Voices of Liberty: Iowa SCC Member Joel Kurtinitis on Guns, Obama, and the Iowa GOP

Young 2nd Amendment enthusiasts hold signs at the gun rally in Des Moines

 ”The ruling class doesn’t care about public safety. Having made it very difficult for States and localities to police themselves, having left ordinary citizens with no choice but to protect themselves as best they can, they now try to take our guns away. In fact they blame us and our guns for crime. This is so wrong that it cannot be an honest mistake.”
Malcolm Wallop
former U.S. Sen. (R-WY)

The right to bear arms is guaranteed to Americans under the Second Amendment, and people across the U.S. are concerned that the proposed “gun ban” by Obama and his administration is a blatant assault on the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. Thousands gathered to support the Second Amendment yesterday, with peaceful rallies taking place in state capitals nationwide. Iowans held their rally in the capital city of Des Moines, where hundreds turned out to show their support.

Joel Kurtinitis, from Polk county in Congressional District 3, attended the rally in Des Moines yesterday. Kurtinitis is a member of the Iowa Republican State Central Committee, which make up the party’s leadership, or “board of directors”, in the state of Iowa.Joel

Kurtinitis, like many across the country, feels that President Barack Obama has overstepped his authority by issuing executive orders that attempt to renew the “Assault Weapons Ban” at the federal level, and to further restrict the right to bear arms.

“I think that President Obama’s executive orders blur the line between enforcement and legislation, and that it is presumptuous of the President to use these orders to preempt an action of Congress,” said Kurtinitis, when asked how he felt about the administration’s attempts to limit Second Amendment rights.

Obama and Vice President Joe Biden claim that the intent of the executive orders, which violate the Constitution’s clear delegation of power to Congress, are to strengthen existing gun laws. Many disagree, and critics consider the push for the gun ban to be hypocritical.

“If the intent of these orders is indeed to simply strengthen the enforcement of existing laws, it begs the question: why wasn’t the administration already enforcing these laws?” Kurtinitis said. ” It is also shockingly disingenuous of the President and his administration to come out strongly against gun violence whilst deliberately obstructing the ongoing investigation of the Fast and Furious gun-running scandal that his own Justice Department is currently embroiled in-a scandal that cost the life of a U.S. Border Patrol agent.”

Passions are running high across America, with many gun owners opposing the some 23 executive orders issued by Barack Obama in the wake of the school shooting in Connecticut. Millions turned out for the Guns Across America rallies yesterday in cities all over the United States. Iowa was no exception.

“I was incredibly encouraged to see the outpouring of support for the 2nd Amendment at the rally yesterday (in Des Moines, IA). We had an incredible turnout for just having one week to organize and publicize the event, ” Kurtinitis said. “Not only did we have a terrific crowd for a day in which there was already another high-profile conservative rally underway, but we had a remarkably broad attendance.”  (Iowa’s Right to Life also held a rally in Des Moines yesterday, their first annual Midwest March for Life.)

desmoiIowa Republicans have a different dynamic than the stereotypical GOP. Many look to the neoconservatives as the “ruling class” of the Republican party, but Iowans have brought in many younger voters over the last election cycle, many with more classical conservative views blended with libertarian values.

“One becomes accustomed to seeing older Republicans turn out to issue-based rallies and events, but yesterday, there was a large turnout of young gun enthusiasts and champions of the 2nd Amendment,” said Kurtinitis. “Many of them carried signs quoting the Founding Fathers on the importance of the right to keep and bear arms.”

“What that tells me, ” he continued, “is that a younger generation of Americans is refusing to be fooled by the rhetoric of the left, and realizing the importance of the right to self defense.”

Iowa State Representative Tom Shaw (R-Laurens) addressed the crowd at the rally yesterday. He was critical of the government’s inability to uphold the rights of its citizens.

“Do you think they have unalienable rights in China, North Korea or Iran? Ladies and gentlemen, they do have rights. They just don’t have a government that keeps them secure in their unalienable rights, and we have a government that’s trying to do the same thing right here, right now,” Shaw said.

“I saw the eyes of the oppressed…screaming for freedom,” said Shaw.  “I’m going to make sure that never happens in America and never happens in Iowa.”

Gabe Lanz, an Iowa GOP delegate and Veteran, also spoke at the rally. You can view his speech here.

Iowa Republicans are steadfast in their fight to preserve liberty, amidst an outpouring of support for the gun ban from Democratic officials in the state Senate, including Senate Majority Leader Michael Gronstal (D-Council Bluffs)  and State Representative Dan Muhlbauer (D-Manilla), who was recently criticized over comments he made advocating a statewide gun ban and “taking their guns”, in reference to private Iowa citizens.

“The Republican Party of Iowa completely supports the 2nd Amendment, and we recognize that the rest of our rights- free speech, religion, assembly, press- are only secured by the right to keep and bear arms,” said Kurtinitis. “The Founding Fathers realized that the difference between a citizen and a peasant is the right to keep and bear arms.”

Kurtinitis acknowledged that Gronstal and other Democrats would oppose any measures introduced by the GOP.

“While we expect to face resistance from Senator Gronstal and his liberal allies in the Senate, we also believe that we will have such strong support from gun owners of both parties that we will be able to ensure that Senate Democrats either vote to protect Iowa’s gun rights or be removed from the majority in the next election.”

“The Republican Party of Iowa will be moving to protect gun rights against controlling measures such as those espoused by the President, by introducing and supporting legislation barring federal agents from enforcing any gun laws that violate the 2nd Amendment in the state of Iowa.”

Will taking away guns reduce crime? Statistics have shown that this is not the case. However, advocates of an Assault Weapons ban claim that taking semi-automatic weapons out of the hands of citizens will reduce violence.

“My generation bore witness to a decade of gun control under the Brady Bill, during which we saw no reduction in gun violence,” said Kurtinitis. ‘What we did see was an explosion in government growth and power that has resulted in violations of many of our other Constitutionally guaranteed rights.’

“Gun owners across Iowa include Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, all of whom were outraged by the extremist statements such as those by Rep. Muhlbauer. As the extremism of gun-grabbing liberals such as Muhlbauer comes to light, Iowans will realized the threat to their rights and respond accordingly.”

Kurtinitis also believes that Iowans will fight to defend their liberties under the Constitution, despite the national push from the left. When freedom comes into question, party lines blur.

“I believe that Iowans are fiercely protective of their 2nd Amendment rights, and that support for gun rights in the state is much broader than any single party affiliation or political ideology.”

“I feel that we are prepared to blaze a trail in defense of our liberties, and I believe it’s possible that the current gun-control push, along with the exposure of the extreme agenda of liberals like Rep. Muhlbauer, may be the perfect spark to light a fire under patriots across the state,” Kurtinitis said.

“And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms….The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

Thomas Jefferson