Mission statement:

Armed and Safe is a gun rights advocacy blog, with the mission of debunking the "logic" of the enemies of the Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms.

I can be reached at 45superman@gmail.com.You can follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/45superman.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Holding the line

After having drifted away from a gun forum on which I was once quite active (1911 forum), I've recently started hanging around again. That's a good thing, because otherwise I would have missed some words of wisdom that I think need more exposure. The author occasionally leaves comments on this blog, and has given me permission to reprint his advice to gun owners concerned about the hostile political climate we are now entering.

Attitude and Action

I have seen a seemingly defeatist attitude on a number of pro-2A sites in light of the recent elections. We are giving the gungrabbers the wrong impression. Here are some thoughts I have on the issue—feel free to post these ideas on other sites (e.g., AR-15.com, APS, THR, TFL, etc.).

1. Appropriate Attitude

We should not embolden the enemy by seemingly accepting the inevitability of more 2A infringements, like a new AWB or ammo taxes. Our enemies need to know that our resolve is strong and that infringements will be met at every chokepoint (legislative and judicial). Drawing the line at attempted house-to-house confiscation is simply not acceptable—the “tooth and nail” fight begins now.

2. Individuals Have Standing

Heller makes it clear that individuals, not organizations, have a right to keep and bear arms. This gives individuals standing to challenge infringement of that right—we do not need to wait for criminal charges to ensure that this right is not infringed. It would appear that courts are now forced to recognize that individuals can seek various forms of relief, including injunctive relief preventing the enforcement of laws, if there is a substantial likelihood of success on the claim that their individual right to keep/bear arms is being infringed. These cases can no longer be thrown out under the “collective theory” of rights (e.g., only the militia has rights under the 2A). I realize that incorporation still needs to occur, but the dicta in Heller all but insures incorporation.

3. “Arms” Include Semi-Auto Weapons

The only categorical restriction that Heller allows with respect to firearm type is that “dangerous and unusual” weapons may be regulated; even then, there is language in the Heller case that seems to suggest that these types of weapons are only subject to limitation in the “bearing” (e.g, carrying) context. Some relevant text in Heller states:
It may be objected that if weapons that are most useful in military service—M-16 rifles and the like—may be banned, then the Second Amendment right is completely detached from the prefatory clause. But as we have said, the conception of the militia at the time of the Second Amendment’s ratification was the body of all citizens capable of military service, who would bring the sorts of lawful weapons that they possessed at home to militia duty. It may well be true today that a militia, to be as effective as militias in the 18th century, would require sophisticated arms that are highly unusual in society at large. Indeed, it may be true that no amount of small arms could be useful against modern-day bombers and tanks. But the fact that modern developments have limited the degree of fit between the prefatory clause and the protected right cannot change our interpretation of the right.
Heller at pp. 55-56.

Strong arguments exist that semi-auto battle rifles (not full autos) are the “sorts of lawful weapons that [we] possess[] at home” and are therefore exactly the type of weapons protected by the 2A. The argument that full autos (“M-16 rifles and the like”) were made less-than-commonplace by infringing laws (a circularity not addressed in Heller) is probably an argument for another day—MGs seem to scare people too much. Indeed, the semi-auto platform (rifle and pistol) is likely the most popular firearms type available today (just look at all the recent purchases ).

4. The Government Now Needs Much More Than Just a “Rational Basis”

While the Supreme Court did not come out and say it in Heller, strict scrutiny applies to the analysis of pretty much every individual freedom enumerated in the Bill of Rights. If the government wants to propose limitations on the 2A, “because we say so” is no longer enough—the government must show that a compelling interest is served by the proposed regulation. The 1994 AWB already shows that AWBs do nothing to protect the public or in any way impact crime rates. Same concept applies to standard capacity magazines—limitations have no beneficial effect. Indeed choir, only the law-abiding abide by the law. They will try to use statistics to “prove” their point, but a tie goes to the runner here (increased scrutiny requires the court to “err” on the side of non-infringement).

5. Indirect Attacks

I have seen many people lamenting high ammo taxes and the like. There is an old adage in the law—“you cannot do indirectly that which you are prohibited from doing directly.” How long would people stand for prohibitive federal taxes on internet access, or printer cartridges, or paper before 1A challenges were waged? Without ammunition, a gun is just an unwieldy club (or a paperweight). Ammunition is an essential component of a functioning firearm—it cannot be separated from the firearm itself—to enact restrictions on ammo (either directly or via taxation) is no different than directly imposing restrictions on the arms themselves. People with at least 2 functioning synapses will understand this—educate them.

6. We Need Friends

Get out and educate people when you have the opportunity. Let them know that the 2A has nothing to do with hunting or sporting purposes—it is, at its core, a tyranny deterrent. I would love to see more people in the law enforcement community be vocal on these points. If you have taken an oath to defend the Constitution, step up and let people know that you will not tolerate (or enforce) direct or indirect infringements of the 2A.
To that, I'd like to add one more point of my own. We often hear (and I have been guilty of saying) things like "Our gun rights are in danger." That's playing right into the other side's hands. Our unalienable rights can't be taken away--else they would be "alienable." Recognition of our rights is in danger--if we are less than steadfast in demanding it--but the rights themselves are forever.

If we don't force the government--by whatever means necessary--to honor them, those rights are wasted on us.



