No-Permit Gun Carry Bill Dead after Advocate Threatens Texas House Speaker’s Family

This story starts with an online threat by someone with a gun. Because it was taken seriously by the people threatened, the consequences to the perpetrator extended beyond a single act.  It’s a companion to my case study, What To Do If A Trump Supporter Threatens You. I was going to call it, “What To Do If a Gun McNutt Threatens You.” but that would look too much like a joke. This story is no joke.

In March gun-rights activist Chris McNutt posted rants on Facebook about lack of movement on a Texas bill allowing gun owners to legally carry handguns without obtaining a state-issued license. McNutt, executive director of Texas Gun Rights, then drove to Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen’s home about 50 miles south of Houston while Bonnen was in Austin and his wife and teenage sons were home. McNutt also visited the homes of Reps. Dustin Burrows of Lubbock and Four Price of Amarillo.

Here’s how the story unfolded. The first story is from March 30th in The Facts, a Brazoria County Texas paper. Emphasis mine

After McNutt posted his North Texas visits to social media, the Bonnen family got word the Department of Public Safety felt it would be appropriate to watch the Bonnens’ Lake Jackson home, said Kim Bonnen, the speaker’s wife.

“It’s very rattling as a parent to be sitting 240 miles away and get a text that DPS thinks it’s appropriate to put troopers at your house,” she said.

The Bonnens’ 14-year-old son was the only family member home when McNutt paid a visit Wednesday, Kim Bonnen said. There was no contact between McNutt and the child, she said.

“He chose to pull a tactic of intimidation and threat toward our families,” Dennis Bonnen said.

McNutt could find the speaker and the other representatives at the Capitol to give them whatever information he wanted to share, Dennis Bonnen said. The choice to visit homes where only wives and children are home shows instability and lack of character, Bonnen said.

“To create the impression that he’s willing to threaten my family is unacceptable,” Bonnen said.

Bonnen, a Republican who was elected Texas House speaker in January, said Friday that the activist’s “gutless intimidation tactics” exposed no-license carry as a bad idea, dooming the legislation.

After The Facts reported that Department of Public Safety troopers stopped Chris McNutt, executive director of Texas Gun Rights, in Bonnen’s neighborhood on March 27 Speaker Bonnen issued a written statement condemning the actions and declaring “Their issue is dead.”  Advocate’s actions kill bill allowing no-permit gun carry The Statesman Bonnen’s statement came

Representative Bonnen experienced the fear, terror and underlying threat of violence from gun-rights activists that are regularly used against their critics.  The fear of violence is often dismissed by pro-gun activists and their supporters. They mock people who are concerned about armed men who show up at houses of gun-control activists and protests. “It’s legal!” They will say. Gun-rights activists state proudly they go everywhere armed, then pretend that the implied threat of violence is an overreaction.

We can’t see what rants McNutt or his group posted on the Facebook pages of legislators, or what emails were sent to them directly. We don’t know what the Bonnen office staff heard in phone calls from Texas Gun Rights members. However, we do know that there was enough evidence for the DSP to have officers stationed at Bonnen’s house.  We also know what the Texas Gun Rights group has posted publicly.  I’ve included some images from their Facebook page.

Images from Texas Gun Rights Facebook page.

The call to go armed everywhere everyday from Texas Gun Rights Facebook page.

Legislators could understand intellectually that making guns legally available almost everywhere would have an impact on political speech, but it wasn’t until a pro-gun legislator saw how this tactic of intimidation and threat toward his family, did he finally get it.  Even the author of the legislation, Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, condemned the action and said Friday he was canceling his request for a committee hearing on House Bill 357.

From The Statesman:

The author of the legislation, Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, said Friday he was canceling his request for a committee hearing on House Bill 357.

“The issue is of great importance to me, but I refuse to act like it is still a possibility and continue to provide false hope to my constituents,” Stickland said in a written statement.

In a video posted Friday on Facebook, Stickland said he was “saddened by the acts of a few individuals that have stolen the conversation about legislation that I deeply care about.”

There is never a time or place to physically threaten an elected official with violence,” he said. “It’s never OK to target their homes or personal businesses when you know they are not in town.”

