It’s the Vote!

Voting is Everything

By Jeff Knox

(August 26, 2009) When football legend Vince Lombardi famously gathered his team to talk about fundamentals, he went to the most basic level:  "Gentlemen," he said, "this is a football."  Like Coach Lombardi, I want to get back to basics.  In politics, just as in football, "winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing."  When it comes to effective political activism that quote needs to be turned around; "Voting isn’t the only thing.  Voting is everything."  While there are many important things that rights organizations and activists do, it all boils down to the one thing: The Vote.  The vote is both the object and the instrument of political power and if we can’t wield it effectively, all of our other efforts are useless.

The ultimate objective of the gun rights movement is to win legislative victories to keep politics and politicians away from our guns.  To achieve this goal, organizations like The Firearms Coalition must do three things: Recruit, Inform, and Activate.  The three are symbiotic, each feeding the other.  In its simplest form it translates to: Build a List of names, Tell them What’s Going On, and Encourage them to…

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Conflation to Coalition

Conflation to Coalitions


There is power in cooperation


By Jeff Knox


(August 19, 2009) The growing dissatisfaction of more and more citizens with the direction of our government and our nation presents a recruiting opportunity for rights activists.  We are already being grouped together with these folks as objects of ridicule for the talking heads on the television so why not put their conflation to good use?

Here’s how negative conflation works: Some neo-Nazis and KKK’ers oppose taxes, government control of healthcare, and gun control.  Some “fringe groups” like “Sovereign Citizens,” the Constitutional Militia movement, the Minuteman project, and “Birthers” (those who question Obama’s U.S. birth and his eligibility to serve as President,) have some members who have ties with groups like neo-Nazis and KKK’ers.  Some of these avowed racist people and groups agree with and participate in such things as the “Tea Party” protests and the protests which have been taking place at Town Hall meetings around the country.  Therefore, all of the people at the Town Hall protests and all of the people at the Tea Party protests, and all of the people who support, encourage, or agree with the people at these protests, along with all opponents of high taxes, supporters of the Second Amendment, advocates for constitutional government, and opponents of government-controlled healthcare are painted with the broad brush of racism, anti-Semitism, and wild conspiracy theorists, and are declared to be radicals with “ties” to neo-Nazis and the KKK.

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Sorry Sotomayor

Disappointed with Sotomayor

By Jeff Knox


(August 7, 2009) The confirmation of extreme leftist (and unimpressive jurist) Sonia Sotomayor to a seat on the Supreme Court is bad news to supporters of the Constitution in general and the nation’s gunowners in particular.  Judge Sotomayor has demonstrated throughout her career on the Federal Appeals Court bench that she has much more regard for her own "feelings" and "sensibilities" than she has for the Constitution or even court precedent.  Judge Sotomayor has repeatedly dismissed important constitutional questions out of hand, with no constitutional review and total disregard for established precedent or accepted principles of jurisprudence.  Judge Sotomayor has made clumsy attempts to conceal this cavalier behavior behind flawed and incomplete citation of precedents which fall far short of supporting her decisions.  What’s worse, she has routinely been supported in her disingenuous practices by one or more of her colleagues in the Second Circuit where she has served for the past 15 years.  As Federal Appeals Courts standardly operate with three-judge panels, Judge Sotomayor’s erroneous decisions could only prevail if one or both of the other judges on the panel agreed.

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History Matters

Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War  is History

By Chris Knox

(August 3, 2009) Most readers of this column knew my late father, Neal Knox, as a Washington lobbyist and gun-rights hard-liner.  And most of you also know that his family – particularly my brother Jeff and I, along with our mother Jay – continue the work he started with The Firearms Coalition.  But in my travels, I’ve been dismayed to discover that many of "our guys" – from shooters at the range to industry types at the trade shows –  don’t really know or understand who Neal Knox was and what a significant impact he had on their rights.  More importantly, they don’t know or understand the history of the fight which has brought us where we are today.  Imagine a west-bound wagon train with no one among them who had ever forded a river with a wagon or crossed a difficult mountain pass.  Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War is the journal of an experienced guide and wagon master.  He wasn’t perfect and he wasn’t always right, but he had a good compass and was always trying to move in the right direction. 

