GUEST POST: Cory Gardner, quit being the NRA’s bitch

On June 12, a man walked into the Pulse bar in Orlando, Florida and opened fire on patrons who were there just to enjoy life. Some were members of the LGBTQ community and some were not. Yet what they all had in common was an expectation that they would wake up late Sunday morning  and get on with their lives. .

We know how this story ended, just as we know how it ended in San Bernardino, and in Sandy Hook, and in a theater in Aurora and at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs.

Colorado is all too familiar with mass shootings. The mere mention of the word Columbine — our state flower — triggers horrific memories of two boys gunning down classmates who, twenty four hours earlier, had eaten in the cafeteria where bodies lay, contorted, beside overturned lunch tables and chairs.

All of the nation mourned with us after Columbine, and then again after Aurora, and then again after Colorado Springs. And all of Colorado grieved with the parents of Noah & Dylan and the families of the 20 other first graders from Connecticut.

This ritual of mass gun slaughter is carried out more times than any of us care to remember.  And yet, we continue do nothing to stem the tide of guns in the U.S.

Three years ago, two Colorado lawmakers were ousted from the legislature for having the temerity to challenge the NRA and Colorado gun owners. It was as if the wrath of Cain fell upon them.

Two days ago, Sen. Cory Gardner voted no on a bill that would have removed guns from the hands of folks on the terrorist watch list.  That’s right: He actually opposed a bill that would have blocked suspected terrorists from buying a Glock 9 mm, an AR-15 or the Sig Sauer semiautomatic used in the Orlando massacre.

Why?

What would lead a senator from a state so pocked by the bullets of mass shooters to refuse to support closing loopholes on gun checks and gun sales to suspected terrorists?

Gardner has received, directly or indirectly, more than $3.9 million from the NRA over the course of his career. He is one of the leading Republican beneficiaries of the mega gun lobby.  He is owned — lock, stock and barrel — by the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre.

In an era  of multi-million dollar campaign contributions, Gardner’s history of voting against bills that would have put a few more teeth in gun regulation isn’t surprising.

Gardner and the gun lobby in Colorado believe the Second Amendment functions as no other amendment within the Bill of Rights.  They hold the mistaken belief that any regulation is tantamount to obliteration of the right.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Unless Gardner was asleep in his constitutional law class, he knows this full well.

No right is absolute.  Not one.

The right to free speech has its limits as to time, place and manner — thus the famous admonition, “You cannot yell fire in a crowded theater.” What’s more, we have libel and defamation laws that curb unfettered expression.

Even freedom of religion can hit a wall, even if that wall is cracking in state legislatures like Mississippi and North Carolina, two states that passed anti-LGBTQ legislation following the 2015 U S Supreme Court same-sex marriage decision.  

There are plenty of state and federal court cases that hold parents both criminally and civilly liable for death or injury of children because parents substituted medical attention with prayer.   

So why do Corey Gardner, his deep-pocketed benefactors at the NRA and their acolytes think the Second Amendment trumps the most fundamental of rights-life and bodily integrity?  

Because there’s a payoff for each part of this triangle of death. Gardner gets the money, the NRA gets the power and the acolytes get the guns, whether for shooting skeet or shooting to kill.

It’s true what they say: Political whoring has its price. That adage has particular currency for  Colorado’s junior senator.

As long as Cory Gardner continues to serve as the NRA’s bitch, all of us — whether in night clubs, movie theaters, medical clinics or school cafeterias — will continue to be victims of the NRA gun lobby and the politicians who support and empower them.

Photo via Flickr Creative Commons

Kris McDaniel-Miccio is a law professor at the Sturm College of Law, an ordained Rabbi, and attorney. Kris practiced law in NYS as NYC prosecutor and the founding director of the now largest NGO, in the U.S. and globally, that focuses on representation of battered women, impact litigation on gender equality and statutory reform. She is also an internationally recognised scholar (Fulbright, Marie Curie), feminist activist (Irish Law Society Lifetime Achievement Award), author and a devoted Yankee fan and devotee of all things Italian.

