We can all thank Assemblyman Jim Wheeler for blinking when it got too hot in the kitchen.
In reflecting on this sad fate for an extremely important bill, I looked up the term “useful idiot” on Wikipedia this morning. It’s defined, thusly…
“In political jargon, useful idiot is a term for people perceived as propagandists for a cause whose goals they are not fully aware of, and who are used cynically by the leaders of the cause.”
The cause in this case was killing “Amanda’s Law” – legislation that would allow concealed carry permit holders to carry their weapons with them for self-defense on college campuses.
And because I like Jim Wheeler personally, it really pains me that he allowed himself to be used so effectively and totally by the anti-gun propagandists
Wheeler, you’ll recall, led the Not-So-Great-Eight into a foolish act of cowardice when they stood with Assembly Democrats and killed an effort to attach the campus carry measure as an amendment to another gun bill sought by Senate Majority Leader Michael Roberson.
We can also thank the California-based lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, Dan Reid, for standing on the sidelines and not only watching campus carry die, but cheering on Wheeler and the Not-So-Great-Eight.
Nevada needs and deserves its own NRA lobbyist. Mr. Reid should now be banned from the offices of the Assembly GOP members who stood tall and didn’t back down from this fight when the going got tough.
The Nevada Firearms Coalition was also complicit, but I don’t blame them so much.
They’re a relatively new organization and have done some GREAT things for gun owners and gun rights in Nevada. Don Turner and Randy Mackie are aces, and gun owners and gun rights supporters are lucky to have them in Nevada.
The truth is, this was just NVFAC’s second legislative session. The group made a tactical mistake by going after Assembly Judiciary Chairman Ira Hansen and trying to make him out to be the bad guy on the amendment vote. I’m guessing they won’t fall for it again in the future.
Instead, I blame their lobbyist, Megan Bedera, who clearly misled the organization strategically.
NVFAC needs to hire someone with a little more political savvy and lot more backbone; someone who understands that there are a lot more people in Nevada who support gun rights than just members of NVFAC.
But back to Wheeler, who really screwed the pooch on this one.
About a month before the start of the session, Wheeler went native. Got a taste of being on the legislative leadership team…and liked it! Fancied himself a “player.” Got to sit at the cool kids’ table. Strutted around like a true BMOC…big man on campus.
Lord, it’s hard to be humble…when you’re perfect in ev-er-y way.
Indeed, Wheeler quickly turned his back on his conservative allies and started wheeling and dealing and playing footsies with the very GOP establishment folks who tried to bury him politically last year after he told the world he’d vote for slavery if that’s what his constituents wanted.
His new BFF’s whispered sweet nothings in his ear, stroked his ego, told him how great he was, how he was “da man” and should be calling the shots in the Republican Assembly Caucus. And Jimbo bought it…hook, line and sinker.
Wanna know just how badly Mr. Wheeler got played? Consider this…
After outrage directed at him erupted after he led the Not-So-Great-Eight in killing the ONLY real opportunity to pass campus carry this session, Mr. Wheeler panicked and begged Speaker-of-the-Weak John Hambrick to give him an “emergency” bill to put campus carry back in play before the end of the session.
A fool’s errand. So Hambrick gave him the rope to hang himself with.
And while at least two of the Not-So-Great-Eight – Assemblyman Paul Anderson and Assemblyman Chris Edwards – boasted in emails to angry constituents and in news interviews that the new bill would sail through the Senate – we all knew it was a pipe dream.
But remember what Wheeler himself wrote in a tweet to me…
“We have been assured of a hearing (in the Senate). Can’t do more than that for now.”
A “hearing”? That’s it?
That’s like Jack selling his cow for that bag of magic beans.
In the end, the cool kids didn’t even give Jim Wheeler the courtesy of that harmless hearing, let alone a vote.
That’s how little regard they really have for him.
They played him like a fiddle.
And campus carry now has the stake driven through its heart for this session.
Demonstrating once again that Republicans never blow an opportunity to blow an opportunity.
FAMOUS LAST WORDS
“At the time of my attack (in the parking garage at the University of Nevada Reno) I had obtained my concealed carry weapons permit, unfortunately I didn’t have my firearm with me that night because it was and is still illegal to carry a weapon on university campuses across most states in our country. The current law effectively legislated me into being a victim by stripping me of the equalizer I choose to use to defend my body and my life. Had I been carrying my weapon that night, I would have been able to stop my attack in progress and as a result two other rapes would have been prevented and a young life would have been saved.
“It is not a matter of IF the next James Biela will come onto a University Campus it is a reality of when the next James Biela will be caught. Every year 3,000 rapes are REPORTED on our University campuses, so many more go unreported. It is my goal to get Amanda’s Law passed in every stated across the USA. Our safety is our choice and we should not be mandated to hand that over to a third party due to an arbitrary line. Amanda’s Law will allow law abiding women and men to carry their permitted concealed weapon on University Campuses.”
– Rape survivor Amanda Collins