All posts by Chris Knox

The Firearms Coalition Site Is Back!

Thanks for finding us!  The Firearms Coalition site has a new look and will be getting more regular updates.  We’re still transferring content, so we haven’t made an official announcement, but feel free to browse and comment.  The new format comes from a new content management system.  We’re now using WordPress which, while arguably less flexible, is simpler to administer, and easier to navigate.  Let us know your thoughts.

The Cincinnati Revolt — Forty Years On

(April 3, 2017) This May marks the fortieth anniversary of the infamous 1977 NRA Members’ Meeting, also known as the Cincinnati Revolt. At that meeting a dissident group of members introduced a slate of bylaw changes giving the membership a real voice in the organization’s governance, reorganized the management, and turned the organization down a new path.

Depending on who tells the tale, Cincinnati either marked the dawn of a new day when the NRA giant rose from its slumber to fight for the Second Amendment, or the night that a junta of political extremists staged a coup to take over a quiet target shooting and conservation club. Neither of those narratives is entirely accurate, yet each contains its own grain of truth.

NRA bosses rarely talk about the affair. Over the past thirty years, the only mention of Cincinnati from official NRA has been to claim it as a political banner, usually accompanying some proposal to undo another piece of what was accomplished that night. The most recent example was this year when NRA President Allan Cors solemnly invoked the Cincinnati reforms in his plea for members to approve a group of Bylaw amendments that essentially erase the last vestiges of those reforms.

Even though most of the membership control gained in Cincinnati has been lost, the real legacy of that meeting stands. The NRA is politically active, and will be for the foreseeable future. That’s the good news. The bad news, is that should the NRA ever again go off the rails, the members will have no way to force a course correction.

In 1977 the NRA was at a crossroads. A decade of bad news for the Second Amendment had members worried about what was to come. Smart money said that more gun control was inevitable. Members looked to the NRA to protect their gun rights, but they saw an organization that was not up to the task. The NRA Board had already voted to sell the Washington headquarters building, and the management was more interested in raising funds for a “College of the Outdoors” to be built at Raton, New Mexico than in drumming up money to fight for the Second Amendment.

The Raton project was a grand dream with an estimated price tag of $30 million. Keep in in mind, those were 1975 dollars –NRA’s entire budget for 1975 was around $10 million. Determined to make Raton a reality, NRA leaders contracted with Oram International Group, a New York consulting outfit that advised large not-for-profits on fundraising matters. Oram produced a 100-page report describing how the NRA could fund Raton. The gist of the report was that the NRA could never raise the money from its members, so they needed to seek philanthropic foundation grants. But those who controlled such grants did not like the NRA’s public image. “The current media image of the NRA,” the report states, “destroys its ability to raise money from foundations, especially the large ones such as Rockefeller, Ford and Mellon.” So, they advised NRA to get out of politics, soften their image, and focus more on environmentalism and habitat protection – in short, to become a Sierra Club with guns.

Copies of the Oram report leaked out, apparently from several sources, to Neal Knox, John Wooters, Houston activist, Francis Winters, and a dozen others who formed a dissident core. The dissident group burned up phone lines and mailboxes for months prior to the Cincinnati meeting. They finally met in person in San Antonio, just a month before the meeting. There they finalized plans for a member revolution. Critical assistance came from attorneys David and Susan Caplan, who had expertise in New York corporate and not-for-profit law (the NRA is chartered in New York). It was the Caplans who pointed out that the assembled members held significant power in the annual meeting. The plan was to introduce a slate of bylaw changes, and let the members decide whether to adopt them and change NRA’s course, or reject them and continue down the road to New Mexico.

As the Meeting of Members was called to order on Saturday morning, everyone knew something was about to happen, but no one knew what. Neal Knox had run a series of editorials in Handloader and Rifle magazines demanding a politically engaged NRA. Those editorials resulted in his being appointed, despite his own objections, to introduce the slate. No one knew how the assembled members would react, but before the cries of “Second!” died out, it was apparent the members were with them. Over the next eight hours, the membership took control of the meeting, then passed the amendments one by one. They voted to restructure the Board elections, allowing for Board candidates to be nominated by petition, allowing for recall of officers by the members, and provided for direct membership election of the Executive Vice President. They then restructured the organization’s management, fired key officials, and elected Harlon Carter as EVP.