Here is Strickland’s response video

The message that this behavior was unacceptable made it to Fox News, reaching an audience that might have ignored a statement condemning this if it came from a Democrat.

Bonnen, a Republican, was in the state capital of Austin but his wife teenage sons were inside the home. He said McNutt’s actions were a demonstration of “insanity” and called him an “overzealous advocate for criminals to get a gun.”

“If you want to talk about issues and you want to advocate, you do it in this building. You don’t do it at our residences,” Bonnen said. “Threats and intimidation will never advance your issue. Their issue is dead.”

The language used by the Speaker was hard-hitting and specific. From The Dallas Morning News

“I could no longer watch as legislators and their families are incessantly harassed by fanatical gun-rights activists who think laws preventing criminals from carrying a gun should be repealed,” Bonnen said in a written statement.

“Their goal is to eradicate sensible gun policies by allowing anyone to carry a gun without a license and proper training — making it impossible for law enforcement to distinguish between law-abiding gun owners and criminals,” he said. “The fear and terror used to push this agenda has made it clear this is bad public policy.

If Fox News viewers now see how the pro-gun activists intimidated pro-gun legislators, what kind of harassment and threats have legislators who are not pro-gun experienced? I went to the Texas Gun Rights Facebook page and pulled some images  Before being accused of cherry picking and sensationalism for this order, this was how they were in on Facebook on April 11th–a gun pointing at Rep Kyle Kacal’s head.  I have complete screen shots if they are taken down.

State Rep. Kyle Kacal (D) opposes a no-permit gun carry bill, HB 357, which pro-gun extremists call “constitutional carry”

I’m not an advisor to groups in Texas who want to get laws that protect people from unstable people with guns, but if I was I would think that Bonnen’s experience could be referenced during discussions of Red Flag Laws like HB 131 and SB 157. Texans could contact their legislators, like Bonnen, Burrows and Price with a message like this:

Remember how you felt when McNutt threatened your family? Not everyone can have police protection at their home, but you could make it possible to remove the guns from people who make threats to you or your family. HB 131 gives others who are threatened a tool for swift protection of themselves or their family. Extreme Risk Protective Orders and Red Flag laws save lives. Vote yes on HB 131.

Showing legislators how lax gun laws have personally put themselves and their families in danger, and then giving them a bill to pass to protect their families and constituents, is a good method to get change.

It’s Not About Dropping Off Flyers At Legislators’ Homes. It’s About The Guns

McNutt response to these stories was to call it a “media hit piece.”  I watched his response video. I listened to him on the Todd and Don Show. Where he stated that “Texas Gun Rights does not support any threats of violence, never has, never will.”  Great, nice to hear. But what McNutt failed to do was address his actions in the context of what he and his group say on their site and Facebook page.

McNutt posted images of himself going to legislator’s homes. This time pro-gun legislators stopped ignoring the implied threat of people who may be armed with more than flyers.

What the legislators who voted to enable more people to carry guns in more places don’t want to say is,

“We know the implied threat. You might be carrying a gun. We voted to make it legal for you do to that, but we didn’t expect you to threaten our families!”

McNutt broke the unspoken agreement with pro-gun legislators. He also broke a man code, because he went to homes when the legislators were gone and only women and children would be there.  The pro-gun legislators can’t say,  “People should never carry guns at protests and when canvassing,” since that would go against what they voted for. So instead they focus on how it wouldn’t be a fair fight, since the armed man of the house isn’t there to scare away the other armed man, shoot first if they feel threatened or shoot back after the other armed man missed.

So what is the answer to the fear of legally armed people coming to your door trying to convince you of their ideas? Increase restrictions on who can carry guns and where.

But for the pro-gun legislators to do that would be to admit the frightening world they have created. Their answer is armed guards for the people in the home, armed spouses and children. That are other answers than OFFENSIVE weapons to deal with a treats. Especially considering of the additional danger of guns in the home.

From Texas Gun Rights page, images that show their views that guns are used to scare “bad people” and that guns should be carried instead of kept in a safe.