Anonymous said...

Thanks for spreading the word, Kurt. Rather than just talk, I have a proposal.

Operation Pencil Pusher

Here is my modest proposed course of action for the near term. I think someone over at AR-15.com is proposing something similar, but has not been as simple/direct about it.

1. Someone like Oleg Volk, David Codrea or you, Kurt, should set up a simple web page/secure a domain name dedicated solely to the limited purpose of providing the following weekly updated information:

a. Person in the Spotlight—a select committee (again, maybe Codrea, Volk and yourself) should choose one sponsor of a federal anti-gun bill each week and list their contact information (for correspondence);

b. Bill Summary—the bill at issue should be briefly summarized in a way that everyone from Fudds on up to hardcore 2A supporters can understand;

c. Talking Points—a brief list of talking points should be provided for the letters our friends will send;

d. Closing—a proposed closing for the letter should be provided that asks why the legislator feels it is appropriate to propose such infringements and that the sender will be letting the legislators’ constituents know about their actions

e. Instructions—the web page should include an explanation of what the goal of the letter drive is and that the letter should be sent in hard copy form to the “person in the spotlight” and carbon copied to the senders’ Representative and Senators (a link so people can find their respective Rep/Senator contacts should also be provided).

2. A focused effort needs to be made, once the page is up and running (or even before, if we have a target first letter mailing date of say Dec. 1st), to get as many pro-gun websites in the US as we can (State concealed carry sites, national sites like TFL and THR, and weapon-specific sites like AR-15, 1911 and AK) to provide a sticky or other direct link to the OPP site.

3. The goal here is to have various sponsors of restrictive/infringing bills get inundated with 5, 10 or 20k+ letters each week. They need to know that an organized group of people are keeping an eye on them and expect answers. If the volume of physical letters received gets high enough, we could get some positive press out of this. There are many sites that request that people send letters to Congress--this would focus those tributaries into a torrent directed at the most deserving recipients.

Let me know what you think.


Kurt '45superman' Hofmann said...

That's another idea with merit, Alltheway.

I don't think I can ask David to get involved with it--he's already burning the candle at both ends (and maybe keeping some heat on the middle, too).

Oleg Volokh is another good name, but he, I'm sure, has no idea who I am, and I don't think I'm really in a position to propose starting a project together.

I might try to take it on myself--maybe invite some other gun bloggers to join me.

There's some time to figure it out before the 111th Congress starts.

Anonymous said...

That piece was on the mark. Here is a rant I wrote and put out in some of the local gun stores several years ago. Lord, make that about 10 years ago. I think it addresses our main problem. Feel free to take it, taylor it for your state, and use it.

In California there are at least 6,000,000 firearms owners, yet we
have some of the most draconian and Byzantine firearms laws in the
country. Why? Because too many of us are content to sit and
but are unwilling to take half an hour a week to do anything about
Most of us would rather stand around at the range or in a gun shop
and spend a couple of hours debating the merits of .300 Magnum over
the latest .270 super short ultra mag. Can you find five minutes a
day to support your civil rights? That is all it takes. If you
give that little amount of time, you deserve to have your guns
legislated away from you. Imagine if in your assembly district
gun owner called his or her assembly member once a week to complain
about restrictive firearms legislation. Say there are only 15,000
owners in your district (with 80 districts that comes to 1.2
a far cry from all the legal gun owners in the state) and each one
makes a call once a week which takes 3 minutes of staff time. It
would take 750 man-hours per WEEK just to listen to gun owners
complain about restrictive gun laws. That would mean that every
member of the Assembly would need almost 19 full time staff
members to
do nothing but pay attention to our calls. Think they might hear
After all, politicians are concerned with numbers.

There are five calls you need to make each week – to one assembly
member, one state senator, one member of the House of
and two members of the US Senate. That is what it will take, each
us calling once a week to make our views known.

Yes, you may belong to the NRA or Gun Owners of America, or the
California Rifle and Pistol Association, but so what? Do you think
that absolves you from taking personal responsibility for what
happens? YOU are responsible for protecting your rights. No one
can do it for you.

Joe in CA

chris horton said...

Thanks for the link,Kurt.

It's not just the 2A that could be destroyed,though I think it's the most important of them all.

We're in for some "change" allright,even blogs like ours!

And I'll resist them all.


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Kurt. I was referring to Oleg Volk, the person that originally formed THR and Armed Polite Society, not the law professor--but if we could get him on board too that would be great. ;) I have no technical skills whatsoever, but am willing to assist in planning/input/etc. Let me know.


Kurt '45superman' Hofmann said...

I was referring to Oleg Volk, the person that originally formed THR and Armed Polite Society, not the law professor--but if we could get him on board too that would be great. ;)

Oops--I think I had kinda combined them in my mind, into a kind of "Super Oleg" ;-).

Anonymous said...

My gun rights are in far less danger than those who would try to take them.

Anonymous said...

To loosely paraphrase U.S.Grant,"Quit worrying about what Bobby Lee can do to you, it is time to make Bobby Lee worry about what we will do to him."

Oops, I think I see a parallel.

Anonymous said...

I just wrote to my Rep, (won't do any good - Nancy Polosi) to vote against HR6257 when it comes up for a vote. I explained that it would violate the 2nd Amendment. Doubt she will even read it.