12 COMMENTS

  1. As long as We remove Gardner from office in four years…He is as corrupt as any republican can get without going to prison…

  2. Mr. Gardner is, like his republican colleagues, out of touch with the population he represents. Thanks to Ms. Miccio for articulating the depth of his corruption and the community he actually serves: himself and the NRA.

  3. I think the biggest terrorist organization in the US is the NRA. I own guns but I fail to see the reason any person needs a semi-automatic weapon.

    In the words of General Stanley McChrystal
    “Those of us who served in the military were trained in the effective and safe use of firearms. We were taught about the responsibility that comes with carrying a gun. As combat infantrymen and special operators, we received thousands of hours of firearms training.”

    Owning a weapon doubles your chances of being in a homicide. Gun ownership carries responsibilities.

    In Colorado, I have to have to have a hunters safety card to hunt a rabbit but no such proof to buy a semi-automatic assault weapon.

    At the very least people should have to have a few hours of firearm safety to purchase firearms or ammunition.
    I was at Pueblo Reservoir last week and some idiot must have shot over 300-400 rounds into the water while kayakers are about and people like me were hiking. The kayakers must have been terrified.

    Ya, Cory Gardner needs to go for accepting money from terrorist organizations.

  4. The Islamic State congratulates infidel Sen. Cory Gardner for his continued and longstanding support for our right to purchase multiple military-style weapons to continue our campaign to slaughter more Americans. When the next massacre of infidel crusaders happens, we will all give a shout out to NRA puppet Cory Gardner for enabling us in our goal to kill as many Americans as possible.
    Death to America, but long live Cory Gardner, our supporter in Congress!

  5. A very angry Mrs. McDaniel-Miccio takes Senator Cory Gardner to task for opposing a “bill that would have blocked suspected terrorists from buying a Glock 9 mm, an AR-15 or the Sig Sauer semiautomatic used in the Orlando massacre”.

    Her theory on Senator Gardner’s vote is he “has received, directly or indirectly, more than $3.9 million from the NRA over the course of his career. He is one of the leading Republican beneficiaries of the mega gun lobby. He is owned — lock, stock and barrel — by the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre.”

    So what then would explain the American Civil Liberties Union opposition to the very same legislation? That’s right, the ACLU opposes the very same bill Senator Gardner voted against. What’s puzzling is why Mrs. McDaniel-Miccio, a law professor at the Sturm College of Law, doesn’t mention this.

    From the New York Times:

    “The recent proposals to stop people on the watch lists from being able to buy guns have faced resistance from an unlikely group of opponents, including the National Rifle Association and the American Civil Liberties Union.

    “We’re as appalled as anyone else about the attack in Orlando,” said Hina Shamsi, the director of the A.C.L.U.’s National Security Project. “But it’s our position that there is no bar on Congress in the reasonable regulation of guns. They could do something without an overly broad, unreliable watch list solution.”

    The A.C.L.U., representing Muslim-Americans and others who said they had wrongly been put on the no-fly list, won a ruling in federal court in Oregon two years ago that found the list was unconstitutional because of the high risk of errors and the difficulty of being taken off it. That lawsuit is continuing.

    There certainly has been some improvement in the process since these watch lists were first put into place, but we still don’t think the safeguards are adequate,” Ms. Shamsi said”

    And there’s another problem with the legislation that, again, a law professor at the Sturm College of Law should certainly be aware of. This from the New York Times:

    “The A.C.L.U., representing Muslim-Americans and others who said they had wrongly been put on the no-fly list, won a ruling in federal court in Oregon two years ago that found the list was unconstitutional because of the high risk of errors and the difficulty of being taken off it. That lawsuit is continuing.

    By itself, the placement on a watch list would not be grounds to stop a firearms purchase. But F.B.I. investigators could then search the buyer’s file to look for other legal prohibitions — like a criminal conviction, drug use or mental health issue — that could allow them to stop the sale.”

    Of course, reporting the involvement of the ACLU would poke some rather gigantic holes in Mrs. McDaniel-Miccio’s theory of what’s behind Senator Gardner’s vote: “Gardner gets the money, the NRA gets the power and the acolytes get the guns, whether for shooting skeet or shooting to kill.”