McNutt actions blew open the charade. He did the gun control movement a huge favor. By giving pro-gun legislators an opportunity to push back on the extremist gun owners, they can walk away from extremist behavior. Was it planned? Perhaps, from The Texas Tribune “It was a setup”: House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, gun rights activist come face-to-face at Texas GOP fundraiser Maybe.

Will the legislators who killed the bill be punished for it from their base? Hard to say.  I read a lot of comments where pro-gun people said it was a stupid move and blame McNutt for killing “constitutional carry for years.”  So they might maintain their base, who also dislike extremists.

This McNutt event can also be used to remind pro-gun legislators of what to do the next time and armed pro-gun extremists show up protests. Like this guy at a Beto rally.

In the past when armed protesters showed up at a Bonnen or Strickland rally, they might have been comfortable thinking, “They are on my side. I have nothing to fear.”

But things are different now. This is the time to change that law. Guns have no place at any rallies. The pro-gun legislators could start with banning them at theirs. “McNutt ruined this for you.”

They could then extend it to other situations. Like large events. Remember July 7, 2016 in Dallas?  Mark Hughes carried his AR-15 rifle during the protest. When shooting started, it was confusion and chaos. From The Dallas Morning News

Senior Sgt. Chris Dyer, president of the Dallas County Sheriff’s Association, said large cities like Dallas should pass ordinances that would ban the open carry of firearms during large events like protest marches.

“Normally in a protest, you’re going to have two opposing sides at least,” he said, noting that tensions can result in violence.

Bringing guns into that situation, Dyer said, is “very distracting” for officers.

“Even open carry proponents will see the common sense in restricting open carry in environments like a protest,” he said.

Now that pro-gun legislators were threatened they know how others feel. They can choose a different action going forward. While it might look like they are going against their base, they are really pushing back against a small extremist group whose actions are condemned by the majority of gun owners.

People often give up hope on Texas having sensible gun laws, but I don’t. This recent response shows that there are rational legislators who aren’t led by fanatical gun-rights activists.


Florida House to Vote on Giving More Teachers Guns, Just Days After Armed Teacher Injured Child

On Thursday, March 21, the Florida House Education Committee passed out of committee a broad school safety bill (HB 7093) that would expand an existing guardian program to allow classroom teachers at private and charter schools to volunteer to carry weapons on campus if local school boards approve. (link)

On Friday, March 22,  Henry Rex Weaver, 74 a substitute teacher at Blountsville Elementary School discharged his gun inside his pocket. A child was injured, treated at the scene of the crime, and released. (link)

Henry Rex Weaver, Teacher at Blountsville Elementary School in Blountsville, Alabama. Mug shot from Blount County Sheriff’s Office/Facebook page and WBRC video

On April 3, the bill, HB 7093 on School Safety, goes to the full house. A key part of the bill allows charter schools and private schools to have the Guardian program. If that passes, more teachers will be legally allowed to carry guns in classrooms.  If people  want to stop that, ALL members of the House need to see this story and other examples of failures of armed teachers.  (See more examples below.)

Sadly, the Guardian program is already law, 49 school districts said NO to it, but 25 said . . . → Read More: Florida House to Vote on Giving More Teachers Guns, Just Days After Armed Teacher Injured Child

What to do if a Trump supporter threatens you

Trump has a long history of making threats. He also directs others, like Michael Cohen, to make threats to specific people.  Trump supporters also hear that Trump expects them to “be tough” when Trump is attacked.

This week Trump explained to a Brietbart editor that when his people in the military and police reach a certain point he expects things will be “very bad, very bad” for his enemies. Trump Again Threatens Violence If Democrats Don’t Support Him

Image by WayneBreivogel

It is clear to me that we cannot stop Trump from inciting and suggesting violence, rather than trying to stop a jackass from braying, I want to focus on what you can do if a Trump supporter threatens you. Below is a case study of someone who was threatened online and the steps she took to deal with it.  Here are the first three steps:

1) Don’t ignore them 2) Demand an investigation of the threats made and the person making them–establish the facts      There should be due process for the people accused of making the threats 3) If the facts support the case, there should be appropriate consequences for the people who made the threats     . . . → Read More: What to do if a Trump supporter threatens you

Let’s Use Trump’s Threats To Topple Him

Trump makes threats. Sometimes he personally makes them, other times he has people do it for him.

