A Libertarian Against Gun Rights?

The Colorado Freedom Report:  A libertarian journal of politics and culture.

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A Libertarian Against Gun Rights?

[For more material about Mark Brophy's Libertarian nomination for the Colorado legislature, along with commentary about the Liberatrian Party of Colorado, please see Mark Brophy Updates.]

[Following are four documents from the following sources: Dudley Brown of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, Norm Olsen of the Libertarian Party of Colorado, Mark Brophy, and Brophy's survey for Rocky Mountain Gun Owners. There is a discrepancy between some of Brophy's e-mail comments and his survey results. -- Ari Armstrong]

Rocky Mountain Gun Owners

April 15, 2004

Unlike the Institutional gun lobby and it's lapdogs, RMGO isn't "owned" by any political party. We try to be realists while still holding firm to our principles. And we believe it vital to the long-term defense of our rights that we continue to apply pressure to political parties to oppose gun controls, in all their forms.

Of course, we'd rather that ALL viable parties be pro-gun. That isn't realistic, though.

One of the main complaints by third party member gunnies about the Republican Party is that Republican candidates are simply too squishy. RMGO believes we have only ourselves to blame for that, as gun owners are too eager to jump onboard a campaign when a candidate says "I support the Second Amendment". The devil is truly in the details.

This season, gun rights activists of every persuasion should "raise their bar." Don't allow a party label to fool you: candidates have myriad reasons for being in a political party, and often don't tow the party line. If gun rights are important to you, you must reject the "lesser of two evils" argument and stand firm on your principles. But more on that later in the election season.

As the Libertarian party has grown in activity it should be wary of the same kind of ideological "bracket creep" that has permeated the 2 major parties: the parties begin to stand for less and less as the push is to merely elect candidates of your own party. I've seen it in the major parties, and am starting to see it in the Libertarians. Since the main goal of the Libertarian Party leadership is to have a permanent place on the ballot, their criteria for candidates gets lower and lower.

Don't get us wrong: the Libertarian Party isn't hitting the mainstream, and is unlikely to anytime soon. It has slightly more than 6,000 registered voters, in a state with more than 2.7 million registered voters -- that's about 00.2 percent of registered voters. And no, I didn't misplace the decimal point: Two tenths of one percent.

Why do I say the LP isn't likely to grow at a faster rate? I've known the "political operatives" in the LP for years, just as I've know those in the GOP. But calling them "operators" is being quite generous: I've known precisely ONE LP activist I thought understood the political process and actually worked in a wise manner to affect it. Their leadership is an amalgamation of eccentricities (the LP State Convention once concentrated numerous seminars on the freezing of a dead person's brain so as to preserve their knowledge) who concentrate on one issue (the drug war) despite the fact that this core issue to the LP is a selling point to virtually no one (no one who actually votes, that is). Whatever you think of the issue, it would be difficult to claim -- with a straight face -- that this issue appeals to any significant number of voters.

Why even talk about the LP? Remember that gun rights activists are, like registered Libertarians, a small number relative to the number of voters in Colorado, and we can't afford to lose one of them. They can, and should, pressure candidates within their own party to be pro-gun. The election season is without question the best time to lobby elected officials.

One might think that the LP doesn't need pressure to be pro-gun. I can assure you this is not the case.

Just last week, Senate District 14 (Fort Collins) Libertarian Candidate Mark Brophy (no relation to GOP State Rep. Greg Brophy, a tried-and-true hero) returned the RMGO candidate survey with answers that would make Sarah Brady proud.

According to his written survey, Mark Brophy is opposed to a full preemption law and is in favor of banning semi-automatic firearms and high capacity magazines, closing the "gun show loophole", and supports Project Gestapo (http://www.rmgo.org/Gestapo/exilestuff.html for more details on this anti-gun program).

This Libertarian candidate won't even answer the question about opposing all methods of gun control -- probably because he supports the gun controls described above.

What can you do about it?

LP activists should contact the Libertarian Party heirarchy at http://www.lpcolorado.org/contactus.htm through phone calls and e-mails. You can contact the Larimer County Libertarian Party chairman Dan Cochran at dlc137@aol.com or 970-686-9153.

Tell them to do everything in their power to drop Senate District 14 candidate Mark Brophy from their roster.

You can reach candidate Mark Brophy at (970) 229-1888. Tell him to drop out of the race, as he clearly doesn't support one of the most vital civil rights in America.

The response from the Libertarian Party officials is likely to be that "they can't control what a candidate does", but that is precisely why many of them criticize the Republican party (and why some are third party members in the first place).