The changes turned the NRA into a gold mine. Membership doubled and contributions soared, and the gun control that had seemed inevitable, stopped in its tracks. The members wanted, and proved they were willing to fund, an NRA that would defend the Second Amendment.

Member control has eroded over the years, even as the NRA’s power and influence has grown. Today, the only real power the members wield over the organization is the ballot of their dollars. But the power of NRA is, as always, in its members.

The Oram report was made public in 2016 under the terms of its original contract. It is available at FirearmsCoalition.org.

# # #

We’re All Gonna Die!

The Horror of Guns Everywhere!

By Jeff Knox

(January 5, 2017) If the hype of the anti-rights crowd and their friends in the media is true, all Americans are on the verge of being gunned down in the streets if a new bill that was just introduced in the House becomes law. The new “national reciprocity” bill would require all states to recognize the concealed carry licenses and permits issued by other states, and would also protect the right to carry for citizens from states where no license or permit is required. The bill, H.R. 38, was introduced by North Carolina Republican, Richard Hudson, and is just the latest in a string of similar bills that have been floating around Congress for a number of years. The key distinguishing feature of this one is the protection of carry rights for people who are not currently required to obtain a license to legally carry a concealed firearm in their home state. Vermont, for instance, has never had a law against carrying a concealed firearm, so they have never had a licensing system. Eleven other states, like Alaska and Arizona, do offer licenses, but the licenses are not required for carry within the state. Lawful unlicensed carry is referred to within the rights community as “Constitutional Carry,” alluding to the idea that the Second Amendment is the only carry license any U.S. Citizen should ever need. Most Constitutional Carry states also offer licenses so that their citizens who choose to obtain one can avoid hassles and delays when purchasing firearms – the license allows them to forego the National Instant Background Check System – and those who wish to carry when visiting other states where their state’s licenses are recognized.

There is a bit of a rift within the rights community over the idea of federal legislation forcing states to honor carry permits from other states. The main argument being one of state autonomy. Many gun rights advocates believe such measures violate the 9th and 10th Amendments since the feds assume authority to force states to recognize others’ licenses. There is also fear of establishment of some sort of federal minimum standard for issuance of carry licenses. The concern is that if a federal standard is accepted, the standard could eventually be tightened to the point that no one would be able to get a license. There is also the simple concern that what the feds give, the feds can take away. Many would prefer to just keep the federal government out of the carry debate and leave it with the states.

The Hudson bill avoids any hint of national standards, and addresses the recognition issue from a “full faith and credit” perspective – having states honor them as they do other states’ drivers licenses. The basic argument is, if Arizona trusts me to carry a gun, and I do so safely, why would I be considered a threat in New Jersey? Realistically, most people who commit violent crimes with firearms are not first-time offenders. Most have extensive criminal records and are actually forbidden to even touch a firearm or ammunition under federal law. This fact seems to elude those who are always calling for additional firearm laws. The criminals are already illegally in possession of firearms, so what is another law going to do? Does anyone suppose criminals illegally carrying firearms, are going to do it more, or be more dangerous, if more honest citizens are carrying firearms? Laws against them carrying them don’t seem to be much of an impediment. Conversely, liberalizing lawful carry – with or without licensing – has never resulted in the “blood in the streets” predictions of the hoplophobes. Turns out that criminals and stupid people do criminal and stupid things regardless of laws, while responsible citizens act responsibly, regardless of the laws.

There are some real concerns among rights advocates regarding the details of H.R. 38. The provisions for honoring the carry rights of citizens of Constitutional Carry states seems to have been added as an afterthought, and the protections against prosecution should be much stronger. It looks like the bill was written to require states to honor the carry licenses and permits issued by other states, then amended to also honor the right to carry if such a right is recognized by the person’s home state. That amendment makes the original section somewhat redundant, as it would cover everyone, but it really should be more carefully worded. The bill should simply and clearly mandate that every state must recognize and honor the carry rights legally enjoyed by citizens when they are in their own home state – whether by license, permit, or recognition as a right – and there should be real consequences for any state, or officials who fail to fulfill their obligations under this law.

