June 23, 2022

A Safe and Sane, Common Sense Gun Safety Proposal

Bob Diven shared the following proposal, but first he gave us a brief introduction to the rules for owning a fully automatic machine gun (which you can do in America!). A few of the many rules include being 21 or older, not a drug addict, not dishonorably discharged from the military, not a felon. You have to pay a sales tax of $200. The process takes nine months to two years and the government can come at any time to check on the whereabouts of the gun. By contrast, to own an AR-style high-power, semi-automatic rifle, you need to be 18 years old. Here is the proposal Bob submitted to Senator Martin Heinrich:

It being the case that the sale of AR-style high power, semi-automatic rifles seems destined to continue unabated, and as the probability of a ban on such weapons appears to be nil, I believe it is time to use the time-honored power of taxation to fund the trauma care that is needed to tend to the wounded, the shattered, the bereaved, and the broken citizens who are left to fend mostly for themselves in the aftermath of mass shooting events, while the gun makers and purveyors profit in no small part because they do not have to pay the true social cost of the products they sell. The gun industry must no longer be allowed to be a selfish leech upon the and government of these United States of America.

Therefore I submit to you that we imposes a “Massacre Tax” of $500 per weapon upon all sales of new and used AR-style (“Assault”) rifles from this day forward (including at gun shows and private sales), and also impose a “Murder Tax” of $250 upon the sales of all semi-automatic handguns. Muzzle loading weapons would of course be exempt.

I believe in a citizen’s right to keep and bear arms in the originalist sense of the United States Constitution, and would therefore support the presence in all households of a flintlock musket, along with shot, powder, and flint sufficient to operate such a weapon. These weapons should remain affordable and untaxed. In this way we are not violating a citizen’s right to own a firearm as guaranteed in the Constitution. We would, however, be able to fund standing up the mental-health, grief, and restitution resources needed to tend to those among us who must bear the burden of the sacrifice a gun culture such as ours requires.

I remain your humble servant,

Bob Diven

Veteran, gun owner, citizen

They have a Plan to Elect Gabe Vasquez to Congress

Spenser Toth, organizer with Gabe Vasquez’s campaign for NM CD-02, introduced their plan for winning in November. He said that 50,000 Democrats in the (newly redrawn District) turned out to vote for Joe Biden in the presidential election. Gabe’s campaign will build strong relationships with those voters, earn their support based on the issues that matter to them, and get them to the polls. There will be training for canvassing and phone banking, and Spenser invited everyone to sign up with him or on the campaign website and be involved in the campaign.

For more information, send email to Spenser or call him at 575-740-6137 and visit the campaign website.

Report from the New Mexico House

State Representative Joanne Ferrary (Dis. 37) said that New Mexico legislators have prepared New Mexico for the Supreme Court ruling on Roe. They’ve passed protections for women and abortion providers and prepared to be a safe haven for women from other states. Interim committees are at work on new curriculum, tobacco and alcohol abuse prevention, and hazardous waste cleanups. The State Land Office has just leased land for more wind farms in Lincoln and Torrance Counties.

For more information send email to Joanne.

Worst Idea Yet from El Paso Electric?

Rocky Bacchus said he testified at the recent El Paso Electric hearing which was devoted to the plan of replacing everyone’s electricity meters. Rocky, the only person opposing the plan, called the new meters obsolete even before they would be installed and also a waste of $53 million. He said EPE pointed out one benefit: electric service can be cut off remotely. 

For more information, send email to Rocky.

Or Maybe Not the Worst Idea?

Allen Downs had a more optimistic view of  the El Paso Electric smart meters. He said customers can save money by “adjusting demand and energy usage based on price signals” [Ed: Running the dishwasher at midnight?] and EPE can reduce costs by more efficient use of grid and generation capacity. Allen said that the City of Las Cruces, Merrie Lee Soules, and Phil Simpson will be involved in the proceedings and will argue for the most efficient and economical practices.

For more information send email to Allen.

Preaching to the Choir, But Elections Matter and Get Your Friends to Vote

Carrie Hamblen, District 38 State Senator, spoke of the importance of voting and pointed out that when seven new Democratic senators were elected to the New Mexico legislature in 2021, they had a huge impact. Bills that previously left the House to die in the Senate were passed. Repeal of an anti-abortion law passed by six votes, adult use of cannabis passed by seven votes, the End-of-Life Options Act passed narrowly, to name a few. 

For more information send email to Carrie.

PVA’s Traditional June Party

Don Kurtz, attired in his official party shirt (Hawaiian), reminded everyone that the party after tonight’s short meeting will be PVA’s 18th annual June party (19th if not for COVID). The party will be at the Amador downtown, on the patio, aka under the stars.

For more information send email to Don.

Postcards Are Not Going Away

Gayle Eads issued an invitation to join her in reaching out to voters with postcards. “It’s not for everybody,” she said, “but you’ve got to give it a try.” Gayle said she will focus mostly on local and state candidates but will be sending postcards in October to help defeat Senator Ron Johnson in Wisconsin.

If you’d like more information or if you’re ready to participate in a postcard campaign, send email to Gayle or call her at 575-430-1671.

Read This If You Crave a Mind-Boggling Horror Story

Kevin Bixby said he wasn’t planning to speak tonight, but after Bob Diven’s excellent proposal for sensible gun control, he could not resist telling us about the PIttman-Robertson Act, which places a federal tax on the sale of guns and ammunition. In 1937 the revenues were used to protect wildlife–deer, wild turkeys, wood ducks, and other wildlife of interest to hunters. In 2019 Congress amended the Pittman-Robertson Act so that federal tax dollars from the sale of guns and bullets can be used by states and nonprofit groups to promote gun use. One beneficiary of the new rule is the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association of the firearm industry which exists to promote gun use and oppose sensible regulation of guns.

For more information send email to Kevin.

Happy 247th Birthday, Dear US Army

Shannon Reynolds said he attended the 247th Army Birthday Ball (a black tie affair held at the Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum). He shared a lot of information about White Sands Missile Range–number of jobs, money brought to the county, WSMR and Fort Bliss together represent 17% of the Army’s footprint in the world, WSMR and the Chamber of Commerce co-sponsor a golf tournament. Shannon said it would be good if more elected officials took an interest.

If you’re interested in being involved or just want more information, send email to Shannon

A Former Principal’s Perspective on Uvalde School Shooting

Earl Nissen, speaking from 24 years’ experience as an elementary school principal, asked of Uvalde: “Where in the hell was the principal?” Earl said that the situation has been handled atrociously, starting with Governor Abbott’s office. He hoped for a day when “everything comes out” and there is a reckoning.

For more information call Earl at 575-496-3405.

Round Two

PVA Rules: After everyone who wishes to speak has had a chance to speak once, everyone who wishes to speak a second time may do so.

Don Kurtz gave a shout out to our excellent local elected officials, noting that Joanne Ferrari has been “an absolute leader” for reproductive freedom in New Mexico. He invited City Councilor Tessa Abeyta to say a few words, and she spoke about “Lift Up Las Cruces,” which is a plan being developed to deal proactively with crime and community safety.

Peter Goodman and Earl Nissen related a tale that involved demonstrations against the king of Libya, an elementary school principal, Muammar Gaddafi, a stoning, an airlift, a happy ending. You’ll have to ask them for the whole story.

And with that we headed to the Amador Patio Bar & Grill for PVA’s 18th annual June Party.

PVA takes a break in July
We meet again August 25, 2022