You can be bitterly disappointed when a “friend” turns out to be something else…

In politics, friends are few and far between. Harry Truman supposedly said “You want a friend in Washington? Get a dog.” In “real life”, you don’t have to hold your friends’ feet to the fire. In politics, you almost always have to.

A case in point is this interview with conservative stalwart Phyllis Schlafly. This isn’t a gun-related article, nor should you view this post as an endorsement or rejection of any candidate in either party. It’s merely an observation. Mrs. Schlafly, and many other conservatives, are bitterly disappointed with Florida senator Marco Rubio. More generally, they’re angry with the GOP establishment.

“Once he got elected, he betrayed us all,” she told WND. “He said he was against amnesty and against the establishment. And once he got in, right away, he became an agent of the establishment…

“He’s a lackey for the establishment now,” she said. “There’s no question they’re picking up as Plan B – or maybe Plan C in this election cycle, or whatever we’re on now – but he certainly is an establishment agent.”

But I wouldn’t fault either Rubio or the “establishment” for what Schlafly sees as a betrayal. Conservatives who are now angry at Rubio saw what they wanted to see; a friend. What they failed to do is add the words “for now” to that description. They also failed to hold his feet to the fire on the issues they care about. And now they’re surprised that he wasn’t singing gooble gobble along with them.

Gun owners often make this same mistake. We recognize our foes, like Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, mostly because they self-identify. Does anyone doubt that Dianne Feinstein finds gun owners to be a bunch of loathsome freaks? But how often have we seen “friends”, particularly ones with a little “R” after their names, where we should have seen something less? The next President could very likely be a Republican and someone not considered to be an establishment candidate. This doesn’t mean that gun owners should then breathe a sigh of relief. Some of you may not remember this, but the only thing standing between us and a renewal of the Clinton Assault Weapon Ban was not George W. Bush; it was a bipartisan, pro-gun coalition in Congress. Bush had promised to sign a ban of it reached his desk. It never got there because gun owners knew to hold certain feet to certain fires.

So come November 9th, don’t start singing. Get ready to stoke some fires.

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The Brady Campaign is in the bag for Hillary Clinton. Brady president Dan Gross has been bashing Bernie Sanders on her behalf for his old positions on gun rights. Gross ignores the fact that the old Commie has long since thrown law abiding Vermonters under the bus. But then again, Gross is easily confused.

Take, for example, his repeated claims that “Brady background checks have blocked more than 2.4 million gun sales to prohibited purchasers like convicted violent criminals, domestic abusers and the dangerously mentally ill.” But as John Lott points out, nearly all of these “blocked” sales later went through.

In 2010, the last year that the Department of Justice’s annual report on the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) was released, it showed that 94 percent of “initial denials” were dropped after the first internal fact check. A 2004 review by Congress found that another two percent were dropped when the cases were sent out to BATFE field offices. Many more cases were dropped during the three remaining stages of review.

So in reality, roughly 84,000 sales were stopped since November of 1998. During the same period, there were over 228,000,000 NICS checks that were not rejected. So the great success Gross touts is a rejection rate of .04%. Math was involved, as well as a Google search, so I’m sure you understand how confusing this must have been for him.

Something else that confuses Dan is The Onion. He doesn’t seem to understand that it’s a parody site and not a news outlet. And to think that he’s convinced that he knows more about guns than we do.

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Gun transfers for January, 2016, set another record. There were 2.5 million NICS checks run, the highest number ever for a January.

And apparently, I’ve been using some outdated numbers. I’ve used the number 300,000,000 several times of late to describe the US civilian arsenal. I was unaware that the Washington Post estimated the number to be as high as 357 million in 2013. If that’s true, then there could now be 400 million firearms  in the hands of the American People. That’s roughly 1.2 guns per person.

