Skip to comments.GUN CULTURE THREATENS DEMOCRACY : Gun lobby threatens our very way of life
Posted on 05/21/2005 10:42:38 PM PDT by Dan from Michigan
CSGV: GUN CULTURE THREATENS DEMOCRACY
Op-Ed Challenges "Guns Equal Freedom" Formula
Gun lobby threatens our very way of life
The price extracted by guns is simply too high
By JOSH HORWITZ
SPECIAL TO THE REVIEW-JOURNAL
When the National Rifle Association's top lobbyist, Wayne LaPierre, addresses the crowd at "FreedomFest 2005" at the Bally's/Paris Resort in Las Vegas today, he will be preaching a message that has served his organization well: guns equal freedom.
As LaPierre puts it, "The Second Amendment is the fulcrum of freedom in our nation, because freedom and the Second Amendment are mutually interdependent. They are the 'chicken and the egg;' neither can exist without the other."
LaPierre can expect a friendly reception from the right wing activists at FreedomFest. Aggressive support for gun rights provokes none of the intramural squabbling that sometimes threatens to divide social conservatives and their libertarian allies in the GOP.
By framing the gun debate as a choice between protecting liberty and the illusion of safety, the gun lobby has painted itself as a defender of basic American values.
Too often, gun control advocates walk into the trap and concede that values like democracy and independence must be sacrificed to fight gun crime.
"At what point will Americans agree that the price exacted by guns -- the gun lobby's 'price of freedom' -- is simply too high?" asks Josh Sugarmann of the Violence Policy Center.
This formulation is not smart politics, because Americans rightly treasure freedom. More importantly, it fails to hold LaPierre and the gun lobby accountable for a philosophy that is at odds with freedom and the institutions that support it.
The most recent example of the tension came last month, when Florida Gov. Jeb Bush signed a bill that allows people to use deadly force -- including guns -- when faced with a violent threat, even when a confrontation could be avoided by simply walking away. The new law goes far beyond self-defense, which was already a well-established right in Florida, to invite vigilantes to substitute their judgment for the judicial system.
David Kopel, a leading gun rights theorist, acknowledges the potential tension between an expansive right of self defense like the one embodied in the new Florida statute and the rule of law, but dismisses the concern out of hand, arguing that "people's taking the law into their own hands has always been a core principle of the American legal system, and the American attitude toward guns is simply one manifestation of that principle."
This warped conception of popular sovereignty is at the root of the most egregious anti- democratic proposition advanced by the gun lobby: that citizens need to arm themselves to safeguard political liberties against threats by the government.
Kopel has called guns "the tools of political dissent," and LaPierre wrote in 1994 that "the people have a right, must have a right, to take whatever measures necessary, including force, to abolish oppressive government."
As famed legal scholar Roscoe Pound observed, however, "A legal right of the citizen to wage war on the government is something that cannot be admitted. ... [because] bearing arms today is a very different thing from what it was in the days of the embattled farmers who withstood the British in 1775. In the urban industrial society of today a general right to bear arms so as to be able to resist oppression by the Government would mean that gangs could defeat the whole Bill of Rights."
The standoffs at Ruby Ridge and Waco -- often cited as proof that the government can and does abuse its power -- illustrate why armed resistance is a dead end. Randy Weaver and David Koresh may have had good reasons to distrust the government, but they had no right to use private arsenals to keep the police at bay. Our system includes democratic safeguards, such as juries, that do not rely on the private force of arms.
After the Oklahoma City bombing, the gun lobby toned down its rhetoric, casting an armed citizenry as a deterrent to oppression rather than a potential rebel force against a democratic government. "The Second Amendment is America's first freedom because it is the one right that protects all the others," LaPierre says.
This argument sounds reasonable but is no different in substance that what gun rights absolutists were saying before Oklahoma City. If they believe in the right to take up arms to resist government policies they consider oppressive, even when these policies have been adopted by elected officials and subjected to review by an independent judiciary, then they are opposed to constitutional democracy.
When LaPierre talks about guns and freedom, he wraps himself in a flag that the NRA is simultaneously ripping to shreds. Protecting vigilantes from criminal prosecution and urging citizens to stockpile weapons for a showdown with the government are more than just threats to public safety -- they are threats to our democracy and our way of life.
