The Price of Hubris: Two More States Move Toward Recalls
In 2013, then-mayor of New York City, Mike Bloomberg, joined forces with Vice President Joe Biden to force gun control laws onto the people of Colorado. They pressured the Democrat members of the Colorado legislature and into passing a raft of bills to be signed into law by Democrat governor John Hickenlooper, despite unprecedented public protest and outcry. No one witnessing the bills’ hearings - or the throngs of opponents who filled legislative chambers to overflowing, spilling into the hallways and onto the building steps - could honestly say that these laws represented the will of the people.
Unable to prevent the railroading, a handful of men - citizens without any political experience - took the previously unheard of route of punishing those whose arrogance allowed them to disregard their constituents. They launched first recall efforts in the history of Colorado's 137-year statehood. And they succeeded. Two sitting state senators, including the Senate President, were ousted; a third resigned just days ahead of recall petition signatures being turned in. The recalls would not undo the passage of the laws but they sent a powerful and clear message: If you ignore those you are hired to represent, you do so at the cost of your political career.
Two years later, this scene is being echoed on both coasts. In New Jersey and Oregon, Bloomberg-funded gun control is being pushed on an unwilling populace with legislators barely going through the motion of making it appear like legitimate representation. And, as in Colorado, everyday citizens opposed to the fraud are shifting from preventative to punitive strategies.
History is preparing to rhyme.
In New Jersey, February of 2014 saw the introduction of a bill illegalizing firearm magazines holding more than ten rounds. The justification, as always, was a subjective declaration that this step would somehow make communities safer. Garden State gun owners were furious, reminding their legislators that their existing fifteen-round cap was passed with that same justification – which turned out to be baseless. They were assured by their Senate President, Stephen Sweeney, that he would oppose this bill.
Days later, after a highly publicized visit by family members of children murdered at Sandy Hook, Connecticut, he changed his mind.
Not long after, a movement began to recall Senator Sweeney. Their first application for recall, filed in March of this year, was denied on April 6th due to a technicality – apparently, a single word was missing from the application – but the effort is proceeding. Senator Sweeney’s response to this effort was a mix of bravado and contempt: “Bring it on.” We certainly hope they do.
Meanwhile, in Oregon, a similar scene is currently playing out as their state legislature fast-tracks a Bloomberg-funded "mandatory background check" bill. According to reports, the April 1st hearing saw Senator Flloyd Prozanski restricting opponents’ testimony to two minutes and discouraging fellow legislators from asking many questions. A novel amendment offered by Representative Kim Thatcher, which would have required the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles to mark licenses of prohibited persons, met a cold reception and was withdrawn.
Oregonians continue to testify against this bill but many are seeing the passage as inevitable, given their legislators’ intractable attitudes. Some are organizing and shifting their focus from preventative action to punitive. It seems that Oregon not only allows for recall of elected officials, it even goes so far as to provide an all-but-turnkey manual for the process on the Secretary of State’s website - and public interest in that process is growing.
Leonardo da Vinci wrote, “Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence.” Thankfully, in the face of authoritarianism, American citizens are preparing to make some noise. We will continue to watch as these efforts move forward and hope to provide details as they progress.