Expect to see Congress – particularly the Senate, where the pro-rights majority is very thin – use the existence of the two separate sections, and the disagreement within the rights community, as leverage to water down the bill and divide advocates.

Since the Senate will be the harder test, I would prefer to see the bill advanced there first, rather than going through the struggle and publicity of a big battle in the House, only to have the legislation die in some Senate subcommittee. If we can get a decent bill through the Senate, it should fly smoothly through the House, meanwhile the needed improvements can be worked out for the House version. The new President has already committed to sign a national carry bill upon arrival on his desk.

So far an equivalent to Rep. Hudson’s bill has not been introduced in the Senate. Hopefully that will soon be rectified. In the meantime, readers are encouraged to give their Representatives a call to urge them to co-sponsor H.R. 38, while addressing its shortcomings.

The President’s Leash

The President’s Leash

By Jeff Knox

(August 24, 2016) Republicans who say they “just can’t endorse Donald Trump for President” are being foolish. Certainly there are valid reasons to be concerned about Trump’s candidacy, but those concerns should pale against the thought of a Hillary Clinton presidency. While Trump is a bit of a wild card, his non-politician, straight talk has struck a chord with a broad segment of the American people who are fed up with political correctness and wheedling double-speak.

As President, Trump would face a strong system of checks and balances, just as the framers envisioned. Skeptical Republican politicians should express their faith in this constitutional system as a reason for voters to not only elect Trump, but as a reason to vote for skeptical Republicans. They should be positioning themselves as the “loyal opposition,” ready to work with Trump to accomplish the good of his agenda, while providing a thoughtful check against rogue actions. Skeptics can run as watchdogs, taking a position of strong support for Trump as someone they can work with to accomplish what Americans want and need, while not blindly taking orders, as some Republicans might, nor rejecting Trump’s proposals out of hand, as Democrats will do. Thoughtful Republicans must position themselves as the gatekeepers who will support the good, oppose the bad, and help Donald Trump make America great again.

The alternative is a Hillary Clinton presidency with Republicans serving as little more than speed bumps in the way of her agenda. Republicans divided and in disarray would have little hope against a strong and united Democrat Party and Congress. Hillary Clinton in the White House, Congress dominated by Democrats and RINO’s, and a “liberal” majority in the Supreme Court, along with a fawning liberal media would be a freight train of ever-expanding government and centralized control, with little in the way of obstacles to check their “progress.”

Most Americans are familiar with the famous quote form Lord Acton; “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” It is an accepted truism, and it was recognized as such long before Acton penned his famous quote. The founders of the United States understood this truth, and designed the new American government to be based on individual liberties, protected by laws and limits on government power, and guarded by thee separate and co-equal branches. At every level there are checks and balances designed to prevent any one person or group from wielding so much power that they can commit crimes without being held accountable for their actions. This begins with the establishment of clear limits to government power in the Constitution, and ends with guarantees of a free press, the rights to petition and assembly, and for the gravest extreme, the right of the people to keep and bear arms.

Even though the Democrat Party offended some of its most “progressive” members with their manipulation of the primary election, the party itself has united strongly behind Hillary Clinton. Every Democrat in Congress will follow the marching orders that Clinton issues, and unless Republicans stop their infighting and undermining of the Trump campaign, those Clinton Democrats are likely to be in the majority in at least one, if not both houses of Congress.

Can you imagine Hillary Clinton as President, with Chuck Schumer as the Senate Majority Leader, and Nancy Pelosi as the Speaker of the House? The media has demonstrated its unwavering support for Clinton, and her appointment to fill the vacant seat on the Supreme Court will remove the last vestige of checks and balances that might obstruct her agenda.

Our system is supposed to be designed so that the courts check Congress and the President, Congress checks the courts and the President, the President checks Congress and the courts, and the free press acts as a check on all of them. And this all happens within the constructs and protections of the Constitution and the laws of the land – ideally with the best interest of the nation and the people at heart.

The problem is that in spite of all of the protestations to the contrary, many people in “public service” are much more concerned with their own fortunes, personal power, and ideologies than they are with protecting individual liberty and our nations founding principles.