We hear quite a bit of grumbling from Libertarians when RMGO talks about supporting a particular GOP candidate.

Our advice to LPers is the same as our advice to members of the Republican party: clean your own house before complaining about the dirt in another's.

Dudley Brown
Executive Director

Toll-free line 888-874-3006
Direct Office Line 970-842-3006
Mobile Phone 970-380-3006

Rocky Mountain Gun Owners
Colorado's Largest Gun Rights Organization
PO Box 3114
Denver, Colorado 80201
Phone & Fax (888) 874-3006
http://www.rmgo.org exdir@rmgo.org

Norm Olsen, Libertarian Party of Colorado

April 16, 2004

Hello All . . .

Mark Brophy is seeking the Libertarian nomination for State Senate District 14. The Libertarian Party will make its official nominations at its annual Assembly/Convention in Estes Park on the May 21 thru May 23 weekend. Until that time, there are no official Libertarian candidates.

On behalf of the party, I apologize for the confusion here. The web site lists those who are seeking nominations, but does not qualify them in this regard; it simply calls them candidates. Thus, it is understandable how one could arrive at the conclusion that Mark Brophy was an official Libertarian candidate. The web site is being changed as I write to remove this confusion.

Any Libertarian who believes that Mark would not be a good candidate will be able to express their opinion at the convention when the nomination process begins. I'm sure you will be able to discuss the issue with Mark at that time and make an intelligent and informed decision.

Neither the State Chair nor the Campaigns Director decide who is on the ballot or who is not on the ballot. Any member of the Libertarian Party may seek the party's nomination for any political office for which the election is partisan and the candidate is qualified. It is the Party in Convention that decides to whom the nomination goes, or to whom it does not go. The Libertarian Party is unique in that the convention ballot for all such nominations MUST include NOTA (None Of The Above) and if NOTA wins a majority, the party does not nominate anyone for that position on the general election ballot.

[In years past, the Convention delegated to the party's Board of Directors the ability to place members on the ballot after the close of the convention as permitted by its By-Laws and state law; and the Board of Directors often used that power to place names on the ballot. As a result of the new law regulating minor parties (HB03-1142), that procedure is not longer allowed; thus the Party in Convention is the only way a Libertarian can acquire an official Libertarian nomination.]

Contrary to what some believe, the Libertarian Party is not a single issue party. Our party platform consists of 61 planks covering a wide variety of issues from foreign policy to environmental protection. It is extremely rare that a Libertarian agrees with all 61 planks of the platform. The Libertarian Party does not have an issue litmus test for membership on any issue. That there may be one or more members of the party who are not staunch second amendment rights advocates does not surprise me, nor does it dismay me. While the overwhelming majority of Libertarians are staunch gun rights advocates, being such is definitely not a requirement to be a member of the Libertarian Party. It is an old saying in the party that every member has two or three issues on which they are not "Libertarian."

[The Libertarian Party of Colorado does require all of its candidates to indicate support for the Party's Statement of Principles. This is a broadly worded overview of general libertarian principles which does not include any specific mention of the gun control issue. So while there is a requirement for Libertarian candidates with regard to the issues, this requirement is a rather broad brush and does not require a specific stance on gun control issues. Maybe it should, but it doesn't.]

I believe it is safe to say that the overwhelming majority of the members of the Libertarian Party are staunch advocates gun rights. Perhaps Mr. Brophy is not the staunch gun rights advocate many would prefer. I don't know as I have never met Mark, nor have I ever discussed this issue with him. I suspect that most of the Libertarian Party members also do not know Mark. At Assembly/Convention, we will have the opportunity to get to know Mark, discuss his views on gun control and other issues, and then decide if the Party will nominate him to a slot on the November ballot.

Until that time it is unjust and improper to criticize the Libertarian Party as a whole for being an open party with a diverse membership; and a party in which there are no back room bosses pulling all the strings and dictating the position individual members must adopt. Again, I do apologize for the misleading information on our web site, and acknowledge that this error on our part was a large contributor to the recent controversy concerning Mark Brophy's candidacy.

Norm Olsen
State Chair
Libertarian Party of Colorado

Mark Brophy

April 18, 2004

He [Dudley Brown] misrepresents my position. I oppose banning semi-autos and high capacity magazines and any form of gun control. I don't know what a "full preemption" law is or what "Project Gestapo" is. If government needs time to check the criminal record of a gun buyer, I favor giving them a reasonable time period. I believe violent criminals have forfeited their right to bear arms.

Mark Brophy
Fort Collins

Mark Brophy's RMGO Survey

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