    So what’s in it for the ACLU or is it also the NRA’s bitch? Is the ACLU also “owned — lock, stock and barrel — by the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre”?

    There’s also the question of whether this legislation would have prevented the tragedy in Orlando since Omar Mateen was not on the watch list when he purchased the guns according to this excerpt from wired.com:

    “The feds removed (Omar) Mateen from the list in March 2014, after concluding that he had no significant links to terrorism beyond attending the same mosque as an American suicide bomber who died in Syria.“We don’t keep people under investigation indefinitely,” Comey said, adding that he doesn’t see anything that his agents should have done differently.”

    In addition, Mrs. McDaniel-Miccio made no mention of Omar Mateen’s 911 call pledging allegiance to ISIS just prior to committing the deadliest mass shooting in the history of the United States that took the lives of 49 and wounded 53 others. Had Mateen pledged allegiance to or been a member of the NRA would Mrs. McDaniel-Miccio have failed to mention that?

    I don’t think so, either.

    And then there’s this from Mrs. McDaniel-Miccio: “In an era of multi-million dollar campaign contributions, Gardner’s history of voting against bills that would have put a few more teeth in gun regulation isn’t surprising.”

    So why is she so surprised this time?

  6. Response to Don Lopez;

    First, please call me Kris, Dr., Rabbi, Professor but not Mrs. Now that we cleared this up lets get to the real problems with Lopez’s post.

    1. The Republican concern with due process seems to be a recent on set of constitutionalism. When these lists were crafted the Republicans uttered nary a peep. So the logical conclusion is their sudden concern is merely pretext. What concerns them the most are the NRA’s deep pockets and the fact that their little hands are in those pockets;

    2. The ACLU’s concern is noted and because of its history it is a credible claim. I doubt sincerely whether Gardner can align himself either morally or politically with the ACLU and I think Lopez knows this but is just being precious.

    3. Concerns about due process can be corrected regardless of whether gun regulation is connected to the lists. I doubt NRA Republicans would support a process to protect the rights of alleged terrorists; indeed they find it difficult to protect the 14th A rights of anyone who disagrees with them especially dusagreement is framed by Muslims, so please don’t kid a kidder;

    4. The Orlando murderer pledged allegiance to ISIS as well as Hezbollah- two groups that are deadly enemies. What this demonstrated was the murderer’s confusion not commitment to jihad. What he did believe and believe deeply was the homophobic bile, aka hate, spewed by such folks as Pat Robertson, Mike Huckabee, Franklin Graham, Tex Cruz and Papa Cruz, Stephen Anderson, Rand Paul, Ben Carson, etc, etc etc. The Orlando murderer didn’t need to import hatred from ISIS; he relied upon our home grown hatred toward the LGBTQ community. Lopez seems to conveniently ignore, dismiss or skip over the obvious. By relying on the ISIS meme, one collaborates with a culture that fails to accept and treat with dignity LGBTQ folks.

    5. Finally, you got one thing correct. You bet I’m angry. I am angry at politicians like Gardner who care more about the NRA then constituents. I am angry about a political party that has been obstructionists holding the American people hostage. And I am deeply troubled by how folks continue to vote against their self interest and put into power men & women who care more about power than empowering. But Don it’s not about me, it’s about the Jr. Senator from Colorado, who consistently shames the office he holds and betrays the trust given by the electorate.

    Thank you for your comment.

  7. THANK YOU CORY for standing up and supporting CONSTITUTIONAL rights!

    Short history lessons:
    1) Hitler banned Jewish from owning guns in the late 1930’s. Jews would have been on a no fly zone if such a thing had existed back then.

    2) At what point does the federal government decide a person is a “suspected terrorist”?

