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I had one of those “Thank God for the NRA” moments today

“No news is good news.”

That old saying has a counterpart: “Good news is no news.” We gun owners usually notice that one when the dead tree media refuses to report on law abiding citizens using firearms in self defense. Unless, of course, if the story involves a 17-year old thug who looked really cute back when he was 9. They’ll report that. But I digress…

A place where we don’t notice this particular saying in action is when bad gun laws don’t happen. We don’t notice how often NRA lobbyists and volunteers stop a bad bill in its tracks quicker than a mule deer meeting 165 gr of lead and copper at 2500 feet per second. Because those volunteers and “The Building” keep a close eye on what’s happening in Congress and in State legislatures across the country, good news becomes no news for too many of us. We only notice what’s happening in government when a bad bill gets signed into law.

What caused me to think about this was a non-gun story out of California. The California Homebrewers Association posted this notice on their website:

On October 1, 2013, Governor Brown signed into law a Committee Bill that is being interpreted by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to prohibit homebrew festivals like ours.The bill was originally written to allow the donation of home brewed beer and wine to be used for fundraising purposes by worthy non-profit organizations, but excludes groups that “promote home production of beer or wine, or whose membership is composed primarily of home brewers or home winemakers”.

This bill, A. B. 1425, is now law. I’m sorry to have to say this, but the CHA and other homebrewers’ organizations are a little late to the legislative party. There’s little to do now that doesn’t include getting tears in your barleywine.

I’m sure that more than a few homebrewers are asking “How did this happen?”.  I’m a homebrewer and this is the first I’ve heard of this bill; after the fact. One reason is that there’s no organization of homebrewers out there with over 5 million members. That means no lobbyists, no lawyers on retainer, and no volunteers watching the Legislature. No legislative updates. No grassroots alerts. And because of that, no one noticed what was being crafted by the legislature in Sacramento.

The law in question wasn’t veiled in legalese. Lawmakers didn’t pull a fast one. The law is a rather plainly worded ban on festivals like the CHA’s. The only thing that stopped it from getting noticed was that no one was paying attention from within the homebrewers’ community.

Quite simply put, they didn’t have an NRA looking out for them.

Posted in Legislation, News.

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