Much has been said about Donald Trump dividing the Republican Party, but little has been said about what effect that division would have on a Trump presidency. In reality Trump’s nomination was a result of existing divisions within the Republican Party, not a cause of them. More importantly though, as President, Trump would not only have to overcome or override objections from Democrats in Congress, he would have to overcome resistance and objections from members of his own party – not to mention challenges in the courts, where even naming a replacement for Scalia would only keep the Court relatively “moderate” at best.

Hillary Clinton on the other hand, enjoys united support among party leaders and members of Congress. She and her husband have proven themselves to be self-serving masters of political manipulation, willing to blatantly lie to promote themselves and avoid consequences for their actions. If she wins the presidency, it is also quite likely that Democrats will also win a majority in the Senate, and possibly the House. Her pick to fill the current opening on the Supreme Court would mean a solid 5-vote, “liberal” majority on the Court along with domination in Congress.

In other words, if Donald Trump is elected President, he will be on a short leash and have to fight for his agenda, while Hillary Clinton would be unfettered, with very little in the way of checks and balances. A Trump presidency would be a four-year long battle with occasional, carefully worked out victories. A Hillary presidency would be an unrestricted dictatorship, which would unquestionably be absolutely corrupt.

Hillary’s Plan to Nullify the Second Amendment

by Jeff Knox

(August 17, 2016) Donald Trump was widely criticized by media, Democrats, and even some Republicans after he made a joke regarding Second Amendment remedies to Hillary Clinton’s plan to “essentially abolish” the Second Amendment. As if “reporters,” commentators, and politicians were all reading from the same script, they consistently pointed out that Clinton had no such intentions – in spite of the fact that this is exactly what she intends to do.

Clinton has repeatedly criticized the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Heller case, calling it a “bad decision.” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who, along with four other justices dissented in the Heller case, has also called it a bad decision and suggested that the Court might revisit that ruling at some future point, but reversing Heller is not necessary to “essentially abolish” the Second Amendment. Heller was actually a very narrow and limited decision. While it did resolve the question of the right to arms being an individual right, rather than some sort of “collective” right, beyond that it only established that an individual had the right to possess a functional handgun within the confines of their own home. While the decision suggested that the right was broader, the Court did not officially rule beyond the issue of self defense within the home. Their followup decision in McDonald was also a 5-4 decision, with Ginsburg and her three compatriots dissenting, which recognized the Second Amendment as dealing with a “fundamental right” which could not be ignored by the states.

Since those decisions, a number of cases dealing with questions of just how far the right to arms extends, and what sorts of restrictions on the right are permissible, have made their way to the Court, but virtually all of them have been turned away without a hearing, and in each of those cases, the Federal Court of Appeals had ruled in support of government limits and against individual rights.

All that is necessary for the Second Amendment to be “essentially abolished,” is for the Supreme Court to rule on one or two of these cases and deliver decisions that support those very bad lower court decisions. By officially limiting Heller to only apply to the keeping of a self-defense handgun in the home, setting the level of “scrutiny” at the lowest threshold, and approving all manner of state and local restrictions, the Supreme Court could thoroughly neuter the Second Amendment without reversing Heller, and without having to amend the Constitution – essentially abolishing the meaning, intent, and application of the Second Amendment for all practical purposes.

There is no doubt that this is exactly what the Court would do if Ginsburg, Sotomayor, Kagan, and Breyer had one more vote on their side. That’s why Donald Trump was absolutely correct in his assertion that Hillary Clinton would “essentially abolish the Second Amendment,” and that’s why it is so critical that she not be given the opportunity to accomplish that goal.

Barack Obama has nominated Judge Merick Garland to fill the vacancy created by Scalia’s death, but Republicans in the Senate have insisted that they will not even consider the Garland nomination. They say the new president should be the one to nominate Scalia’s replacement. If Clinton is elected, not only is her pick likely to be much more radical than Garland, but Republicans will be obligated to consider the appointment and they are likely to have a slimmer majority in Congress, and quite possibly be in the minority, making it very difficult to reject a radical pick.

