, 2012). "Colorado gun group fails to file with IRS, could be hit with tax bill Read more: Colorado gun group fails to file with IRS, could be hit with tax bill". Denver Post. Retrieved Nov 27, 2012. 
  54. ^ "2012 Election Calendar" (PDF). Colorado Secretary of State. Retrieved Nov 27, 2012. 
  55. ^ "Who Supports The Second Amendment in Colorado". RMGO-PAC via Ammoland). Retrieved Nov 27, 2012. 
  56. ^ "Colorado 2012 Election Results". Denver Post. Nov 6, 2012. Retrieved Nov 27, 2012. 
  57. ^ >Eli Stokols (October 2013). "Dudley Brown, RMGO assisting with Hudak recall effort". KDVR. Denver, Colorado. Retrieved 15 April 2015. 
  58. ^ Luc Hatlestad (November 2014). "Election Recap: Colorado Dems Feeling Mighty Blue". 5280. Denver, Colorado. Retrieved 15 April 2015. 
  59. ^ "Windsor library drops gun ban after challenge". 2014-09-27. Retrieved 2015-04-15. 
  60. ^ Garcia, Adrian (2014-09-27). "Windsor library changes weapons policy". Retrieved 2015-04-15. 
  61. ^ John Tomasic (October 2014). "Rocky Mountain Gun Owners: We’re suing secretary of state, Ethics Watch". The Colorado Independent. Denver Colorado. Retrieved 17 March 2015. 
  62. ^ "RMGO Website". Rockey Mountain Gun Owners. Retrieved Nov 27, 2012. 
  63. ^ Workman, Dave (September 2011). "Ft. Collins, CO, Women Arm Themselves Against Serial Rapist". Gun Week. Retrieved Nov 27, 2012. 
  64. ^ "ColoradoGunMarket". Rocky Mountain Gun Owners. Retrieved Nov 27, 2012. 
  65. ^ "rmgogear.com". Rocky Mountain Gun Owners. Retrieved Nov 27, 2012. 
  66. ^ "Merchant Awareness - Know Where They Stand". Rocky Mountain Gun Owners. Retrieved Nov 27, 2012. 

External links[edit]