Gun rights advocates have for a long time been on better terms with the Republican Party than with Democrats. That contrast has recently been rapidly growing sharper. In the past, Democrat politicians, many of whom have significant numbers of gun owners among their constituents, would at least make an effort to appear to be strongly in favor of the constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms.
But now, few Republican politicos are even bothering to maintain a pretense of concern for the rights of armed American citizens. They actually seem almost to be in competition with one another for the “honor” of being the most enthusiastic gun grabber and author of the most creatively draconian infringement on that which shall not be infringed.
Unfortunately for gun rights advocates, and for the United States in general, the Republican Party has come to be accepted by many as “defenders of gun rights” merely by virtue of being less in favor of forcible citizen disarmament policies than the Democrats—which sets the bar very low.
In the first Presidential debate of 2016, candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump perfectly illustrated this point. While Clinton predictably spoke with relish of her intention to mount attacks on gun owners’ rights on every front, even the NRA-endorsed Trump agreed with one of Clinton’s most disturbing aspirations.
From the Los Angeles Times:
Clinton, in a tense exchange over criminal justice issues, reiterated her support for what Democrats and gun control advocates have called a “no fly, no buy” policy to restrict individuals on the airline terrorist watch list from being able to purchase guns.
Trump’s response: “We have to look very strongly at no-fly lists.…I tend to agree with that.”
The GOP nominee “tend[s] to agree” with a policy that would strip American citizens of the right to buy guns on the basis of their names appearing on some secretive government list of “enemies.” This process would not require a conviction for any crime, nor an indictment, nor even an arrest or formal charges. All it would require is that the current Administration dislike the prospective buyer enough to call him a “suspected terrorist.”
With the very purpose of the Second Amendment being to protect the people’s access to arms with which to resist a rogue government’s excesses, that purpose is completely negated when the government can simply designate any citizen the Administration views as an enemy as potentially being a “terrorist,” and thus ineligible for the right to keep and bear arms.
If the terrible day comes that the Second Amendment has to be used for its ultimate, fundamental purpose, the American people will be the Administration’s enemies. To a tyrant, after all, a freedom fighter is a “terrorist.”
The idea for such a restriction is not at all new, of course, and federal legislation to put it in place has probably been introduced in every session of Congress since September 11, 2001. It has never come particularly close to passing in even one chamber of Congress, perhaps because its supporters could never point to one shooting that would have been prevented, or even merely made more difficult, by the existence of such a law.
In fact, while advocates have repeatedly pointed to hundreds of people on the terrorist “watch list” legally buying guns every year, what they could not point to was any example of anyone being shot with those guns. Not one!
After the Orlando, Florida nightclub massacre last summer by a radical Islamic jihadist, gun ban zealots wanted us to believe this had finally changed. At last they had a killer whom the FBI had considered to be a potential terrorist. Their only problem was that, although the FBI had indeed twice investigated the perpetrator of the Orlando atrocity—in 2013 and 2014—they had found nothing to warrant further suspicion.
So no, the Orlando killer was not on any “terrorist watch list,” let alone the far less expansive “no fly” list.
The gun ban zealots’ solution to this little problem was to introduce legislation to block gun sales not only to those currently on the “no fly” list, but also to those who had been on it at any time during the previous five years, even if they had since been removed from the list.
So now, to be stripped of your right to keep and bear arms, not only would you need not have been convicted, indicted, or even arrested or charged with a crime, you would not even need to currently be seen as any kind of terrorist threat.
One might hope to find more steadfast resistance to the tyranny of “gun control” by rejecting both of the ruling parties and going to, for example, the Libertarian Party. That sounds logical, but the Libertarian Party’s nominee for Vice President in the 2016 Presidential election, former Massachusetts Governor William Weld, dashed that hope when he advocated total bans of rifles with a magazine capacity exceeding five rounds, and then went on to say that handguns were probably a “worse problem” than AR-15 rifles, which he labeled “weapons of mass destruction.”
It has become increasingly difficult to believe that we, the American people, can successfully defend our right to keep and bear arms through the vote. Those hoping to destroy that right should probably devote some hard thought to our only alternative.
A former paratrooper, Kurt Hofmann was paralyzed in a car accident in 2002. The helplessness inherent to confinement to a wheelchair prompted him to explore armed self-defense, only to discover that Illinois denied that right. This inspired him to become active in gun rights advocacy.