Meanwhile in California, a very significant Second Amendment lawsuit is waiting in the wings for possible petition to the Supreme Court. The Peruta case has been bouncing around the courts since 2009. It challenged San Diego County’s policy of only issuing concealed carry licenses to individuals who could demonstrate a specific need to carry a concealed firearm for self-defense, above and beyond that of the public at large. A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, saying that the “needs requirement” was a violation of the Second Amendment, but the court then called for an en banc hearing of the case and reversed the ruling of the panel. That ruling was about as disingenuous and convoluted as could be imagined. What the court basically said was that while the Second Amendment might guarantee a right to carry a firearm for self-defense, it does not guarantee a right to carry a gun concealed, therefore the San Diego county policy is not at odds with it. What is so egregious about this decision is that California forbids the open carry of firearms, leaving licensed concealed carry as the only legal alternative, so the court has decided to make this a Catch-22. A suit has now been filed challenging the ban on open carry, but at best we are looking at years more litigation, and it will all be for naught if Clinton names Scalia’s replacement.

The attorneys in the Peruta case are now in a difficult position. They don’t want their case to be the one the Supreme Court uses to eviscerate the Second Amendment, but they have only a limited window in which to petition the Court for a hearing.

And of course, in the midst of these legal wranglings, California has adopted a half-dozen new, harsh gun control laws and has an even harsher initiative on the ballot for November. A group of activists have started a petition to force removal of the offending new laws, but it is a “Hail Marry” effort, and will be meaningless if the anti-rights initiative passes. Californians must stop the anti-rights initiative, and the rest of us must stop Hillary Clinton. Anything less will most assuredly be disastrous.

Yes, Hillary Will Abolish the Second Amendment

Hillary Will Abolish the Second Amendment

By Jeff Knox

(August 17, 2016) Donald Trump was widely criticized by media, Democrats, and even some Republicans after he made a joke regarding Second Amendment remedies to Hillary Clinton’s plan to “essentially abolish” the Second Amendment. As if “reporters,” commentators, and politicians were all reading from the same script, they consistently pointed out that Clinton had no such intentions – in spite of the fact that this is exactly what she intends to do.

Clinton has said; “The Supreme Court is wrong on the Second Amendment, and I am going to make that case every chance I get.” Combine that statement with the 5-4 decision in Heller, and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s declaration that the Court’s ruling in Heller was a “bad decision,” and her suggestion that the Court should revisit that ruling if they could get a fifth like-minded justice on the bench, and you have a formula for “essentially abolishing the Second Amendment.” But reversing Heller is not necessary to accomplish that. Heller was actually a very narrow and limited decision. While it did resolve the question of the right to arms being an individual right, rather than some sort of “collective right,” the case only dealt with the question of an individual’s right to possess a functional handgun in their home for self-defense. While the decision suggested broader application, it did not rule beyond that narrow issue. Their followup decision in McDonald was also a 5-4 decision, with Ginsburg and her three compatriots dissenting. It recognized the Second Amendment as dealing with a “fundamental right” which could not be ignored by the states.

Since those decisions, a number of cases testing the broader implications of Heller have made their way to the Court, but they have refused to hear any of them. These cases have dealt with questions of how far the right to arms extends and what sorts of restrictions are permissible. In each case, a Federal Court of Appeals had ruled in support of government limits and against individual rights – in clear conflict with the language of Heller and the Second Amendment itself.

All that is necessary for the Second Amendment to be “essentially abolished,” is for the Supreme Court to rule on one or two of these types of cases and deliver decisions that support those very bad lower court decisions. By ruling that things like “assault weapon” bans, bans on carry, and registration schemes are constitutional, and setting the level of “scrutiny” at the lowest threshold, the Supreme Court could thoroughly neuter the Second Amendment without reversing Heller, and without having to amend the Constitution – essentially abolishing the meaning, intent, and application of the Second Amendment for all practical purposes. This would take litigation off the table and put the fight back into Congress and state legislatures.

There is no doubt that this is exactly what the Court would do if Ginsburg, Sotomayor, Kagan, and Breyer had one more vote on their side. That’s why Donald Trump was absolutely correct in his assertion that Hillary Clinton would “essentially abolish the Second Amendment,” and that’s why it is so critical that she not be given the opportunity to accomplish that goal.