I apologize for any inconvenience cause by those erroneous numbers. 😉

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We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

-The U.S. Declaration of Independence

Like the other founding documents of our Republic, the Declaration of Independence was written in late 18th Century English. It follows forms and usages of the period that may or may not have survived to our early 21st Century English. It uses words that are familiar to us, but not necessarily in common use. “Unalienable” is one of those words. As an example of how the language has changed since 1776, we have since substituted the alternate spelling “inalienable”. But both words have the same meaning and this meaning may be lost on modern readers.

unalienable
ən-ˈāl-yə-nə-bəl

1. Adj. Not to be separated, given away, or taken away; inalienable

When a right is unalienable, this means not only that you cannot be deprived of it, but that you cannot push it away from yourself even if you tried. To do so would violate the laws of nature. It would be like swearing off breathing! While there are indeed ways to stop yourself from breathing, they all end with your death. The 17th Century English philosopher Thomas Hobbes defined a law of nature as:

A LAW OF NATURE, (Lex Naturalis,) is a Precept, or generall Rule, found out by Reason, by which a man is forbidden to do, that, which is destructive of his life, or taketh away the means of preserving the same; and to omit, that, by which he thinketh it may be best preserved.

Leviathan, Chapter XIV

Like the laws of gravity or motion, the laws of nature and the rights that flow from them cannot be undone by wishing them away. Force is equal to mass multiplied by acceleration whether you like it or not. The rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness exist whether you like it or not.

The right to keep and bear arms flows from the right to life. If you have the right to life, you have the right to “the means of preserving the same”.  If you renounce the right to arms, you renounce the right to life. But the latter is that “which a man is forbidden to do, … which is destructive of his life”. But that doesn’t stop people from trying. Most of Europe has renounced the right to arms. They’ve gone further and renounced the very right to self-defense. Indeed, there are parts of Europe where you can find yourself facing charges for doing that which nature demands.

So why do I bring this up? As you will recall, Massachusetts State Representative Paul Heroux posed several questions for gun owners as part of his “thought experiment.” One of these was asked regarding a “Constitutional” law that banned firearms: Would you follow the new law of the land that was legitimately established, just as laws allowing the possession of a firearm have been legitimately established? (Remember that by Constitutional he meant a law that was either allowed to stand by the Supreme Court or one that followed a repeal of the 2nd Amendment.) First, there’s one flaw to the question that should be obvious by now. Laws do not allow you to do that which you already have a right to do. Your right to self preservation predates the Constitution and the 2nd Amendment. It does not rely on laws for its existence. Nor does your right to “the means of preserving the same”. Those rights have always existed and they always will.

Ignoring the question’s flaw, the answer is “no.” This is not because I’m being stubborn or contrary. There may be some reason why I might genuinely wish to obey such a law. The answer is no because I cannot obey such a law; anymore than I could agree to stop breathing. Obeying such a law would ultimately put my life in danger; either from a criminal who isn’t obeying the new law or from the government that wanted me disarmed in the first place. At that point, I would either lose my life attempting to defy the laws of nature or instinct would take over and I would “reclaim” a right I was incapable of surrendering all along; a right that is, in fact, unalienable.

As mentioned before, comments on Heroux’s thought experiment from those who value the right to keep and bear arms predict civil war would result if the 2nd Amendment were either repealed or rendered inoperative. Hobbes posited as his 1st Law of Nature:

And consequently it is a precept, or generall rule of Reason, “That every man, ought to endeavour Peace, as farre as he has hope of obtaining it; and when he cannot obtain it, that he may seek, and use, all helps, and advantages of Warre.” The first branch, of which Rule, containeth the first, and Fundamentall Law of Nature; which is, “To seek Peace, and follow it.” The Second, the summe of the Right of Nature; which is, “By all means we can, to defend our selves.”

Leviathan, Chapter XIV

I find it inconceivable that a government that wants me disarmed has my best interests at heart. (Yes, I did use that word. And yes, I do know what it means!) It either actively seeks to harm me or it does not care if I am harmed by a criminal. In either case, the end is the same: I am being denied peace. As such, I “may seek, and use, all helps, and advantages of Warre.” This would start with ignoring a “Constitutional” law that violates my natural rights. It’s not so much that I won’t obey such a law; it’s that I can’t.

Legal Politics Self-defense

From NRA-ILA:

Fairfax, Va.— Chris W. Cox, the executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, issued the following statement in reaction to today’s ruling by the federal 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in the Kolbe v. Maryland case.  The case challenges the legality of Maryland’s 2013 ban on so-called assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. The 2-1 decision sends the gun-control law back to a lower court for review because it “implicates the core protection of the Second Amendment.”

