Saturday, May 07, 2005

Love & Bullets — A Libertarian Agenda

SOOOOOOOO...I hesitate to use the word demand, because we've used it so often in the past and it was mostly just smoke.

However, FWIW, here's what I think we have every right to expect from our political leaders (and I use that word advisedly), from our industry and oour organizations and, most importantly, from ourselves.

From Our Political Leaders

Here's a flash — we elected you! Talk all you want about the religious right, gay marriage, blah blah. In the end, it's the middle-of-the-road Republicans, especially the often-ignored libertarian wing of the party, that put your butts in those plush seats in the statehouses and in Washington. We came out and voted for you because we expect you to do certain things for us, in between your endless dabbling in the various culture wars. Here's a short, reasonable list of what you should consider as payback:

Lawsuit Preemption: I know we're all tired of hearing about this, but the firearms industry can not take another $40 million round of bullshit lawsuits. Pass the damn bill! Without a bunch of California Democrat amendments!

Reciprocity for CCW Holders: Hey, it works for the other state-issued nationally recognized plastic card — the drivers license. It needs to work for concealed carry permits as well. Yes, the Schumer and Pelosi axis will scream bloody murder, but remember, we elected you!

And End to "Gun-Free" Cities: Chicago, New York and Washington D.C. are — more or less — part of the United States; why not make Consitutional guarantees apply to those cities?

No More "Free Rides" For B-S Antigun Politicans: So some brain-dead state attorney in NY decides that federal safe transit laws don't apply at New York airports? Federal laws don't apply on federal property? Haul his sorry ass before Congress and make his answer for his political manipulations. Make him sweat.

From Our Industry:

Wake Up! This election wasn't the end of the battle. How about let's consoilidate some of our gains, so we don't have to fight the same battles all over again in 4, 8 or 12 years?

Recognize Sport Shooters for the Power We Are: Hunting is a good thing, but it is not everything. We are the majority, we are growing, and right now we're still letting you guys set the agenda. That will not always be true, so step up. Today!

Absolutely Accept/Internalize/Believe That an Attack on One is an Attack on All: It doesn't matter whether it's .50 caliber rifles or sporting clays shotguns. An antigun attack on a specific fireaqrm or caliber is an attack on everyone and deserves the appropriate response industrywide. We know that; why don't you?

Embrace Concealed Carry/Self-Defense: That is the primary driver for firearms sales in the United States — remember, I'm privvy to your own numbers! Even if you make sandbags for benchrest shooters, speak out in favor of CCW and self-defense!

For God's Sake Deal With the Media! You know how; we've taught you how! But you still act like it's 1962 and you're hiding from Walter Conkrite. We need a newsroom for shooting sport releases; we need an organized response to antigun attacks; we need training for organizations, companies and clubs; we need industry participation with film and television producers. Yes, it's expensive, but you have the money! We gave it to you.

From Our Organizations

Quit Squabbling Right Now! There is no difference between USPSA, IDPA, cowboy, sporting clays, .50 caliber precision shooting — we all have the same recruitment and retention needs, the same political agenda and the same screaming need to grow, grow, grow. This isn't about redistributing market share anymore.

Organize! Let's take a page out of the Left's playbook — if the people lead, the leaders will follow! If two or more organization heads called a meeting of the leaders of the shooting sports to discuss an umbrella organization with a shooting sports-specific agenda, I'll bet the progressive leaders of this industry will be on board pronto!

Recognize! Increase participation for other shooting sports in your shooting sports. Embrace the other shooting sports; invite them to partner with you. That is how we will get stronger.

Eschew Elitism: I live in a state filled with private membership shooting organizations...we can, but you can't. Who thinks elitism is a good idea??? The more "elite" you are, the more you serve the interests of Sarah Brady and her ilk!

From Ourselves

This is the hardest part, isn't it?

Be "out!" Be visible as a gunowner, as a sport shooter, as a hunter. Be a role model. The public at large and the media (and Hollywood, etc.) don't realize how large a group we actually are. It's time to be out of the gun closet!