Barack Obama has nominated Judge Merick Garland to fill the vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia last February, but Republicans in the Senate say the new president should be the one to appoint Scalia’s replacement, and have refused to consider Obama’s pick. If Clinton is elected, Republicans will probably also lose seats in the Senate, and her pick is likely to be much more radical than Garland.

Meanwhile in California, a very significant Second Amendment lawsuit recently suffered a crushing reversal and is ripe for being petitioned to the Supreme Court. The Peruta case has been bouncing around the courts since 2009. It challenged San Diego County’s policy of only issuing concealed carry licenses to individuals who could prove a particular need to carry a concealed firearm. A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals delivered a strong ruling that the “needs requirement” was a violation of the Second Amendment, but the court then called for an en banc hearing of the case and reversed that ruling. Their justification was that while the Second Amendment might guarantee a right to carry a firearm for self-defense, it does not guarantee a right to carry a gun concealed, therefore the San Diego county policy is not a violation. What is so egregious about this decision is that California completely forbids the open carry of firearms, leaving licensed concealed carry as the only legal alternative, leaving defensive carry as a privilege, not a right. A suit has now been filed challenging the ban on open carry, but at best we are looking at years more litigation, and it will all be for naught if Clinton names Scalia’s replacement.

The attorneys in the Peruta case are now in a difficult position. They have only a limited window in which to petition the Supreme Court for a hearing, but an appeal now could open the door for a “liberal” dominated Court to eviscerate the Second Amendment. Only a Trump win can prevent that.

And of course, in the midst of these legal wranglings, California has adopted a half-dozen new, harsh gun control laws and has an even harsher initiative on the ballot for November. A group of activists have started a petition to force removal of the offending new laws, but it is a “Hail Marry” effort, and will be meaningless if the anti-rights initiative passes. California voters must stop the anti-rights initiative, and the rest of us must stop Hillary Clinton. Anything less will most assuredly be disastrous for gun rights and much more.

The Second Amendment Threat

(August 10, 2016) It’s amazing watching the media going nuts over Donald Trump’s recent comment about the Second Amendment. The comment that stirred up the firestorm was this uttered at a Trump rally in North Carolina on August 9. What Trump said was:

Hillary wants to abolish – essentially abolish the Second Amendment. And by the way, if she gets to pick her judges…(shrugs shoulders, shakes head) Nothing you can do folks… Although, the Second Amendment people, maybe there is… I don’t know. But I tell you what, that will be a horrible day.”

Taking their cue from Clinton staffers and radical anti-rights extremist groups like Bloomberg’s Demanding Moms, the media has painted Trump’s comment as a suggestion that gun rights supporters should take up arms against the government if Hillary is elected. Shannon Watts, the PR flak who heads up Mom’s Demand Action for Gun Sense in America – the Demanding Moms – sent out an outrageous email fundraiser claiming that Trump’s comment was a call to assassinate Hillary Clinton. In the email, titled “Ballots vs. Bullets,” Watts echoed the Clinton camp, declaring; “This is dangerous,” and claimed that, “the media quickly reported Americans’ widespread shock at the idea that Trump was encouraging the assassination of a U.S. president.” She even included footnotes to support this assertion. The three articles in the footnote were:

  1. An editorial from rabid Trump-basher, Philip Bump at the Washington Post, who parsed the statement down to suggest that it was a threat against Clinton, but said nothing about “widespread shock,”
  2. An editorial report by Trump-basher Andrew Prokop at Vox, a “progressive” news service aimed at millennials, which mainly consisted of some speculation about what Trump might have meant and reprints of some comments made by other “progressive” pundits on Twitter.
  3. An article by Louis Nelson at Politico suggesting that Trump was in trouble for making the remarks, and supporting that contention by quoting a variety of Clinton and Democrat functionaries who were hyperventilating about it.