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Defining Firearms

Defining Firearms

By Jeff Knox


(July 30, 2009) When a New York City police officer caught a .32 caliber slug in his ribs last week, Mayor Mike Bloomberg was quick to question how the career criminal and convicted felon was able to obtain the gun.  I’m afraid that the question is going to lead to attempts at broader restrictions on more items in New York and elsewhere because it’s possible that the gun involved in the shooting might not be a firearm.

That might not make much sense, but firearms laws generally don’t. 

Depending on when the gun was made and/or whether the cartridges is considered "obsolete," a .32 caliber revolver might not be legally considered a firearm and might not be illegal for a felon to purchase or possess.  On the other end of the spectrum, a plastic bottle cap can be a firearm as can a shoestring.

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Reciprocity Amendment Fails

National Reciprocity Falls Short by 2 Votes

Lugar and Voinovich only Republican Nay’s.

An amendment which would have required basic reciprocity for concealed carry permits between states – forcing states to honor permits from other states – failed to receive the 3/5ths majority needed for passage by a mere two votes on Tuesday.  The measure, sponsored by Senator Thune of North Dakota, needed 60 votes for passage, but only received 58.  Many Democrats, including Majority Leader Harry Reid, voted in favor of the amendment while Richard Lugar of Indiana and George Voinovich of Ohio were the only Republicans to vote against the measure.  Pennsylvania Democrat Bob Casey voted for the amendment while NRA A-rated former Republican, now Democrat Arlen Specter voted against it.  Former A-rated NY Representative, now Senator Kirsten Gillibrand joined her new mentor Chuck Schumer in opposing the measure as did McCaskil of Missouri and Bingaman of New Mexico.  Below is a complete listing of all Senate members and their votes on this amendment.

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Hoplophobia Alliance

Hoplophobia Defined


(July 16 2009) Recent rights victories in the Senate have caught the attention of the hoplophobes and they’re not happy.  I received the following "URGENT ACTION ALERT" from the inappropriately named "Freedom States Alliance" this afternoon and I couldn’t think of a better way to explain the level of irrationality and ignorance which defines hoplophobia than to do exactly as they asked and pass the "Alert" on just as they wrote it (typos and all.)  While I sometimes complain about the over-hyping and exaggeration engaged in by some of our brethren in the rights movement, our guys can’t hold a candle to the outrageous fear-mongering of these hoplophobes. 

Be sure to contact your Senators and Harry Reid and tell them not to surrender to irrational fears.  You might also consider making a donation to The Firearms Coalition to help us counter this nonsense.  — JAK

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Back to SCOTUS

Appeal to the Supreme Court


(July 9, 2009)  This fall, when the Supreme Court begins its next session, one of the questions they are likely to address is the "incorporation" of the Second Amendment to apply to the states.  Most Americans would be surprised to learn that their constitutional rights are only selectively recognized as applicable to state and local government, but that is the case.  While there might have been some understanding regarding the application of the finer details of the first 10 amendments, the fundamental rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights were clearly intended and universally recognized to apply to all authorities at every level of government, but the Supreme Court shifted that understanding with several rulings culminating in decisions bolstering Jim Crow laws in the South after the Civil War.  Two famous cases clearly illustrate the shift:

In Dred Scott v. Sanford, Justice Taney declared that blacks could not be citizens of the United States in part because citizenship "would give to persons of the negro race, …the right to enter every other State whenever they pleased, …the full liberty of speech in public and in private upon all subjects upon which its own citizens might speak; to hold public meetings upon political affairs, and to keep and carry arms wherever they went."

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NPR’s “On The Media” story about “Bradley Effect”

This is a story about the "Bradley Effect."  In the 1982 race for California governor between Tom Bradley and George Deukmejian, former LA mayor Bradley, a Black, was supposed to win handily.  In the story the Democratic strategist makes the offhand comment that "there was this gun control initiative" which generated a bunch of votes out of the Central Valley.  For years the "Bradley Effect" has been thought to reveal America as riddled with closet racists.  This story actually throws some cold watner on that allegation, but doesn’t quite acknowledge that the gun issue provided the margin.  Of course, the Republican Deukmejian went on to stick it to the gun owners who elected him, signing a nasty semi-auto ban in his second term.

I’ve long suspected that the "Bradley Effect" was at least encouraged, and possibly even planted, to allow Democrats avoid saying out loud that gun control is a losing issue. 

The Republicans, living up to their title of the "Stupid Party," have so far shown far less understanding of the issue.  Maybe someday.

Ammunition for the grassroots gun rights movement