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Iowa Legislators Blocking Girls’ Shooting Endeavors

America’s 1st Freedom

By Laura Carno

One of the highlights of my recent trip to the NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits in Louisville, Ky., was an interview with 12-year-old Meredith Gibson and her 10-year-old sister, Natalie.

The Gibsons live in Johnston, Iowa, and are both involved in shooting sports.

The state of Iowa, however, has a problem with these young ladies. While they participate in the shooting sports, they are not yet 14 years of age. Meredith shoots 3-gun and USPSA, and Natalie shoots USPSA. But both of these sports involve competing with pistols, which is prohibited for Iowans under the age of 14. (Incidentally, there is no other state in the union that has a problem with kids their age shooting a pistol under adult supervision. They are legally able to shoot a shotgun or a rifle in Iowa, but not a pistol.)

This forces the Gibson sisters to go to Illinois—yes, that Illinois—to practice their pistol skills.

This law is a relic from the Civil War era. In truth, it is a law that should have been repealed long ago, but no one has done so yet.

When the Gibson sisters asked their dad, Nathan, what they could do about it, he took them to the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines to talk to legislators. Each Wednesday, their school has “early out,” and they go to the state capitol in Des Moines to visit with legislators to seek their support for legislation to repeal the ban. Yes, they go every Wednesday. “We just want to get back to our sport.” — 12-year-old Meredith and 10-year-old sister Natalie Gibson

(You can watch a great interview that Meredith, Natalie and Nathan did with Cam Edwards on NRA News’ “Cam & Company” describing their interaction with legislators here.)

Unfortunately, this repeal bill keeps getting killed in the Senate. Democrat state Sen. Steven Sodders has told the girls that he supports the bill and even said he’d bring it up for a vote, but he never has. Instead, Sodders assigned it to the three-member Judiciary Committee that has two anti-gun senators on it. They never get around to scheduling a hearing, which results in the bill dying without even a vote. It should be noted that the girls have talked to all 50 state senators, and 35 have pledged to vote “yes” on the measure.

When the Gibson girls couldn’t get anywhere with Sodders, they tried to track down Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal. They told me that when Gronstal saw them, he tried to get away via one of two sets of stairs that lead to the building’s main exit. Not to be outmaneuvered, the girls were waiting at the bottom of each set of stairs, essentially blocking him from not talking to them. Who doesn’t love this image of a legislator running away from a couple of kids!

The situation is truly ridiculous and unfair. The girls aren’t looking to carry a concealed firearm. They aren’t even trying to make a political point.

As they told me, “We just want to get back to our sport.” And what I want is for Sen. Sodders to do his job and get the government out of the way of 10- and 12-year-old sisters simply wanting to participate in their chosen sports.

Perhaps the most interesting part of this whole story is what the girls are doing this summer now that school is out. They plan to knock on every door in the district “to make sure Steven Sodders is not re-elected.”

How great it is when children take action to fight for their rights!

How can we help? First, check out IFC-PAC, a PAC that is working on the Gibsons’ issue, as well as promoting other pro-gun measures in the state legislature. Second, if you are in Iowa or can travel to Iowa, consider helping Meredith and Natalie knock on doors. Third, share this story with anyone you know in Iowa, and ask them to share it within their local networks. Finally, feel free to reach out to Senators Sodders and Gronstal. You can telephone Sen. Sodders at (641) 751-4140 and Sen. Gronstal at (712) 328-2808.

See the original post here.

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Government Ruins Kids’ Careers

lauracarno.com

By Laura Carno

The Gibsons live in Johnston, Iowa and they are both involved in sports.

The State of Iowa has a problem with these young ladies. They participate in the shooting sports, but they are not yet 14 years of age. Meredith shoots 3-gun and USPSA and Natalie shoots USPSA. Both of these sports involve competing with pistols, which is prohibited for Iowans under the age of 14. There is no other state in the union that has a problem with kids their age shooting a pistol under adult supervision. They are legally able to shoot a shotgun or a rifle in Iowa, but not a pistol.

This forces the Gibson sisters to go to Illinois —yes, that Illinois— to practice their pistol skills.

This law is a relic from the Civil War era. It is a law that should have been repealed long ago. But no one has done so yet.

The Gibson sisters asked their dad Nathan what they could do about it, so he took them to the Iowa State Capitol to talk to legislators. Every Wednesday, their school has “early out” and they go to the State Capitol in Des Moines to talk to legislators, to seek their support of legislation to repeal the ban. They go every Wednesday.

Watch this great interview that Meredith, Natalie and Nathan did with Cam Edwards from Cam and Company on NRA News, describing their interaction with legislators.