A straw man. i.e. a purposive distortion.
Every law-abiding black man and woman should learn to use a firearm. The police cannot save you in the moment of crisis.
We prefer a Republic.
I'd have suggested a citizen militia.
When a government of the people...by the people...and for the people...
Fears - The People
We are in trouble...
what I see in this article is a man who wishes to inflame
mistrust between The People and Their Government
He has tolitarian designs on America...He hates both 'The People'and their Government
Naturally in the NWO he expects to be one of the bosses
It doesnt happen whenever the would-be targets own guns.
Guns don't protect; people do.>>>>>
Very true, but unfortunately very easily twisted by the left to mean something entirely different from what you are saying.
Armed resistance is for when constitutional democracy is usurped. >>>>>>>
Armed resistance is for when the constitutional REPUBLIC is usurped, "constitutional democracy" is a liberal term for something which exists only in their fantasies. Remember that the word "democracy" was never used by the founders to refer to this government, it came into use after WWI and we have steadily drifted into bigger and bigger government ever since. Those who would enslave us first corrupt the language.
In so far as democracy is one of the foundations of socialism, Horowitz is correct that gun ownership is a threat to democracy. Not to constitutional democracy, however, at least as we know it.
If you are afraid of a list.....You are allready on it.
Ever fill out the yellow sheet? You're on it.
Have a CCW permit? You are on it.
Buy a gun after NICS? You are on the list.
Write your Congressman? Yep, You are on it.
This may seem harsh, but if you haven't addressed the issue, go ahead, cower and wait, and they will eventually come.
Better to make yourself heard.
There is safety in numbers imho, and 4 million of us have a far better chance together than just scattered individuals. After all, this is our RIGHT!
There are plenty of studies proving that there is far less crime where citizens have guns and can defend themselves. Where guns are restricted or banned, crime rates are higher.
The very people who push for banning guns, they own weapons themselves. "Guns for me, but not for thee."
I would imagine if you're a Freeper, you get a gold star next to your name.
I'm not the originator of this quote but a Freepers said while others are burying their guns, others are digging their's up.
My favorite posts are the ones where the guy complains he won't join the NRA because they send him mailings. While others are getting out their checkbooks and supporting freedom, this guy can't make it to the garbage can with a couple of letters.
The NRA did have an article about "Freedom Freeloaders". Eighty Million Gun Owners and only four million NRA members. You can even notice how few gun activists here on FR. Very darned few.
When those guys are down to a few muzzle loaders,then what?
If we do not all stick up for one another, any upright citizen who wishes to be armed, then we will be nibbled away, just like the Nazis nibbled away at the civillian population of the nations they occupied.
Even 4 million of us, pledged to fight for each other's right to own the firearm of our individual choice can make a difference. Imagine what 10 or 20 million could do-and that is just a fraction of the gun owners out there.
The only way I console myself is I hope they at least vote their Rights when it comes election day.
>> Guns don't protect; people do.
>>>Very true, but unfortunately very easily twisted by the left
I'm against surrendering slogans too. Isn't the pen mightier?
Something that usually escapes the supporters of David Koresh and Randy Weaver are that Koresh was a child molester who thought he was Jesus and Weaver was wanted on bad check charges. They had both broken the law.
Well then just send them a hefty anonymous money order.
Here's the list of the first 1000 Horwitz's that subscribed to Josh's anti-gun philosophies.
It is Josh's disgrace that he again promotes the national socialist statist philosophies upon the unwitting public.
It's an absolute disgrace that national Rabinical counsels are members of this organization.
I think you and I are talking apples and oranges here. I'm not arguing Koresh and Weaver as individuals, nor am I appointing them champions of a cause.
The author of the article said: "...they had no right to use private arsenals to keep the police at bay." This to me implies that the author's credo is that we all just need to go with the flow no matter the accusation and take our chances with the courts - and that's fine as long as the courts are still fair and honest.
I'm of the belief that if we can make sure checks and balances apply to public opinion as well, we won't have to find ourselves in a spot where we're even considering the whole "vote from the rooftops" scenario, and so far it appears that conservative-type thinking has found a media voice. But, the 2nd Amendment provides a very-last-resort insurance policy that is unique to this country, and I'd hate to see that taken out of the people's hands.
