On May 3, 2010, GrassRoots GunRights (hereafter GrassRoots) asked you to contact the members of a Senate subcommittee to tell them "GrassRoots GunRights speaks for me!" to help kill a bill - H. 3585 - that could have put innocent gun owners in prison for two years and fined them $10,000.
In response to your contacts, Sen. Jake Knotts sent out an offensive email on May 5 attacking GrassRoots and insulting your intelligence. Many of you contacted GrassRoots asking for an explanation.
The best explanation is simply that Sen. Jake Knotts is a liar. This may sound harsh, but there is no better word to describe a person who says something he knows is untrue when he says it and he says it with the intent to deceive. That is the very definition of the word liar. GrassRoots can - and will - prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Sen. Knotts is a liar.
The truth is that you killed H. 3585 after GrassRoots asked you to contact the Senate subcommittee and ask them to kill H. 3585. Your actions in contacting the Senate subcommittee chaired by Sen. Knotts was the reason H. 3585 was killed, and Sen. Knotts did not like the heat you provided.
GrassRoots will provide a "Short Summary of the Truth about H. 3585" both in this Action Alert and on the GrassRoots web site, and then GrassRoots will provide a "Detailed Time Line of the Truth about H. 3585" available only on the GrassRoots web site at www.SCFirearms.org/Knotts_lies.html
H. 3585 was a bad bill for gun owners. On April 20, 2010, Sen. Knotts scheduled the very first Senate subcommittee meeting on H. 3585 to be held on April 22. On April 22, GrassRoots appeared at the subcommittee meeting and tried to kill H. 3585 without asking you to help. Sen. Knotts' subcommittee failed to kill H. 3585. Instead, on April 30, Sen. Knotts scheduled another subcommittee meeting on H. 3585 to be held on May 5, and H. 3585 was the ONLY bill on the agenda. GrassRoots sent an Action Alert to gun owners on May 3. Gun owners put the heat on Sen. Knotts to kill H. 3585. On May 5, Sen. Knotts sent an email claiming H. 3585 was dead "three weeks ago" (which would be April 14) and GrassRoots was just stirring up trouble. Then, later on May 5, the subcommittee voted to carry H. 3585 over, which is a procedural move to kill the bill. There were no additional subcommittee meetings for H. 3585.
H. 3585 was passed by the House on a vote of 107 to 0 on February 17, 2010, and sent to the Senate on the following day. There was NO opposition to H. 3585 because it was presented as a bill to aid in the "war on drugs." The bill was not listed in the "weapons" section of the index of proposed legislation, so GrassRoots never even knew the bill existed until it was already in the Senate. But, once GrassRoots read the bill, it was obvious that innocent gun owners would become collateral damage in the war on drugs if H. 3585 was enacted into law. So, GrassRoots took action to protect gun owners.
Sen. Jake Knotts is the Chair of the subcommittee on H. 3585. The official record on the General Assembly's web site shows that Sen. Jake Knotts was made the chair of the Senate subcommittee assigned to consider H. 3585 on February 26, 2010. Click here to see copy of official web site.
The chair of the subcommittee sets the dates and times of the meetings of the subcommittee. The chair of the subcommittee also sets the agenda of each meeting of the subcommittee. Thus, Sen. Knotts was responsible for setting the dates and times of all Senate subcommittee meetings involving H. 3585, and the agendas of the subcommittee meetings.
The very first Senate subcommittee meeting on H. 3585 was scheduled for 9:00 am on April 22, 2010. GrassRoots wrote and hand delivered a letter to each member of the Senate subcommittee explaining why H. 3585 was a threat to innocent gun owners and why GrassRoots had not voiced the concerns of gun owners in the House. The GrassRoots letter can be read here on SCFirearms.org. GrassRoots leadership also attended the Senate subcommittee meeting on H. 3585 so that we could personally voice the concerns of gun owners in addition to the letter.