This repeal bill keeps getting killed in the Senate. Senator Steven Sodders tells the girls that he supports the bill and even says he’ll bring it up for a vote, but he never does. Instead, Sodders assigns it to the 3-member Judiciary Committee that has two anti-gun Senators. And they never get around to scheduling a hearing. This results in the killing of the bill without a vote. It should be noted that the girls have talked to all 50 Senators and 35 have pledged to vote yes.

When they weren’t getting anywhere with Sodders, the girls tried to track down Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal. They told me that when Gronstal saw them, he tried to get away via one of two sets of stairs that lead to the building’s main exit. The girls were waiting at the bottom of each set of stairs, essentially blocking him from not talking to them. Who doesn’t love this image of a legislator running away from a couple of kids?

The girls aren’t looking to carry concealed. They aren’t looking to go hunting. They aren’t even trying to make a political point. They told me, “We just want to get back to our sport.” I want Senator Sodders to do his job and get the government out of the way of 10 and 12-year old sisters engaging in their chosen sport.

My favorite part of this story is what the girls are going to do with their summer, as soon as school is out. They told me they are going to knock on every door in the district, “to make sure Steven Sodders is not re-elected.”

How great is it when 10 and 12-year olds are taking action for their rights?

How can we help? First, there is a PAC helping out that could use your donations and volunteer time. Second, if you are in Iowa or can travel to Iowa, please consider helping Meredith and Natalie walk precincts. Third, share this blog with anyone you know in Iowa and ask them to share it within their local networks. And finally, feel free to reach out to Senators Sodders and Gronstal. I’m sure they’d love to hear your thoughts. Senator Sodders can be reached at 641-751-4140 and Senator Gonstal can be reached at 712-328-2808.

Visit Laura Carno’s website here

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Colorado’s Results Were a Victory for the Conservative Grassroots

Was the Colorado election stolen from grassroots activists by the party elites?

Put simply, no. Plenty has already been written about the organizational advantage that Ted Cruz has demonstrated in the race for national delegates — smartly, the Cruz campaign had been on the ground in Colorado for eight months, whereas the Trump campaign hired its first ground operative last week — but few have noted that the rules in Colorado yielded a broader win for the grassroots over the elites.

On Friday, April 8, I attended the Fifth Congressional District Assembly, to which I was elected as a delegate after I attended my neighborhood caucus in March. Typically, these assemblies are boring and predictable. But not this year. In a surprise nomination from the floor, 32-year old Calandra Vargas was nominated to challenge sitting congressman Doug Lamborn (who had been unanimously nominated for re-election). Taking full advantage of the opportunity, Vargas gave the speech of her life.

When delegate balloting was completed, it was revealed that Vargas had won 58 percent of the vote. Representative Doug Lamborn, by contrast, was left with only 35 percent. (The balance of the votes went to another floor nomination.) Had Lamborn received less than 30 percent, he would have been kept off the ballot completely, left with no other way to run for re-election.

Bottom line: The establishment almost lost its congressman because of Colorado’s grassroots-caucus process. Moreover, because of the delegate vote results, Vargas will be listed first on the ballot — a huge advantage for any candidate. If the party elite were in fact pulling the strings, an upset like this wouldn’t have been possible.

The following day at the state assembly — to which I had also been elected a delegate — we heard speeches from ten U.S. Senate candidates who chose to go through the caucus and assembly process. An additional four candidates for Senate chose to bypass the assembly, and petition directly on to the ballot. Of those who attended the state assembly, state senator Tim Neville was the clear favorite. Without question, Neville had the best delegate outreach, fundraising, and assembly presence. Walking in, the delegates were sure of one thing: Neville would make the ballot.

At least they were sure of that until El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn made his unexpectedly fiery nominating speech. Glenn hadn’t been successful in the traditional measures of candidate strength, such as fundraising. But, within Colorado’s assembly process, that didn’t matter. During his speech, Glenn received seven standing ovations — more than even Ted Cruz received later that day. Even better, Glenn received a remarkable 70 percent of the delegate votes, while Neville received just 18 percent. Because they were kept below the 30 percent threshold, Neville and the others were kept off the ballot. Glenn will now appear first on the US Senate ballot, above the four candidates who bypassed the assembly process.

Twice in two days in Colorado, grassroots Republican activists upended party expectations. None of us who were there were surprised by that. In Colorado, that’s just the way it works. Stealing? Not at all. That’s democracy.