    According to DHS: The US Government: Evangelicals, Catholics & Ultra-Orthodox Jews Are Serious Threats to National Security:
    Not only was Evangelical Christianity dangerous as a terrorist organization, but it was at the top of the list of threats.
    Here is the list from DHS:
    Evangelical Christianity
    Muslim Brotherhood
    Ultra-Orthodox Jews
    Christian Identity
    Al Qaeda
    Hamas
    Abu Sayyam
    Ku Klux Klan
    Sri Ram Sene
    Catholicism
    Kamane Movement / Kach
    Army of God
    Sunni Muslims
    Nation of Islam
    Jewish Defense League
    Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
    Hutaree
    “Islamophobia” was also listed as a form of religious extremism.”

    If you read the 1938 Nazi gun laws closely and compare them to earlier 1928 Weimar gun legislation – as a straightforward exercise of statutory interpretation – several conclusions become clear.
    The Nazi gun laws of 1938 specifically banned Jewish persons from obtaining a license to manufacture firearms or ammunition. Approximately eight months after enacting the 1938 Nazi gun laws, Hitler imposed regulations prohibiting Jewish persons from possessing any dangerous weapons, including firearms.
    And, unable to resist, millions died.

  8. Kris practiced law in NYS as NYC prosecutor and the founding director of the now largest NGO.

    Notice that Kris is from liberal NYC.

  9. Thank you Cory!

    One other thing to note: Criminals and suspected terrorists can obtain guns illegally.
    You cannot stop a person from obtaining a gun if they are that determined to get one.

  10. In the movie Minority Report, Hollywood depicts a future Washington, D.C., in which people are arrested by a special police force called Precrime, based on predictions that they will commit murders in the future. These predictions are not based on science, but on near-infallible psychics. Precrime asks for deference from judges, and gets it.

    The film’s preventive policing model achieves a form of perfect safety, which is appealing: The number of murders goes down to zero, terrible tragedies are averted, and the federal government considers implementing Precrime nationwide. Until things go horribly wrong. There are major issues with a crime prevention system that presumes future guilt without the ability to prove innocence.

    The U.S. government’s reliance on “predictive judgments” to deprive Americans of their constitutionally protected liberties is no fiction. It’s now central to the government’s defense of its no-fly list—a secretive watch list that bans people from flying to or from the United States or over American airspace—in a challengebrought by the American Civil Liberties Union.

    Court filings show that the government is trying to predict whether people who have never been charged, let alone convicted, of any violent crime might nevertheless commit a violent terrorist act. Because the government predicts that our clients—all innocent U.S. citizens—might engage in violence at some unknown point in the future, it has grounded them indefinitely.

    They are far from alone. Based on a leaked government document published by The Intercept last August, there were approximately 47,000 people on the no-fly list, of whom about 800 were U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents. In all likelihood, the numbers are higher now.

    The government is trying to predict whether people who have never been charged with a violent crime will commit a terrorist act.

    Worse, the U.S. government launched its predictive judgment model without offering any evidence whatsoever about its accuracy, any scientific basis or methodology that might justify it, or the extent to which it results in errors. In our case, we turned to two independent experts to evaluate the government’s predictive method: Marc Sageman, a former longtime intelligence community professional and forensic psychiatrist with expertise in terrorism research, and James Austin, an expert in risk assessment in the criminal justice system. Neither found any indication that the government’s predictive model even tries to use basic scientific methods to make and test its predictions. As Sageman says, despite years of research, no one inside or outside the government has devised a model that can predict with any reliability if a person will commit an act of terrorism.

    The U.S. government’s reliance on “predictive judgments” to deprive Americans of their constitutionally protected liberties is no fiction. It’s now central to the government’s defense of its no-fly list.

    When predictions of dangerousness are made and upheld in our courts, the government generally has to show that the particular individual has been charged with or convicted of a relevant prior crime. Even in that context, there are major concerns about the reliability and fairness of future threat assessments and their potential for arbitrary and discriminatory use. The same concerns exist in our case; our clients are all American Muslims.

    Applying basic scientific principles, our two experts found that the no-fly list’s rate of error is extremely high, meaning that the government is blacklisting people who will never commit an act of terrorism.

    Because the government’s predictive model results in the blacklisting of people who are not terrorists, individuals on the no-fly list need a meaningful method of redress—a fair way to demonstrate their “innocence” of crimes they will never commit.