On April 22, Sen. Knotts allowed one person to speak on H. 3585 before canceling the subcommittee meeting after 15 minutes. Sen. Knotts announced the meeting would reconvene at 11:00 am in the Senate conference room adjoining the Senate gallery. But, the subcommittee meeting DID NOT reconvene at 11:00 am as announced. Instead, after letting people sit and wait until noon, the subcommittee meeting was rescheduled until immediately after adjournment of the Senate later that day. Then, later, the subcommittee meeting was canceled entirely. There was NEVER any action taken on H. 3585 on April 22, 2010.
On April 30, Sen. Knotts scheduled a subcommittee meeting for May 5 and H. 3585 was the ONLY bill on the agenda! I repeat, H. 3585 was the ONLY bill on the agenda. As the ONLY bill on the agenda, it was obvious that H. 3585 was still in play and could still be enacted into law.
As soon as GrassRoots saw Sen. Knotts' subcommittee was still considering passing H. 3585, GrassRoots sent out an Action Alert (which can be read here) asking you to contact the subcommittee members and ask them to kill H. 3585.
If Sen. Knotts' subcommittee was not willing to do the right thing after reading the letter from GrassRoots leadership, then it was time to call in the troops - which means YOU - to deliver the message loud and clear!
We asked you to tell them "GrassRoots GunRights speaks for me!" The reason for this is so that if they decide to try to amend a bill, they will know that you are relying upon GrassRoots to watch out for your rights. Then, if the proposed amendment is still bad, they will not be able to claim they did not know you would object to the new amendment. If GrassRoots GunRights speaks for you and GrassRoots GunRights is there to speak against an amendment, then it is you who is speaking against the amendment.
Politicians hate to be held accountable for what they do. Politicians know that when you say "GrassRoots GunRights speaks for me!", they will be held accountable. So, politicians do not like to hear you say "GrassRoots GunRights speaks for me!"
Well, your message of "GrassRoots GunRights speaks for me!" came through loud and clear. But, Sen. Knotts did not like hearing that from you. Remember, H. 3585 had no opposition until you spoke out, which is why it passed the House on a 107 to 0 vote.
In response to the heat you put on Sen. Knotts, Sen. Knotts decided to send out an email attacking GrassRoots GunRights and insulting your intelligence. Here is the email that many of you received that was sent by Sen. Knotts on May 5, 2010, at 2:36 pm:
Date: Wed, 5 May 2010 14:36:10 -0400 [emphasis added]
Subject: RE: GrassRoots Action Alert - H. 3585 MUST DIE!
I appreciate your email and your input and I am happy to hear from those of you from across the state. I am especially happy to hear from those of you within my district as your input is especially important to me. However, having GrassRoots speak for you is not as impressive as one may think. I appreciate those who speak for themselves and do not allow themselves to be fed misinformation. This bill was on the agenda for a meeting of my subcommittee three weeks ago. At that time we decided to carry it over knowing it was not going to pass. [emphasis added]
GrassRoots is trying to create a rift between those of us who are members of the NRA and members of GrassRoots. They are providing the public with misinformation as a tactic to impress them. This bill was stopped three weeks ago but now GrassRoots is spreading information to make it seems as though they are the ones stopping it so they can take the credit. Don't fall prey to GrassRoots. Don't let them speak for you, speak for yourself and get accurate information from credible organizations. [emphasis added]
Senator Jake Knotts
In his email, Sen. Knotts accuses GrassRoots of not being honest, accuses GrassRoots supporters of being misled, and infers the NRA supported H. 3585 by stating that GrassRoots is creating a rift between NRA members and GrassRoots members. Well, Sen. Knotts is wrong on all three counts.
GrassRoots will address the issues of being honest and who is misleading who first. A defense of the NRA will follow.
As you read the following documentation, you need to remember that Sen. Jake Knotts claims in his email that H. 3585 had already been killed by his subcommittee "three weeks ago." This means Sen. Knotts claims H. 3585 was already dead on April 14, 2010. This is an extremely important date, remember it.
You also need to know how the General Assembly functions procedurally to see that Sen. Knotts has lied to you. Every Friday, the General Assembly (through the Legislative Printing, Information and Technology Systems office) publishes a list of all meetings and their agendas (if available) for the following week. There is one list for House meetings and one list for Senate meetings. The lists give people and organizations advance notice of when bills will be discussed so that the public can attend the meetings and watch our government in action. The list of meetings published by the General Assembly on its web site is changed every Friday to reflect the meetings that will occur the following week.