Original post

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Less Opportunity To Boss Us Around

Laura Carno

By Laura Carno

June 6, 2015

Kudos to Colorado State Representatives Paul Lundeen and Tim Dore and Senator Kevin Lundberg for at least trying to limit the ability of the Colorado State government to boss around its citizens.

Late in the 2015 legislative session, these three Colorado state elected officials were the prime sponsors of House Concurrent Resolution 1003 (HCR-1003) which would have decreased the duration of the legislative session, and reduced the number of bills legislators could sponsor each year.

Currently the Colorado Constitution mandates that the legislative session lasts 120 days each year, and that each legislator may sponsor 5 bills each session. Since there are 100 legislators between the house and senate chambers, there are a minimum of 500 bills that are offered each year. Are there really 500 things that are wrong in Colorado that need to be proactively “fixed” with legislation? If they were all repeal bills, I might feel differently, but sadly they are not.

HCR-1003 would have reduced the duration of the sessions to 90 days in odd numbered years, and to 60 days in even numbered years. The extra 30 days in the first year would enable a biennial budget to be passed. Each legislator would have only 2 bills, not 5.

Imagine how much less damage could be done to the citizens of the Centennial State if legislators could only do 40% the damage they could do in a 120-day session with 5 bills each.

With just 40% of the bills, there would be less room for bills like:

HCR-1003 would have referred an amendment to the Colorado Constitution on the November 2016 ballot. The requirements for the current 120-day legislative session are in the Constitution.

See the original post here.

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Moving Toward A Free-Market In Education

Moving Toward A Free-Market In EducationLaura CarnoDecember 9, 2014

 

Imagine if you could shop for your child’s education just like you’d shop for a new laptop.

If you were shopping for a new laptop, you would look online at the features to see if they match your needs. You would look at reviews and at what Consumer Reports has to say about the specs, the durability and the overall performance. You might ask your friends what brand laptop they have and how they like it. You also might visit Best Buy and the Apple Store to get the look and feel of various models.

We are all very accustomed to shopping this way for most consumer products in our lives. How would we respond if we simply had to accept the taxpayer-funded laptop that our state government determined was best for us? One store, one salesperson, take it or leave it.

In Colorado where I live, we are luckier than some other states because we have some choices in schools. It is true that some districts have highly rated traditional public schools, but that is          neither universal nor the norm. Consistently, the schools that rank the highest in performance and college preparation are charter and private schools.

Take for example Liberty Common High School, a public charter school in Fort Collins, CO. They focus on a classical liberal-arts curriculum accentuating math, science and engineering. Every student is required to take 4 years of math and a foreign language. They have high expectations and achieve high results. Although Liberty doesn’t teach to any standardized tests, their students consistently out-perform students in other schools who are teaching to the standardized tests. Liberty consistently achieves the highest test scores in Colorado, and even broke the ACT record this year.

Charter schools are public schools. They require no tuition to be paid by the parents. They are part of traditional school districts and are funded by tax dollars. They actually have less money to work with since they do not receive any tax money for facilities as their non-charter counterparts do. They need to use a portion of the per-pupil student funding for facilities, yet they are still achieving superior results. Charter Schools are far from rare. Twelve percent of Colorado’s K-12 students are now in Charter Schools. With charter schools achieving such wonderful results with more efficient spending of taxpayer dollars, it’s no surprise that responsible and active parents are choosing charter schools for their children.

Private schools require parents to pay separate tuition in order for their child to attend. Does that mean that all private schools are only for the wealthy and elite? Look at the example of Arrupe Jesuit High School in North Denver. The average family income among the students’ families is $31,000 per year. Over 50% of these students will be the first in their family to graduate high school. So how do these families afford private school tuition? The Arrupe students work for a portion of their tuition through the school’s Corporate Work Study Program. There is a longer school day and school year to allow students to work 5 days per month at area partner companies. They earn valuable work experience and are able to work for a portion of their own tuition. The parents pay a small portion of the tuition, which may be as little as $100 per month. In addition, Arrupe partners with the Ace Scholarships Program, which provides families with the remainder of the tuition costs, through money raised from individuals and businesses.

The performance at Arrupe is astounding as 100% of graduates are accepted to college. This busts the myth that kids from poorer families are destined to squander their potential in poor achieving traditional schools. They have a better chance to succeed when their parents take an active role, and when their community invests in their opportunity to attend a high performing private school. Who wouldn’t want to send their kids to the best schools available?

If traditional public schools do not work to improve and keep the remaining parents happy, students will continue to leave and so will the public funds received per pupil. This competition improves the performance of all schools.

