Gun Rights Radicals Meet and Greet Again
What a great weekend! It’s always good to see the guys who really get what gun rights, the Second Amendment, and civil rights are all about. I especially enjoyed connecting with the contingents from the Arkansas Concealed Carry Association and from the Nebraska Firearms Owners Association. I was also pleased to see The Appleseed Project with a table and a couple of reps in the room. They were handing out passes to Appleseed shoots. If you haven’t been to one, GO! If you have been to one, GO! They’re planning one in Buckeye near me, but unfortunately my time’s committed for that one. I have my calendar cleared for April 19 in Payson, though.
Joe Tartaro kindly asked me to bring a generous stack of Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War with me to the conference. SAF always sets up a bookstore in the back of the room and I got to see the book moving briskly. I don’t know how many copies I signed, and all of the direct feedback was positive. This year’s GRPC was a bit of a coming-out party for the book, with the first gun press review appearing in the current issue of Gun Week. Thanks to Joe for that.
Next year the GRPC heads directly into the belly of the beast: San Francisco. The Pink Pistols delegation offered to lead a march through the Castro district. Stereotype busting, anyone?
I’ve attached my written speech below. You may need to click the "Read More" button to see it.
Border Violence a Threat to the Second Amendment
Good morning gun lobby!
I’m honored to address this great gathering and to share this panel with Dave Kopel and Joe Waldron, both of whom I’ve known for many years and I appreciate their work.
I’ll take a moment to do a shameless plug. I’ve just brought out a compilation of my dad Neal Knox’s writing. It’s history. It’s important. It’s available back in the bookstore in the back of the room. You may have heard from my brother Jeff yesterday. He and I along with the rest of the family are continuing Dad’s work with The Firearms Coalition, and we appreciate the camaraderie we have with Citizens’ committee and SAF, and with GOA and the other groups out across the country.
I also want to give a shout out to some guys in the back of the room, Project Appleseed. It’s marksmanship in the context of our American heritage. I call it purpose-driven riflery. I encourage you to pay them a visit and find out about them.
Our topic is “Will the Second Amendment be a Victim of the Mexican Drug Wars?”
The fact is, it certainly could be! Unless we see some kind of that “building consensus” (this was an in-joke for the conference attendees. The previous day one speaker had referred to the Supreme Court being sensitive to "building consensus" which is courtly talk for the peasants in the street waving pitchforks).
In my hometown of Phoenix, Arizona the border issue is a local story. We see it every day with the guys hanging out on street corners waiting for day labor. It permeates our daily life.
The illegal travel has developed a strange sense of the normalcy. I know a kindergarten teacher who had a student tell her that she was excited because her mother was coming up from Mexico to see her. My friend asked the little girl whether she’d be coming by car or by bus and the little girl laughed. “Oh, no! She come by coyote!”
But it’s also a serious issue. There’s real crime where people get hurt.
Phoenix is now the kidnapping capital of the United States.
It’s usually an internal conflict between competing cartels. Stories of home invasions aren’t unusual either. Again, typically gangster-on-gangster, but give it time. I’m waiting for some home invasions in north Scottsdale.
There’s also a human cost. We routinely see stories of drop-houses with thirty or forty illegals living in squalid conditions awaiting shipment – and I do mean shipment, often in enclosed, non-air-conditioned box vans – to the north and east.
And of course there’s the chance of being caught in the cross-fire.
The twin to the stories about smuggling of “smokes and folks” northward is guns going southward on what the Mexicans call the “ant trail.” While the media have backed off the story that “90%” of guns captured in the Mexican drug cartel fights, it’s still a big story.
In fact, this weekend Mexican authorities are visiting a gun show in Mesa. The story got coverage in the Mexican press, but somehow the Arizona media missed it. I’m not sure what they’re doing. Maybe they’re just on a junket. Or they could be trying a Michael Bloomberg straw purchase. I intend to dig into it
The most dangerous aspect of this story is the corruption of our law enforcement. There’s a question that judges and law enforcement always face on the border: “¿Plata o plomo?” “Silver or lead?” In other words, do you take the bribe and look the other way, or do you choose the bullet. And your family may be part of the deal.
Now, we know that the root of the problem is not the guns, it’s not the illegals, it’s not even the drugs.
Business is a matter of converting risk into money. As government has raised the stakes, and so the risk, of the smuggling business to the point that it attracts the most ruthless, most dangerous people on the planet.
Government’s reaction to this kind of challenge is to tighten the controls. In effect the government’s natural reaction is to fight this fire with gasoline. The only way to counter it is to make sure that we are part of that building consensus.