As GrassRoots just discovered, the General Assembly does not keep archives (copies of old lists) of past lists. So, unless someone makes a copy of the list before it changes on Friday to show the meetings for the following week, there is no way to prove what was on a prior list. GrassRoots had not made copies of prior weeks meetings listings. So, GrassRoots was initially lacking the evidence we needed to prove Sen. Knotts was lying.
In the future, GrassRoots will make copies of each list on every Friday. Then, if another politician tries to get away with lying to the people like Sen. Knotts has done, GrassRoots will have copies immediately available instead of having to rely upon others to gather the information.
But, thankfully, where there is a will there is a way.
GrassRoots contacted the Legislative Printing, Information and Technology Systems (LPITS) office and asked for past copies of the official meeting lists for the Senate. This is when GrassRoots learned that the LPITS does not keep archives of past lists of meetings. Then, GrassRoots asked if there was any way possible to recreate the official records of all Senate meeting dates and agendas involving H. 3585.
The LPITS office told GrassRoots that while LPITS did not keep the lists published on the web site, LPITS did keep copies of all records used to create the meeting lists. GrassRoots immediately knew that such records could be gotten through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. But thankfully, GrassRoots was told LPITS could and would review all the records and send GrassRoots everything GrassRoots wanted to know about all Senate meetings regarding H. 3585, and GrassRoots was not forced to file an official FOIA request.
GrassRoots received the following email (click here to see copy of email) from the LPITS regarding H. 3585:
On Wed, 6/2/10, Neil Cumfer
This is the information I gathered concerning your phone call today on House Bill 3585.
Late on Tuesday afternoon, April 20, a meeting of the Judiciary Subcommittee on H.3585 and H.4282 was announced for Thursday morning, April 20
On Friday afternoon, April 30, a meeting of the Judiciary Subcommittee on H.3585 was announced for the following Wednesday, May 5. On Monday afternoon, the subcommittee was expanded to include H.4282 and the agenda was added to the web site.
I could find no additional meetings of this subcommittee after May 5. The full Judiciary Committee submitted agendas for 4 meetings between May 11 and June 1, but bill H.3585 was not included for consideration on any of those agendas. [emphasis added]
The bill currently resides in the Senate Judiciary subcommittee, where it will undoubtedly die tommorrow when the 118th session of the General Assembly adjourns.
If this legislation is re-introduced next year, it will be assigned a new number for the 119th session. It will have to pass both the House and the Senate in the new session in order to become law.
Sen. Knotts claims in his email dated May 5 that "this bill was stopped three weeks ago." As pointed out above, that means Sen. Knotts claims the bill was dead on April 14. BUT, the official LPITS records show that on April 20 - one week after Sen. Knotts claims the bill was already dead, Sen. Knotts requested that the very first subcommittee meeting regarding H. 3585 be scheduled for April 22. Very interesting.
Is Sen. Knotts lying about killing H. 3585 a week prior to the very first subcommittee meeting, or does Sen. Knotts actually kill bills prior to any public meetings thereby denying the public a chance to be heard?
If H. 3585 was already dead as Sen. Knotts claims, then why did Sen. Knotts schedule a subcommittee meeting to be held on April 22?
At the April 22 subcommittee meeting, Sen. Knotts allowed one person to speak on H. 3585. Then, Sen. Knotts interrupted the meeting and rescheduled the meeting for 11 am later that day. If H. 3585 was already dead as Sen. Knotts claims, why did he allow someone to speak about the bill at a subcommittee meeting called by Sen. Knotts? Does Sen. Knotts believe it is permissible to waste people's time and have them speak on bills that are already dead, or is Sen. Knotts lying about H. 3585 already being dead as he claimed in his email? Why would Sen. Knotts reschedule the meeting for later that day if the bill was already dead as he now claims?
