One of my favorite phrases from a politician is when they talk about wanting to “start a conversation” on a given topic, like guns. It usually comes from the left, but it’s not exclusive to them, and it usually translates to mean “shut up and let me tell you what to think.”

We know this because of how often people try to silence those they disagree with during these so-called “conversations.”

This is especially troubling when it comes to constitutional rights like owning guns.

Bad as it is, though, at least most of the people trying to drown you out don’t have any real power. Yet when a lawmaker does it, it’s especially troubling, and we live in an era where trying to silence your opponents is a tried-and-true method for far too many people.

The downside for them is that when stuff like this happens, it never looks like an accident.

A Hawaii gun rights group is planning to file an ethics complaint after its members discovered nearly 700 pieces of testimony emailed to a Senate committee were missing from the legislature’s records.

The messages were submitted to the Senate Public Safety Committee’s email address for five bills relating to guns.

“People were upset. These people had gone through the process of submitting testimony. Some of them pretty lengthy,” said Andrew Namiki Roberts, director of the Hawaii Firearms Coalition.

The claim is that a clerk saw the messages and thought they were spam, so they didn’t handle them properly.

Now, let’s keep in mind that Hawaii is a very anti-gun state. Let’s also keep in mind that, as noted earlier, we live in a world where people try to silence their opponents.

With all that, is there any reason that I shouldn’t call this a steaming pile of male bovine excrement?

I have no proof, but this just reeks of someone in that office deciding that gun rights activists in the state didn’t deserve to be treated appropriately. I find it very hard to believe that some 700 people providing testimony to lawmakers emailed their testimony with titles promising free cruises or anything that would have justified marking them as spam.

No, I’d be willing to put large sums of money I don’t actually have down that this wasn’t incompetence but maliciousness. I usually assume the former in most cases and am usually right when I do so, but I have a hard time believing this was just an accident. Not by any stretch of the imagination.

That said, I’m not going to speculate on who made the call. Lawmakers themselves may have clean hands (for once) and it simply could have been an activist-minded clerk who figured he or she could get away with it. If so, they’re probably right. I sincerely doubt there will be any action taken against the employee.

Instead, we’ll see a shrug, an “our bad,” and they’ll proceed like nothing ever happened.

Why? Because in the minds of anti-gun folks, we’re not really people, which means means they can treat us however. That includes ignoring our testimony and pretending it’s spam.