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GUN CULTURE THREATENS DEMOCRACY : Gun lobby threatens our very way of life
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence ^ | May 13 | Josh Horowitz

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.


TOPICS: Editorial; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: bang; banglist; cary; freedom; guns; sas
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I don't think I needed to put a puke alert since it's obvious being a gun grabbing editorial by Josh Horror, I mean Horowitz of CSGV. He even sites his buddy Josh Suckermann, I mean Sugarmann of VPC in this one.
1 posted on 05/21/2005 10:42:39 PM PDT by Dan from Michigan
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To: Dan from Michigan
The libertarian in me thinks that Josh should be allowed to sniff as much glue as he pleases. After all, it's his money and his life. However, I still have hope that his loved ones will intervene.
2 posted on 05/21/2005 10:45:15 PM PDT by Redcloak (Over 16,000 served.)
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To: Dan from Michigan

Every last person reading FR should join NRA. Even if you don't own a gun.


3 posted on 05/21/2005 10:45:31 PM PDT by Tax Government (Put down the judicial insurrection. Contribute to FR.)
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To: Dan from Michigan
I don't think I needed to put a puke alert since it's obvious being a gun grabbing editorial

I think you missed the boat on this one. The only thing that decreases the puke alert level is the fact that is was posted by someone above reproach. I certainly haven't been here long enough to get away with it.

4 posted on 05/21/2005 10:46:08 PM PDT by Stonedog (I don't know what your problem is, but I bet it's difficult to pronounce.)
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To: Dan from Michigan

Just the talk of GUNS gives me the heeby-jeebies. I'm so frightened.( /Lib weenie squeal)


5 posted on 05/21/2005 10:48:11 PM PDT by Mark (Lib Kinsley-LA Times-"I'm sick of talking about values..When I want values I go to Wal-Mart"))
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To: Dan from Michigan
"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.

Noone is opposed to CONSTITUTIONAL DEMOCRACY,they're opposed to the unconstitutional direction certain groups (money hungry politicians and power mad judges) wish to take us. And freedom is worth fighting and dying for.

6 posted on 05/21/2005 10:49:05 PM PDT by BipolarBob (Yes I backed over the vampire, but I swear I didn't see it in my rearview mirror.)
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To: Dan from Michigan
Liberals think we can walk away from violent criminals without confrontation, huh? If someone wants to kill you, all the kumbaya thinking in the world ain't gonna stop it from coming true. Here's where I differ with liberals: I believe a trusty gun will stop a criminal dead cold. That's common sense with a bullet. And its just one example of how America's gun culture protects the one right on which all the others are dependent: the right to life. Josh Horowitz doesn't get it!

(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
7 posted on 05/21/2005 10:49:19 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: Dan from Michigan

One wonders what "way of life" they're talking about here. And it is interesting to hear them assert that Randy Weaver had "no right" to resist law enforcement with a "private arsenal" when his case was that of an innocent civilian entrapped by the deliberate abuse of a gun control law, a gun controller's wet dream if ever there was. Weaver's wife was murdered as a result. If this is the "way of life" that's being threatened then I'm all for that.


8 posted on 05/21/2005 10:49:20 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: Mark
The two "G" words that make liberals scream running for the hills: God and Guns!

(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
9 posted on 05/21/2005 10:50:39 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: goldstategop

just when you think you've beat them into submission you trip over a slimey rock and out they come again


10 posted on 05/21/2005 10:53:26 PM PDT by jneesy (certified southern right wing hillbilly nutjob)
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To: Dan from Michigan
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."

Well, well, well...this would certainly explain the sudden inexplicable fascination with "gangs" by the MSM and some segments of our government lately.

A brand new "reason" to have gun control; since the others weren't working.

11 posted on 05/21/2005 10:53:55 PM PDT by garandgal
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To: Dan from Michigan
Hey Josh:

Let me make this reeeeealllly simple for you so you can understand it.

The Constitution does not grant me rights; it merely enumerates the inalienable ones I possess by virtue of my humanity. My rights are in instrinsic part of what defines me as a HUMAN BEING. One of those Rights is the ability to keep arms to protect my life, the lives of those I love, my property, and my country, if necessary.

Our government was established for the SOLE PURPOSE of PROTECTING my ability to exercise those rights.

Everytime you gun grabbers pass another law restricting my ability to exercise my rights, you are imposing an unjust sentence on me. You are punishing ME by limiting MY freedoms because OTHERS have committed a crime (and, as a result, violating other inalienable RIGHTS).

If depriving people of their inalienable RIGHTS is your idea of "democracy" and a "way of life," then you are seriously confused. TOTALITARIANISM denies people their rights and your "way of life" SHOULD BE protecting my ability to freely exercise my rights.

As I said in my article, "So, You Want To See Me Naked?" many years ago, I will NOT play the victim for you. I will not leave myself exposed so you can feel as though you have done something. My days of being a helpless female are over, and you will take my gun from my cold, dead hands.

12 posted on 05/21/2005 10:54:10 PM PDT by TheWriterTX (Proud Retosexual Wife of 12 Years)
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To: Billthedrill
Unlike Horwitz, I absolutely believe we have a right not just to bear arms for self-defense but to employ them in order to effectively resist a tyrannical and oppressive form of government. Its a very American thing to do.

(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
13 posted on 05/21/2005 10:55:23 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: Dan from Michigan

He should be clear:

Thug gun culture is a threat.

Responsible adult gun culture is the answer to that threat.


14 posted on 05/21/2005 10:57:37 PM PDT by mc6809e
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To: garandgal
LOL! Liberals can't even disarm gangs in this country; it beggars the imagination to conceive how they will disarm every law-abiding citizen. They have a national gun registry in Canada but the compliance rate is abysmal. One can be imposed here only over the dead bodies of the American people.

(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
15 posted on 05/21/2005 10:57:58 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: Dan from Michigan
By framing the gun debate as a choice between protecting liberty and the illusion of safety

What illusion? You'd think evidence from DC would let the gun control idiots know that their plans are not working. Violent crime rates in concealed carry states are much better than in strict control states.

16 posted on 05/21/2005 10:58:31 PM PDT by Stonedog (I don't know what your problem is, but I bet it's difficult to pronounce.)
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To: Dan from Michigan

Huh. Any man who doesn't WANT nor support the right to own a gun....is a wuss.

How's THAT?


17 posted on 05/21/2005 10:58:54 PM PDT by Bradís Gramma (Yo! Cowboy! I'm praying for a LoganMiracle! It CAN happen!!!!)
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18 posted on 05/21/2005 10:58:55 PM PDT by the anti-liberal (It's time the left - left!!!)
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To: Dan from Michigan
The standoffs at Ruby Ridge and Waco ... Our system includes democratic safeguards, such as juries, ...

Do you suppose this ding-wah ever heard of Lon Horiuchi?

19 posted on 05/21/2005 10:59:19 PM PDT by dread78645 (Sorry Mr. Franklin, We couldn't keep it.)
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To: mc6809e
To liberals we're well-armed thugs. Thugs that stand in the way of their plans to remake our country in their socialist image. Good. There are some things that need to be said "NO" to if we're to remain free.

(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
20 posted on 05/21/2005 11:00:28 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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