None of these suggested anything resembling “widespread shock” among Americans, just typical attempts to exploit an opening from an opponent. The suggestion that Trump was actually encouraging revolt or suggesting assassination is silly. He was talking about the damage Hillary Clinton could do to the country and the Constitution if she is elected, and one of the points was that if she were to make appointments to the Supreme Court, the Second Amendment would be virtually abolished – which is absolutely true.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg recently stated that she, like Hillary Clinton, believes the Court’s decision in DC v. Heller was “bad” and that a future Court would have the opportunity to revisit the issue when a case challenging a gun control law comes up. Since Heller was decided 5-4 with the now deceased Antonin Scalia leading the 5, it is no stretch to assume that a “progressive” replacement to fill Scalia’s empty seat at the bench would mean that the next case to arrive in the Court concerning gun laws would be decided 5-4 in the opposite direction. By ruling that only “intermediate scrutiny” or “rational basis” need be applied to such questions, the Court could effectively nullify Heller, and thus make the Second Amendment hollow.

Trump was offering a dire warning in an effort to rally GunVoters to his cause and against Clinton. His follow-up comment that perhaps “Second Amendment people” might not be helpless, was obviously a joke, but it was a joke with historical teeth.

The Second Amendment itself is a warning against overreaching government. Those who suggest that pointing out this fact is a threat and insurrection, are ignoring the other side of that coin. The threat of the Second Amendment is not that gun owners should will resort to armed violence to get our way. Rather it is that the people can and should resist unjust force with force of our own.

This is right and just, and is in full harmony with the writings and beliefs of the founders and the legal scholars who followed them. Famed Supreme Court Justice and constitutional historian, Joseph Story, in his highly respected tome Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States phrased it like this:

The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.” (emphasis added)

That “strong moral check” is in fact a warning. The idea is that as long as the American people are armed, and thus have the ability to physically resist overreaching government, they will never have a need to physically resist the government, because the government would be foolish to try and oppress a citizenry that is well-armed.

If I take a new shooter to the range and caution them not to let the gun point at any part of their body, and to keep their finger away from the trigger, would that be considered a threat?

Reminding those in power that We the People are potentially dangerous and should be handled with respect, is not a threat, it’s a courtesy.

Don’t tread on me.

Obama Going After Gunsmiths

Obama Going After Gunsmiths

By Jeff Knox 

(August 4, 2016) The Obama administration has announced new regulatory guidelines that will drive thousands of small gunsmiths out of business.  This reinterpretation of existing regulations lowers the bar for what constitutes “manufacturing” of firearms, and will require that any gunsmith who performs any service more involved than simply cleaning or replacing old parts with functionally identical new parts register as a firearm manufacturer and pay a $2250 annual registration fee.

Continue reading Obama Going After Gunsmiths

Another Gun-Free Mass Murder

By Jeff Knox 

(July 28, 2016) Democrats have declared gun control as one of their top campaign issues this year (though they call it “gun safety,” “gun reform,” or “gun violence prevention” instead of gun control – those terms poll better).  They are betting that GunVoters are not really the political powerhouse that we have been reputed to be, and that after atrocities like the San Bernardino and Orlando terror attacks, Americans will reward them for trying to restrict rights.  They use mass murders – at home and abroad – as emotional launch-pads for their anti-rights rhetoric, but for all of their posturing about saving lives, they refuse to directly address the core problems: our broken mental health system, and fundamentalist Islam.  They also ignore the fact that none of the atrocities would have been prevented, or even mitigated, by the “solutions” they offer.  They are also ignoring the two most recent deadly attacks, because guns didn’t play any significant role in either of them.

Continue reading Another Gun-Free Mass Murder

To Defend Gun Rights, It’s Trump

By Jeff Knox 

(July 20, 2016) The stage is set for a head-to-head battle between the two most widely disliked presidential candidates in modern history.  There is still significant enmity between Trump supporters and fans of Senator Ted Cruz, just as there is a rift between Hillary followers and Berners.  Hillary has the advantage that Bernie Sanders has officially endorsed her – something Ted Cruz has refused to do for Trump – but his supporters still aren’t happy about the outcome.  The big difference is that Hillary has the Democratic Party establishment firmly in her pocket, while the GOP establishment is swallowing bile not to actively oppose Trump.

Continue reading To Defend Gun Rights, It’s Trump