Friday, March 30, 2012

Another Response by the KSRA to Jeff Vaught

Councilman Jeff Vaught sent out an email and posted an item on his blog with some comments directed towards the KSRA (Kansas State Rifle Assoc.).  Patricia Stoneking, President of the KSRA has responded to those comments, a copy of which is posted below:

Mr. Vaught, again you have your facts wrong and I’ll be happy to answer your questions.

The KSRA PAC had 55 donors in 2011, not 12. Certainly as someone who ran for office you must know that your Campaign Finance report reflects donations that are not itemized. So if you are going to espouse specific figures, let’s get them right. I would want to believe that your level of education affords you the knowledge of what it means to take things out of context and that is exactly what you have done.

The KSRA PAC was established by the KSRA in 2009 for the purposes of being more effective in promoting pro Second Amendment individuals to local and state offices. The KSRA is a 501(c)4 affording it the privilege of being involved in politics and legislation. The PAC was established as the vehicle to use for those ends so that we could achieve what our 8000+ members expect us to. Apparently you find something insidious about the organization donating to its own efforts. We are accountable only to our members and to the Ethics Commission and it is absolutely absurd to insinuate that there is something wrong with the KSRA allocating money to a wing of its organization to assist in achieving its goals. You might wish to check your math as well because the PAC raised $5501.52 in 2011 whereas your figures add up to $4600.00. I digress for a moment and point out you must have forgotten about all of those small donations that are not itemized. I’m sure to the logical person these facts shed a different light.

Additionally Mr. Vaught, individuals who care deeply about their Constitutional Second Amendment rights and have the means to make sizeable donations will always be the largest donors. When the first Ethics Commission Report for 2012 is filed on July 30, 2012 for the period January 1, 2012 through July 26, 2012 you can then add a few more equally large donors to your list of people who you can accuse of trying to buy the elections. Your rhetoric in this regard is deplorable.

Regarding your comments as follows: “First, you need to know about me. I'm a long time NRA member, conceal carry supporter, avid sportsman, and I have always been a defender of the Constitution, especially the 2nd Amendment. My concern with Ms. Stoneking's comments is the implication that Shawnee has tried to pass ordinances taking away resident's gun rights. Where and when?? The last thing we did was lessened the restrictions on deer management (led by me). Here is a link to Shawnee's ordinances. Enter 3003 in the search box or the word 'gun'.” “There has been any nonsense coming out of Shawnee City Council regarding firearms nor has there been any controversy in recent years. In fact, City Manager Carol Gonzales has never gotten a complaint on a weapons issue, never! If this is such an issue, why has no one ever addressed it to the city manager? Also, when we updated some language in late 2011 in regards to firearms, I attempted to contact Mike Egan to get his input. He never returned my calls. And, not one person form KSRA or any other pro gun organization was at the meeting to voice their concerns. I read the language of it carefully to make sure that we weren't infringing on the rights of gun owners and I don't believe we did. So again Ms. Stoneking, can you please give me some examples of what you are talking about.”

Considering that you were only elected in 2010 and sworn in to office on April 12, 2010 you are obviously not aware of all of the issues that we have dealt with. Here are just two examples.

On September 1, 2011 I was contacted by a concerned party about AN ORDINANCE AMENDING CHAPTER 9.13 OF THE SHAWNEE MUNICIPAL CODE REGULATING THE USE, DISCHARGE, AND POSSESSION OF WEAPONS AND FIREARMS WITHIN THE CITY OF SHAWNEE. I have attached a copy for your reference. I was asked to review the ordinance, which I did, and I found that proper exemptions for those with Concealed Carry Permits were not in place on several provisions. I then contacted the City Attorney and received a call back from Karen Torline on September 6, 2011 and spent a great deal of time reviewing the changes that needed to be made with her. On September 13, 2011 I received a copy of the revised ordinance incorporating the changes and corrections I asked for. I have attached a copy of that for your records as well. I will suggest to you that a Second Amendment friendly administration would have easily known that the exemptions would be a critical part of the ordinance. Of course it was not hard to reach that conclusion and based upon the fact that you state “I read the language of it carefully to make sure that we weren't infringing on the rights of gun owners and I don't believe we did.”, it’s a good thing I reviewed it and requested the changes as you obviously did not identify the need.

During the 2008 Kansas Legislative Session KSRA supported the passage of The Emergency Powers Act. It became law July 1, 2008. This Act expressly prohibits any jurisdiction of this state regarding confiscation of firearms during a disaster or national, state or local emergency. On August 11, 2008 your City Manager and Councilwoman Dawn Kuhn advocated for changes to the Shawnee Emergency Preparedness for Disasters ordinance that allowed for the confiscation of firearms during those times of emergency. Councilwoman Michelle Distler brought to everyone’s attention that the provisions in 2.04.065 possibly needed to be changed to be in line with state law. Even City Attorney Rainey conceded there were “obviously very significant and substantial questions”. However, disturbing discussion took place at that meeting as well as the September 8, 2008 meeting with several wanting to go ahead and pass it with the illegal provisions and that was brought to our attention by a concerned party, after which we felt intervention was necessary. I provided Councilwoman Michelle Distler with copies of the state statute concerning this subject so that she could present that material to the City Manager, City Attorney, Mayor and City Council Members. We had multiple lengthy discussions to ensure that she understood the state law and could present it to the interested parties. Following are links to the minutes from the three meetings in which this matter was discussed. The discussion that took place should be an eye opener for you.

Mr. Vaught, I don’t need to attend your meetings. The KSRA has eyes and ears everywhere in this state. It’s called grassroots activism. When something is awry I always hear about it and I will always respond as appropriate. My time is valuable sir and the work that needs to be done is accomplished without having to attend your meetings to police everything you do. Our interest is only in Second Amendment issues and we don’t feel compelled to sit through hours of business having nothing to do with that. Our members are going to call us. It’s why they are members. I cannot answer for them as to why they did not complain to your City Manager other than to say the average citizen is not an expert in Second Amendment legislation or ordinances and they are members so they can depend on professionals who have a great deal of expertise and knowledge such as I and my board have.

This public dialogue began with your vitriolic and unwarranted statements at the council meeting earlier this week because you are obviously unhappy that the KSRA PAC has endorsed candidates that you do not like. As I’ve already stated, we have every legitimate right to make endorsements and/or grade candidates for any office we choose. It is quite perplexing that you have made such blatantly false and serious accusations. As a sitting councilman who is not up for reelection you do so at great peril as you might find yourself having to work with those folks. Your actions are obviously personally motivated.

As a side note, I have read your blog and I also received an email from you and you disparage the Kansas Legislature, the Republican Party Leadership, the Republican Caucus, “a State Representative”, “several organizations and associations” and calling people liars, calling members of the Republican Party “rogue” and “righter than right” all in the light that they have committed some terrible offense but claim you are concerned about the perception of your city. YOU are a representative of your city, the others are not. Couple that with your statements regarding KSRA and I’ll just close by giving you a morsel of wisdom. If you think someone has done something wrong, doing wrong yourself is never the solution and only makes you as guilty as those you accuse. Those who wish to truly bring people together pave the path to peace, not throw gasoline on the fire.