Refuse to Tolerate People Who Break the Law: Period. Exclamation point! Almost a decade ago in HANDGUNS Magazine I wrote that I would not tolerate lawbreakers under any conditions. If you do straw purchases, build Class III stuff with the appropriate licenses, deal in black market hardware...I will turn your butt in to my friends at the ATF, because you are my enemy!

Set an Example: I secure my guns. I don't even have children , nor are there children who ever visit, but my guns are secured in their safes — with the exception of my carry gun, which is secured on my person. I insist on the highest level of safety. I practice regularly, take training classes and I compete, because shooting well is a perishable skill.

Embrace Our Friends! If you carry a gun, keep a gun for protection, compete with a gun, hunt, defend the Second Amendment, I'm on your side, regardless of race, color, creed, gender, sexual orientation or national origin. This is an absolute with me, and it should be with you, too.

Okay, there's an outline for what needs to happen, at least from my point of view...



Publicola said...

Many thoughts, but the most pressing one concerns;

"Refuse to Tolerate People Who Break the Law: Period. Exclamation point! Almost a decade ago in HANDGUNS Magazine I wrote that I would not tolerate lawbreakers under any conditions. If you do straw purchases, build Class III stuff with the appropriate licenses, deal in black market hardware...I will turn your butt in to my friends at the ATF, because you are my enemy!"

So a person is your enemy because he/she refuses to obey unconstitutional laws? You'd turn in someone who is merely exercising a Right that should not be encumbered to that group of incompetent tax boys with delusions of grandeur?

Colorado's laws are relatively mild, but would you condone turning in someone in Illinois who possess a flintlock without an FOID? Drop a dime simply because someone saw the danger of gun owner registration & refused to be a willing participant? Or me, who refuses to beg for permission & pay a bribe in order to carry whether or not someone else can see it?

Civil disobedience is not something to be frowned upon. Or else the day will come when the law dictates that any firearm must have a pink bow tied around its barrel & we'd further turn on ourselves over whether or not to obey such a silly law.

Concentrate on actions - people who use firearms to other detriment unjustifiably. But turning someone in for ignoring a prior restraint based law is not noble or helpful, it's a very harmful reinforcement of the principle behind such laws: that mere possession of an object equates to being someone with unjustifiably harmful intent.

Everything else I agree with you on to some degree or the other. My recommendations would be slightly different but I think we could work with what you've layed down. Except for ratting out gun owners who ignore laws that violate the Constitution or their Rights. On that there must not be compromise if we are to truly value our Constitution or our Rights.

Michael Bane said...

Tough questions, Publicola, and I'm not sure I have all the answers. For the most part, I don't care about violation of state laws/local statutes regarding the carrying and possession of firearm, which, of course, makes me a hypocrite. Guilty as charged.

I do draw a very specific line when it comes to the whole issue of "civil disobedience." Civil disobedience is a public act; its nature is to force a government or a society to address an issue, say, the Civil Rights movement in the 1950s and early 1960s. I have broken laws publicly, because I thought they should be broken.

Building unpapered machineguns in your backyard is not an act of civil disobedience. It is, at the very least, an act of masturbation; at the worst, an act of commerce that puts us all at risk. Ditto a straw purchase.

As long as the consequences of your actions are *on you,* I don't care what you do. But when the consequences of your actions fall on me, that situation changes quickly.

The problem with talking "unconstitutional" is that we've now waded into a purely subjective swamp. I have friends who argue passionately and with conviction that the Constitution guarantees the right to possess the occasional missile — a position I don't particularly agree with. Because they say it's unconstitutional for the government to prohibit missile ownership, does that mean such laws are unconstitutional? If we all decide that we are no longer obligated to obey any law if we think that law is "unconstitutional," does that make a better or worse society?

Let's talk about Illinois, as a matter of fact. there's a *reason* I live in Colorado and not Illinois (or California, even though there would be huge advantages for my professional career — and wallet — with such a move). The entire state has allowed itself to be held prisoner by Chicago and the Daley machine; as an industry, what have we done? Moved the Grand to Illinois. Continued to run national matches in Illinois. Continued to do business with our enemies. Read Ronnie Barrett's position paper on The Gun Zone!

There are indeed laws that must be disobeyed — any national registration law, for example. I have not and do not frown on civil disobedience. But I have seen damn little of it and far too many weasels cloaking themselves under that blanket.