Congratulations for finding this article and posting it. There are times we can only know how really vile the libs and gun grabbers are by seeing the drivel they regurgitate as a substitute for thinking, let alone rational thinking.
That's cold an inhuman. What about the ALLEGED criminals rights? I mean if he threatened you, thats far less than you killing him. So he takes some of your belongings. Does that give you the right to take his life?
Oh yeah (SARCASM OFF)
Wow that sucks. Trying to FEEL like a lib HURTS
Hey, they saw that it worked with the Pew Foundation and CFR, so why not continue with a winning strategy?
Despite the fact that this has yet to happen, and that, so for, ALL the leftist's "predictions" have been WRONG, why do we believe them now? To me, whenever a leftist proposes something, either DO the opposite, or have the confidence to know that you are right....
Would 5 or 6 bong hits make the point of this paragraph intelligible?
And, IIRC, at the time, given those bogus charges, the federal government was outside their authority in going after Koresh for those charges.
While I'm 100% for the swift conviction and harsh punnishment of child molesters, it was just a smoke screen for what the feds were doing there. To paraphrase a quote from the Viet-Nam era, "they had to kill the children to save them"
To preserve target practice and hunting.?..
The 2nd amendment was to make revolution LEGAL, not to insure hunting and target practice rights..
Who in America would ENACT the 2nd amendment for its intended purpose.?.
Not many, I think.. Would screw up the football season and positively cancel Oprah and Dr. Phil.. not to speak of Jerry Springer.. when MsM TV stations were ugh dealt with..
The Courts do rely on a Private force that is armed, they are called the Police... If you disobey a court order the armed force will come and make sure you comply! Sometimes by busting in your door with Guns Drawn...The court used thier Armed force to return Elian Gonzalez to Cuba.
I would like to know if you sent that to him?
If not it needs to be.
Why is it that the gun fascists never point out that the NRA is supported by millions of Americans? No anti-gun group has even half the numbers of the NRA. What the gun grabbers want is to go against the will of the people.
The gun Nazis never mention that in the history of the world, gun control has resulted in about 100 millions deaths. People killed at the hands of their own government, in supposedly legal fashion.
Also the gun Nazis fail to point out that crime goes down in states that have lax gun laws, and that crime goes up in countries like England and Australia that have very strict gun laws. But then again when has any liberal ever carried about the facts?
The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
1023 15th Street, N.W., Suite 600
Washington, DC 20005
actually, they are right to assert that gun-culture threatens democracy.
democracy means majority-rule.
consider this three wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.
republicanism, made possible through an armed citizenry, is not democracy.
In the republican model, the heavily armed sheep can effectively disagree.
Pick up a copy of the NRA's American Rifleman magazine and educate yourself.
Disagree. NRA's First Freedom.......
Correction. Pick up a copy of the NRA's First Freedom magazine.
Caused a heep of problems for criminals...... cbkaty_NRA Life Member
Gimme the jist of it.. creatively.. or Just spit it out..
We are a free country "right"..
If something ever happens? If it does the people that start the problem will bring it to the wrong place. No sane person wants to use a weapon to harm somebody though if you bring the trouble you will have to face the result. Joe Stalin took the guns and he killed more people than even Hitler. NRA life member, I am. I was active duty U. S. Air Force for seven and one half years and I will still die for AMERICA.
About a hundred years ago, the NRA was a shooting organization created by Ex-Union Army officers. They wanted to correct the poor shooting skills that were present during the Civil War.
Today, the NRA is by far the best lobbying group which protects the Second Amendment. That's just not my opinion. That's the opinion of experts who track such groups.
The NRA does publish a magazine devoted to hunting. I don't hunt and I have never read it. I did subscribe to First Freedom and my current magazine is The American Rifleman.
I know what the NRA IS.. what my post suggested is what the NRA, gun advocates ISn'T, and Aren't.. You must have missed my point.. The 2nd amendment in not about having guns it is, completely and entirely, about USING guns.. for a specific purpose.. OR why it even IN the Constitution.. for hunting?
Ok, short answer. No. It's not about hunting and the NRA, SAS, JPFO and CCKBA are not hunting groups. Again, join the NRA and preserve your Right to Keep and Bear Arms.
This pro-gun ownership piece caused a firestorm when I wrote it 5 years ago, and was, at one time, featured at 67 different website across the globe.