Rep. Speier: How many times did Mr. Trump ask you to threaten an individual or entity on his behalf?

Michael Cohen: Quite a few times.

Rep. Jackie Speier: 50 times? Cohen: More

Rep. Jackie Speier: 100 times? Cohen: More

Rep. Jackie Speier: 200 times? Cohen: More

Rep. Jackie Speier: 500 times?

Michael Cohen: Probably, over the 10 years.

Cohen says he made “threats of litigation” which makes them sound nice and polite. But listen to this call Cohen made to a reporter. (Link) It’s more than a legal threat. That’s a threat of violence.

For Trump, legal threats aren’t enough. He wants the people on the other end to be afraid for their life. Trump’s use of threats of violence can provide another route to impeachment, in addition to all his campaign finance crimes and other law breaking. Remember this threat to Stormy Daniels and her daughter?

“A guy walked up on me and said to me: ‘Leave Trump alone. Forget the story,’” Clifford said. “Then he leaned around and looked at my daughter and said, ‘That’s a beautiful little girl — it’d be a . . . → Read More: Let’s Use Trump’s Threats To Topple Him

Stop letting lobbyists, pundits and media decide who is electable in 2020

On the January 2nd episode of The Majority Report, Sam Seder talked about the folly of deciding on ‘electability” now.

“Making the electability argument is the most detrimental force to getting a better candidate from the perspective of the left. Because “electability” is exactly what you will hear to discount anyone coming from the left.”

It’s a great point. He goes on to explain that the center right wants to define electability. He points out that there are people and industries that want to set what is electable for the left, especially in certain issues, like health care.

Then they illustrated this with clips of two democrats who were auditioning for lobbyist positions for drug companies and health insurance companies following the 2020 elections.

The drug companies and health insurance firms will want to influence whomever is running for president on the left. Since nobody knows exactly who it will be, they will cover all their bets. They hire former politicians as lobbyists on the left, betting that in 2020 a Democrat president will be in power.

The drug and insurance companies want to determine what is “electable” FOR THEM. They want to set what is a “reasonable” position on any health . . . → Read More: Stop letting lobbyists, pundits and media decide who is electable in 2020

How to stop friends fighting over the 2020 President picks

Watching the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination race start on MSNBC makes me weary. Friends tell me they dread it.

One said, “Spocko, my brain will explode if we go through another campaign season like 2016!”

As someone who has had his brain removed I am strongly against brains exploding, especially ones on our side. So, how can you stop friends fighting and brains exploding?

Here is what I’m going to do:  Every time I see an online debate about Warren, Beto, Biden, Harris, Sanders or any possible Democratic presidential nominee I will stop and ask myself.

“What can I do stop the criminality of Republicans? What can I do to expose the anti-democratic institutions and organization they run? How can I de-fund and defeat the people and groups that made Trump, McConnell and Ryan possible?”

Then I will act, based on how I answer those questions.

“But Spocko,” Mr. Lefty McLefterson says, “Some of the people on my side are WRONG!  Isn’t it my duty to educate them? If they aren’t castigated NOW for who they supported in the past, how can they learn from their mistakes?  If I don’t explain why their candidate isn’t the best, we will get Trump . . . → Read More: How to stop friends fighting over the 2020 President picks

Watch The Sexy Spy, But Follow The Rubles To NRA’s GOP Campaigns

“Follow the rubles,” said the modern-day Deep Throat.  But following money is boring!  Who cares if you find the connections between Russia, the NRA and the 2016 elections of Republican politicians and campaign finance law violations?

Luckily we have Maria Butina*. Everyone wants to know about her and her leader’s plan to influence the US elections.

In the same way the Stormy Daniels’ case gave the media an eye-catching hook to look into the corrupt dealings of Michael Cohen and Donald Trump, so too will the Maria Butina case give the media a way to look deeper into the Russian connection to the NRA and the influence they have had on the Trump campaign as well as MULTIPLE REPUBLICANS.