As I said earlier, I don't have a universal answer here. From the beginning, the path I have chosen is to fight the public fight. I want the gun culture to be the predominent culture in the United States. The steps I take are to that end. I don't claim to have a lock on the only path. I don't know whether this clarifies my views or muddies the water, but I suspect that's pretty much reality in lots of things.

Thanks, dude! And we WILL go shooting one of these days!


Publicola said...

Talking specifically on the NFA of 34 - I've got a post up that covers US v Miller & how the correct interpretation of that does in fact invalidate the NFA. The circuits have misread, misinterpretated & downright lied. But the point is it's not just arguable froma certain perspective, it's persuasively arguable that that 1939 SCOTUs case should be used to wipe the NFA off the books.

There are some circuit court decisions - from the 9th of all places - which say that if you build a machine gun (& by extension a short barreled shotgun, rifle or sound suppresor) for your own use in your own state then that doesn't fall under interstate commerce & the NFA isn't applicable. So again it's not just a case of the constitution means whatever I say it means.

But looking at the bigger picture - a constitution that can be interpreted by only a few people is little better (if any) than the list of rules on Animal Farm. I believe Franklin said it was our duty & Right to read, understand & interpret the constitution for ourselves. & that makes sense. Sure, you'd have some people claiming that building nukes is within their Rights, but is that not preferable to the government saying eveyr law they pass is constitutional because of some acrobatic logic that defies all but a beauracrats sense of reasoning?

& civil disobedience - everyone thinks of the civil rights movement. But that's onbly part of th way it works. We're all too young to remember but during Prohibition most everyone that drank before drank during. They didn't go out in public with a jug of shine, but they drank nontheless. Open defiance of a law is great when you have the courts (& more importantly juries) on your side, but covert defince is not something to be overlooked.

Let's define the gol - for me it's to be unencumbered by the government as long as my actions are not harmful to anyone else directly & unjustifiably. That means wiping out ALL prior restraint based gun control. No more NFA, GCA, Brady checks, etc... Only laws against using my firearms to someone's detriment w/o cause. Now most people aren't quite as hard core as I am but any prior restraint based law makes no sense to me. It's actions, not mere potential, that we must guard against. If I have a .22 break open or a belt fed .50 what difference does it make if I have no harmful intent? If I carry under my coat or over it how does that change my intentions?

Machine guns - look the purpose of the 2nd was that the people should be armed as well if not better than a standing army. Mainly as a deterent but also as a way of evening things ina fight. If you think the pro hunting only crowd gets uptight when you speak of IDPA try discussing what arms would be necessary for a town to repel the 3rd Infantry Division. :) Now I'd wager that most of the 170 million killed by their own government in the 20th century would have given damn near anything for one of those unpapered machine guns that you imply are a threat to commerce.

& a straw purchase? You are aware of what offense can disqualify you from legally owning a firearm aren't you? A crime punishable by more than 1 year (in some cases 20 in jail or a DV misdemeanor. If I jay walk in some states that could be a disqualification. If I commit a paper crime (evading taxes, securities violations, etc...) that'd put me on the prohibited list. EVen if I got sentenced to 1 day in jail & a $1 fine cause the judge felt while I technically broke the law I had no bad intent. Add to that going to jail for buying a firearm for someone who is forbidden for some minor infraction? Starw purchases aren't so bad when you realize how many things we do everyday could get us in a position that we'd need a straw purchasers' services.

Like I said - there are many thoughful & well reasoned arguments to why we should not obey any prior restraint based law. Some harm will of course come form it, such as gang bangers getting weapons. But compared to the harm of giving government control of who bears ars & which kind I think we'd be better off if the cryps got new machine guns. Besides - I grew up in a rough neighborhood. I never felt scared unless they were shooting at someone beside me. You know how tricky a machine gun can be. I think if we made them trade their semi's for full auto's it might actually decrease the murder rate. lol

But all this is perhaps too involved for a comment on a post. I'll send you an e-mail & let you know when the next range trip is going to be (one fairly soon as I have some new parts & loads for the Garand). perhaps over some empty brass & neat little holes in evil aggresive paper I can convert you to the Absolutist side, or at least demonstrate why my position is worth considering.

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