    The government refuses to provide these safeguards in its current so-called redresssystem, which violates the due process guarantees of the Constitution. It refuses to tell clients all the reasons the government has for predicting future misconduct, leaving them to guess. It won’t provide the evidence underlying those reasons, including government evidence that would undermine its predictions. And it refuses to provide a hearing for clients to press their case to a neutral decision-maker and challenge government witnesses’ hearsay or biases.

  11. Kris,

    Sorry about the“Mrs.”. You can call me Mr. Lopez.

    1. Your “logical conclusion” about “The Republican concern with due process” is just that: YOUR logical conclusion and not THE logical conclusion. Unless, of course, as a law professor at the Sturm College of Law, an ordained Rabbi, and attorney all things logical fall under your purview.

    2, Your total omission of the ACLU’s involvement was intentional, disingenuous and badly undercuts your assertions that Senator Gardner “is owned — lock, stock and barrel — by the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre.” and “Gardner gets the money, the NRA gets the power and the acolytes get the guns, whether for shooting skeet or shooting to kill.” And referring to Senator Gardner as the NRA’s “bitch” is classless, crude, boorish and not worthy of a doctor, rabbi, lawyer or professor. Come on Kris, stay classy!

    3. “Concerns about due process can be corrected regardless of whether gun regulation is connected to the lists.” Then that would seem to be the logical first step, wouldn’t it?

    4. Here’s where you go completely off the rails.

    “What (Omar Mateen) did believe and believe deeply was the homophobic bile, aka hate, spewed by such folks as Pat Robertson, Mike Huckabee, Franklin Graham, Tex Cruz and Papa Cruz, Stephen Anderson, Rand Paul, Ben Carson, etc, etc etc. The Orlando murderer didn’t need to import hatred from ISIS; he relied upon our home grown hatred toward the LGBTQ community. ”

    How in the wide wide world of sports do you know that??????

    That is the most unhinged statement of fact I have ever seen on the Colorado Independent website. It takes the term “twisted” to a whole new level. It is intolerant, illogical, ignorant and, considering your extensive experience as a professor, lawyer and rabbi, deeply, deeply disturbing.

    But it does serve to highlight your agenda and explain why you are so reluctant to accept Mateen’s ties to ISIS despite overwhelming journalistic evidence. You had obviously determined who the villain was going to be and worked backwards from there.

    And by refusing to acknowledge Mateen’s ties to ISIS you can conveniently ignore how Islam views homosexuality and how ISIS treats those suspected of being homosexuals.

    This from Wikipedia:

    “Extreme prejudice remains, both socially and legally, in much of the Islamic world against people who engage in homosexual acts. In Afghanistan, Brunei, Iran, Mauritania, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates and Yemen, homosexual activity carries the death penalty.”

    Or this from dailymail.co.uk:

    “ISIS publicly executed nine men and a boy aged 15 in Syria for being gay yesterday, the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights has claimed. It said seven men were shot dead in Rastan, in the Homs province of central Syria, after they were accused of being homosexuals.”

    Or this from the New York Post:

    “Islamic State jihadists threw a blindfolded man off a tower in Syria, and then a crowd of onlookers stoned him to death for being gay.”

    So how, you might ask, can someone vilify Senator Gardner and the NRA but remain silent on the treatment of homosexuals in Islam? Well, just ask Rabbi McDaniel-Miccio who obviously has her own agenda which does not include the truth, Islam or ISIS.

    5. But I still wonder why you were so surprised about Senator Gardner’s vote when you freely admitted “In an era of multi-million dollar campaign contributions, Gardner’s history of voting against bills that would have put a few more teeth in gun regulation isn’t surprising.”

    I disagree totally with your assertion that Senator Gardner “consistently shames the office he holds and betrays the trust given by the electorate.” I believe those who put Senator Gardner in office are pleased with his performance and those you favored now former-Senator Udall will never be pleased. Never. But four years from now you’ll have the opportunity to change that.

    But here’s the good news: You are now at the head of the line should the Colorado Independent need another columnist.

    Just curious: If you had the opportunity to destroy either ISIS or the NRA which would it be?

    PS: The Yankees suck!

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