Because the mainstream media needs to look serious, they won’t just cover this “unregistered foreign agent” they will also report on the multiple campaign finance violations committed by the NRA over the years. The sexy spy will lead the coverage, which is fine with me, as long as the NRA involvement is fully exposed. Currently the NRA is dodging the media or saying this connection is no big deal.. The investigations from the FBI and FEC should prove . . . → Read More: Watch The Sexy Spy, But Follow The Rubles To NRA’s GOP Campaigns

Nation’s Right-Wing Uncle: “I won the Thanksgiving conversations!”

“My sister begged me not to talk about politics at Thanksgiving,” said Uncle Dick Vespa, speaking from a recliner in his sister’s house in a Lincoln Nebraska suburb.

“She pleaded with me, ‘Talk about happy memories when we were kids.’ So I did. The happiest days of MY childhood were teasing her until she cried!”

While Uncle Dick sat in the living room waiting for his younger sister and niece to clean up, he explained why he had no choice but to attack, correct and educate his relatives during the annual holiday event.

“Look, it’s not my fault. From the second I arrived everyone attacked me! I came into the kitchen and my sister was ranting about how important government regulations were, blah blah blah. I didn’t catch it all because she started going off about the food I bought: a very expensive 17 pound honey-baked ham. I know I said I was going to bring a salad, since they’ve been vegan for years, but the stores removed all the romaine lettuce because of the caravan invasion. I couldn’t make my famous Caesar salad so I got a ham instead–which, by the way, was much more expensive. I figured . . . → Read More: Nation’s Right-Wing Uncle: “I won the Thanksgiving conversations!”

Win or Lose: We Must Demand Investigations

Democrats are expected to be good winners. After a Democratic win, the media will ask the Democrats just how bipartisan they will be going forward. Most Democrats fall for this. They will reach out to their opponent and talk about a “hard-fought race.” Even if their opponent lied about their past votes on health care and supported hateful and violent rhetoric from Trump. The Democrats will talk about being a representative for all the people in the district, not just the people who voted for them.

They will want to be a uniter, not a divider. I understand. They don’t want to be like Red Hats at a Trump rally mindlessly screaming ‘Lock him up!’ about their opponents. But what if their opponents actually committed crimes?   

Red and Blue Good Sports, AP photo CBS News

Democrats are expected to be good losers. They aren’t supposed to demand investigations of voter suppression, hacking and campaign election fraud. There will be pressured to conceded rather than fight the results.  The media, and the Republicans, will want concessions even when there isn’t an  overwhelmingly clear winner.  Brooks Brothers Riots will abound.

Howie Klein said the other day that many Democrats have to . . . → Read More: Win or Lose: We Must Demand Investigations

Thanksgiving 2018 Prediction: Conservative Relatives Will Ask For Forgiveness From Liberals

November 11, 2018 –  Following the huge loses in this year’s midterms by conservative Republicans, Thanksgiving dinners in homes across the country will be different. Based on new quantum predictive research, conservative relatives will be asking for forgiveness from liberal relatives.  In addition to apologizing for their misguided anger at democratic politicians, they will be asking questions to better understand their progressive relatives.

Conservative Uncle Jeff will be apologizing to his niece Joan for his previous attacks on liberals and Democratic politicians at Thanksgiving 2018

This radical change in behavior is based on new quantum predictive research from the Center for Family Political Response at the University of Southern North Dakota at Hoople,

“The change will be stunning. The time of “doubling down” on hate, racism, sexism and bigotry by conservatives is over.” said Dr. Art Foneman, associate professor in clinical political science.

The surprising thing is that the change in attitude and language will be coming from conservative media!  Scientific research has shown that conservative media is the most powerful driver of attitudes and behaviors on the right. In the past when conservatives lost elections conservative media revved up the division and ran stories attacking the Democratic politician winners. . . . → Read More: Thanksgiving 2018 Prediction: Conservative Relatives Will Ask For Forgiveness From Liberals