On April 22, after waiting for an hour past the scheduled subcommittee meeting time of 11 am, the meeting was rescheduled by Sen. Knotts for 3 pm later that same day. Why would Sen. Knotts reschedule the meeting a second time for later that day if the bill was already dead as he now claims? The 3 pm meeting was cancelled later that day.
Sen. Knotts scheduled three different subcommittee meetings for H. 3585 on April 22 - 9 am, 11 am, and 3 pm. Sen. Knotts allowed one person to speak on H. 3585 at the 9 am meeting. Every one of those meetings was not needed if Sen. Knotts was telling the truth and H. 3585 was already dead as Sen. Knotts now claims.
The official LPITS records show that on April 30, Sen. Knotts scheduled a subcommittee meeting for May 5 and that H. 3585 was the ONLY bill on the agenda! I repeat, H. 3585 was the ONLY bill on the agenda. Why would Sen. Knotts schedule a subcommittee meeting solely to consider a bill that Sen. Knotts now claims was dead two weeks prior to when Sen. Knotts scheduled the meeting? Click here to see copy of LPITS meeting list published on General Assembly's web site.
The answer is quite simple, Sen. Knotts is a liar and he has been caught lying to you.
On May 3, Sen. Knotts expanded the agenda for the May 5 meeting to include another bill. Sen. Knotts put H. 3585 as the first item on the agenda. If H. 3585 was already dead as Sen. Knotts now claims, then why did Sen. Knotts revise the subcommittee agenda on May 3 for the May 5 meeting and leave H. 3585 as the first item on the agenda?
On May 5, the official LPITS records show that Sen. Knotts rescheduled the 11 am subcommittee meeting five minutes after the meeting was supposed to have started to 3 pm later that day. Click here to see copy of LPITS subcommittee meeting agenda.
If H. 3585 was already dead, then why did Sen. Knotts change the meeting time from 11am to 3 pm five minutes after the 11 am meeting was supposed to have started and still leave H. 3585 as the first item on the agenda?
On May 5, Sen. Knotts' subcommittee finally voted to carry H. 3585 over, which is a procedural way to kill the bill.
The official LPITS records show that no further action was taken with regards to H. 3585 by either the Senate subcommittee or the Senate Judiciary Committee after the subcommittee vote to carry over H. 3585 on May 5. No further action is exactly what one would expect for a bill that was dead, and the fact that there were subcommittee meetings scheduled for and held on April 22 and May 5 show that H. 3585 was not dead "three weeks ago" as Sen. Knotts claimed in his email of May 5.
If you believe Sen. Knotts is telling the truth, then you also have to believe that Sen. Knotts scheduled multiple meetings for a dead bill and that the fact there was no further action on H. 3585 after GrassRoots and its supporters got involved to kill H. 3585 was just a coincidence.
If you believe GrassRoots is telling the truth, then the fact that Sen. Knotts scheduled and held multiple meetings for H. 3585 meant H. 3585 was still in play and the reason there was no further action on H. 3585 after GrassRoots and its supporters put the heat on Sen. Knotts' subcommittee to kill H. 3585 was because H. 3585 was not dead until May 5.