Although Colorado has more choice in education than some other states, we still face roadblocks from some in government who want to preserve the public school paradigm. State Senator-elect, Michael Merrifield was a previous State House member who served as the chair of the House Education Committee. During a discussion about charter schools, Merrifield famously quipped “there is a special place in hell for supporters of charter schools.” Why would a former educator denigrate parents who simply want the best for their kids, especially when the performance of these schools is better than traditional public schools?

It’s time to remove any bias against school choice, or against parents who are looking for better schools for their kids. It is not the fault of these parents or children who are left to deal with the sub-par schools in their communities. It is the fault of the obstructionists to progress and a better future for our kids. All we ask is to have a choice. After all, it is the way we shop for everything else.

Laura Carno

Founder, I Am Created Equal

Visit Laura Carno’s personal site here.

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Post-Election Analysis – Udall Lied Campaign

In the few weeks since the election, we have been working to answer the question: “What was the impact of the ‘Udall Lied’ campaign on sending Mark Udall home?”

With so many media players in any election, it is always difficult to prove who was responsible for which election results.  The attached document makes the case that ‘Udall Lied’ demonstrates the wisdom of defining a candidate early in the minds of voters, changing the culture in which the election happens and impacting the language that becomes the norm.

Please let me know if you have questions about our analysis or would like to look more deeply at any of our numbers.

We thank you sincerely for taking a risk on our unconventional campaign.  It worked, and we are grateful for your support.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Thank you,

Laura

IACE Post-Election Analysis PDF Attatchment

(Click above to view the PDF)

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On October 28, 2014, the Independence Institute held a debate at the Denver Post building on whether there is a war on women in Colorado. On the “no” side we had Kelly Maher and Laura Carno. For the “yes” side we had Susan Greene and Laura Chapin.

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See the original video here.

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El Paso Ballot Question 1B: A Dishonest Tax Increase

The Jeff Crank Show
By Jeff Crank
October 14, 2014
El Paso County Ballot Question 1B is nothing more than a dishonest attempt to fool voters.  Its shameful deception rises to the level of the misleading term-limits language of a few years ago.  If you remember the term limits language which implied that a yes vote “limited” terms when it actually extended them then question 1B this year might ring a bell.  1B imposes a tax of $92.40 per year on the average household in El Paso County for the next 20 years and beyond.  That is a minimum tax increase of $1,848 per property- and likely much higher.  However, you wouldn’t know these facts just by reading the ballot language.
Pretty harsh to say it is deceptive, but the facts leave little doubt.  First, the language calls the tax a “fee”.  Why? If they called it a tax, the Colorado Constitution would require the ballot language to start out by saying “shall taxes be increased by $39,275,650 for 2016 and each year after for 20 years.”  By cleverly calling the tax a “fee”, they can now start the language with “Are you in favor of funding emergency needs caused by flooding…”.  It was worded this way to enhance the ability to get it passed but it is nothing more than a way to trick you into believing that the money coming out of your pocket is a “fee” and not actually a tax.  After all, it is on your property TAX bill.
The sleight of hand continues.  Rather than being honest about how much you’re going to pay each year, they broke the amount down per month.  They could have simply said that it would cost the average homeowner $1,848 over the next twenty years.  Instead, they broke the amount down by month – to $7.70 per month.  Why not just give us the full monty and break it down to the day, hour or second? By the way, if you do the math, it is just over a penny per hour tax increase.
Question 1B also creates a brand new government bureaucracy and then exempts it from the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights provisions of the Colorado Constitution.  In other words, it creates a bureaucracy and then allows that bureaucracy to vote to extend the tax (that they call a fee) without ever going to the citizens for a vote of the people.
As Mayor Steve Bach, who strongly opposes 1B, stated, “the new $92.40 storm water fee is about the same amount the average residential property owner now pays for all City services combined.”  That’s right, you’ll pay as much property tax for storm water as you do for police, fire, snow removal, street repair, parks, arts, etc.  Imagine this new unaccountable bureaucracy getting as much property tax as the city of Colorado Springs, never having to face an election and having the ability to increase the tax at their whim and without voter approval.
If this tax increase of $785 million over twenty years weren’t offensive enough the audacity of the language should convince any citizen to vote no.  The drafters of the language trying to pull the wool over voters eyes by calling a tax a “fee”; reducing the yearly tax amount to make it appear smaller; and thumbing their nose at the voters by taking away the right to vote on tax increases make this as deceptive and misleading as any ballot language we’ve ever seen.

Our storm water problem is real and it should be addressed but Question 1B is not the answer.  I hope you’ll join Mayor Steve Bach, myself and many other community leaders in voting no.

Original post here.

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NRA News- Laura Carno: A Colorado Recall Recap

See the original here.