“The Fourth Circuit’s ruling is an important victory for the Second Amendment.  Maryland’s ban on commonly owned firearms and magazines clearly violates our fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense.  The highest level of judicial scrutiny should apply when governments try to restrict our Second Amendment freedoms.” – Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action


Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America’s oldest civil rights and sportsmen’s group. More than five million members strong, NRA continues to uphold the Second Amendment and advocates enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation’s leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the armed services. Be sure to follow the NRA on Facebook at NRA on Facebook and Twitter @NRA.

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The 4th Circuit has overturned a lower court ruling that had upheld Maryland’s ban on “scary looking” semi-automatic firearms. In Kolbe v. O’Malley, the district court applied “intermediate scrutiny” to the case. The appellate court found that this was in error; “Strict scrutiny” should have been applied. The case has been remanded to the lower court with instructions to apply strict scrutiny.

Some commentators are saying that this ruling places the 4th and 7th circuits in tension. That will depend upon what the district court does next. The district court could remain obstinate and twist the law into whatever shape it pleases to get the same ruling. If the 4th Circuit goes on to approve that ruling, then there would be no tension. However, if the 4th circuit refused to go along with a ruling like that, or if the district court now strikes down the law, then there would be tension between the circuits. This tension could trigger a review by the Supreme Court.

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From the first I saw no chance of bettering the condition of the freedman until he should cease to be merely a freedman and should become a citizen.frederick_douglass I insisted that there was no safety for him or for anybody else in America outside the American government; that to guard, protect, and maintain his liberty the freedman should have the ballot; that the liberties of the American people were dependent upon the ballot-box, the jury-box, and the cartridge-box; that without these no class of people could live and flourish in this country; and this was now the word for the hour with me, and the word to which the people of the North willingly listened when I spoke. Hence, regarding as I did the elective franchise as the one great power by which all civil rights are obtained, enjoyed, and maintained under our form of government, and the one without which freedom to any class is delusive if not impossible, I set myself to work with whatever force and energy I possessed to secure this power for the recently-emancipated millions.

-Frederick Douglass, born February 1818

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Many an aspiring gun banner fantasizes about repealing the 2nd Amendment; either literally, through the Constitutional process, or functionally, through governmental fiat. If they’re viewing their war on your gun rights as a chess match, they probably see that event as checkmate. It’s not. It’s just another move. What they never seem to consider is how their endgame should proceed from there.

If the 2nd Amendment were either repealed or rendered impotent by the courts (Imagine what an “Obama Court” might do if Hillary Clinton had her way!), there still remains the problem of what to do with the existing American gun inventory. There are over 300,000,000 firearms in the hands of over 100,000,000 people who may not be willing to cooperate with a “Mr. and Mrs. America, turn ’em all in” law. Many pro-gun people have written about how events might play out should this sort of thing come to pass. (The consensus is “ugly”, by the way.) The latest is from a pro-gun, Massachusetts Democrat. State Representative Paul Heroux offers this “thought experiment” in the Huffington Post.  Heroux asks:

  • What would you do if all of the requirements of Article V of the Constitution were met and the Second Amendment was repealed?
  • What would you do if the Second Amendment was effectively repealed by a US Supreme Court ruling that the right to bear arms does apply to an individual, but only individuals in a militia?
  • If the defense of the Second Amendment rests in reference to the Constitution as it stands now, what argument would you use if the Constitution was changed to no longer protect the individual right to bear arms?
  • As a law abiding gun owner, would you give up your guns?
  • What do you think would happen to violent crime rates, accidental shootings and suicides?
  • Would you follow the new law of the land that was legitimately established, just as laws allowing the possession of a firearm have been legitimately established?

The article’s comments split into two camps: Pro-gun people predicting civil war and anti-gun people scoffing at the idea. It’s that latter group that isn’t thinking things through.

The pro-gun people commenting often cite the protection the 2nd Amendment provides against tyranny. The anti-gun people have a curious response to this: They both mock the idea that a government that would ban arms would actually be a tyranny and then encourage tyrannical acts as a way to enforce their gun ban. They call for use of military force to confiscate guns from the American People. They seem to want the civil war other predict. For a bunch of people who say they want to save lives, they’re awfully bloodthirsty.

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