Using official records provided by the General Assembly's web site, LPITS, and eye witness accounts, here is a time line of actions taken on H. 3585:
|02/17/10||House Roll call vote on H. 3585 Yeas-107 Nays-0|
|02/18/10||House Read third time and sent to Senate|
|02/23/10||Senate Introduced and read first time|
|02/23/10||Senate Referred to Committee on Judiciary|
|02/26/10||Senate Referred to Subcommittee: Knotts (chair), Massey, Coleman|
|04/14/10||date Sen. Knotts claims in email that his subcommittee killed H. 3585|
|04/20/10||Sen. Knotts schedules first subcommittee meeting on H. 3585 for April 22|
||Senate holds first subcommittee meeting on H. 3585 at 9 am;
GrassRoots leadership is there and delivers letters opposing H. 3585;
Sen. Knotts allows one person to speak before meeting is canceled;
Sen. Knotts cancels subcommittee meeting 15 minutes after start;
Sen. Knotts reschedules meeting for 11 am;
no official action taken on H. 3585
||GrassRoots leadership and others wait from 11 am until noon for meeting to start;
at noon, Sen. Knotts reschedules meeting to 3 pm
|04/22/10||Sen. Knotts cancels 3 pm subcommittee meeting via email|
||Sen. Knotts schedules subcommittee meeting on H. 3585 for May 5 at 11 am;
H. 3585 is the ONLY bill on the subcommittee agenda submitted by Sen. Knotts
|05/03/10||Sen. Knotts expands agenda for subcommittee meeting on H. 3585 to include H.4282|
|05/03/10||GrassRoots sends out Action Alert asking people to contact Senate subcommittee voicing opposition to H. 3585|
|05/05/10||Sen. Knotts changes meeting time for subcommittee meeting on H. 3585 to 3 pm|
|05/05/10||Sen. Knotts sends out email at 2:36 pm declaring H. 3585 was dead "three weeks ago" and attacks GrassRoots and its supporters|
||Subcommittee meets at 3 pm and officially votes to carry H. 3585 over, which is the usual way a subcommittee kills a bill;
no further action is taken on H. 3585 for the rest of the legislative session
It should be clear from the above that it is Sen. Knotts who is trying to mislead people, not GrassRoots. And, it should be clear from the above that those of you who said "GrassRoots GunRights speaks for me!" really had an impact on Sen. Knotts and the other members of the subcommittee. Thanks to you, gun owners in SC have been protected from a very bad law.
Sen. Knotts made other accusations that insulted your intelligence, and GrassRoots GunRights leaders heard from many of you who took offense at what Sen. Knotts wrote to you.
As many of you pointed out, even though you told Sen. Knotts that "GrassRoots GunRights speaks for me!", that does NOT mean that GrassRoots GunRights thinks for you. GrassRoots GunRights provides a service to you - we analyze proposed legislation and we organize either support or opposition to legislation. But, it is YOU that makes the final decision as to whether or not to take action. You make your own decisions, you are not robots.
Sen. Knotts is like most other politicians - they do not like organized opposition to legislation they favor. Organized opposition means there could be a price to pay come election season for betraying gun owners during legislative season. Sen. Knotts is simply trying to divide and conquer gun owners by lying to you about the effectiveness of organized opposition. So, the next time you decide to contact Sen. Knotts, make sure you let him know that "GrassRoots GunRights speaks for me!"
Sen. Knotts claims "GrassRoots is trying to create a rift between those of us who are members of the NRA and members of GrassRoots." Once again, Sen. Knotts is lying.
First, and most important, most GrassRoots members are also members of the NRA. Thus, if GrassRoots did as Sen. Knotts accuses us of doing, we would be dividing our own membership. GrassRoots is not that stupid.
GrassRoots looked at all of the emails from NRA-ILA regarding legislation in SC. Not a single email from the NRA ever mentioned H. 3585. Thus, it is fair to assume the NRA was in the same boat as GrassRoots was in - i.e., the NRA most likely never heard of H. 3585 just as GrassRoots never heard of H. 3585 until it was already in Sen. Knotts' subcommittee.
It is wrong for Sen. Knotts to infer the NRA supported H. 3585, which could never be considered a pro-gun bill. And, since there is no evidence the NRA ever supported H. 3585, no rift could be created when GrassRoots opposed H. 3585.
The only rift that is being created is one between gun owners and Sen. Knotts. Sen. Knotts has lied about GrassRoots, lied about H. 3585, insulted the intelligence of GrassRoots supporters, and maligned the NRA by inferring the NRA supported H. 3585. Gun owners need to remember this during election season.
GrassRoots agrees you should get reliable information. Unfortunately, Sen. Knotts has stooped to new lows in his lies and attacks upon GrassRoots, the NRA, and gun owners who opposed H. 3585. Sen. Knotts has proven you can not rely upon him for reliable information.
You - the gun owners who contacted the Senate subcommittee - are responsible for killing the anti-gun owner H. 3585. Thank you.
If you have any questions regarding this issue, please feel free to call or contact GrassRoots leadership