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Posted: 5/20/2005 5:04:20 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/20/2005 5:07:20 PM EST by CRC]
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.

Josh " I Love Idi Amin" Horwitz is executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, a non-profit advocacy group based in Washington, D.C.


Link Posted: 5/20/2005 5:08:14 PM EST
No comments??

Link Posted: 5/20/2005 5:08:43 PM EST
Ok, tagged for later.
Link Posted: 5/20/2005 5:09:48 PM EST
Even a number of DUers are now getting guns due to George Bush.

Link Posted: 5/20/2005 5:14:00 PM EST
Well, his article is good for one thing.............it makes great toilet paper
Link Posted: 5/20/2005 5:18:08 PM EST

GUNS DO NOT EQUAL FREEDOM


Well, then, in the absence of freedom, I'll settle for 'ability to have a hand in my own life, should a big mean bad guy decide to be unfriendly towards me or mine'......
Link Posted: 5/20/2005 5:20:55 PM EST
What do you want? It is just trash.
Link Posted: 5/20/2005 5:22:36 PM EST

Originally Posted By Doctor_Chicago:
What do you want? It is just trash.



Yup, and it's a dupe. Been beaten to death here already.

More commie crap from CRC.
Link Posted: 5/20/2005 5:23:04 PM EST
tag
Link Posted: 5/20/2005 5:24:36 PM EST
Link Posted: 5/20/2005 5:29:41 PM EST
I'll agree with him.

GUNS DO NOT EQUAL FREEDOM.

...KNOWING your guns and knowing how to USE your guns equals freedom!

Mike
Link Posted: 5/20/2005 5:30:14 PM EST
Its a great piece of pretzel logic and obfuscation. The Second was not intended to enable a use of arms to protest a government policy but an oppressive government.


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.




The founders wrote the Second at the same they wrote the Sixth amendment.


Our system includes democratic safeguards, such as juries, that do not rely on the private force of arms.




This guy is a stupid asshat.
Link Posted: 5/20/2005 5:30:46 PM EST
[


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.

Teddy Roosevelt once said our freedoms were protected by four boxes. The soap box, the ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge box.
Link Posted: 5/20/2005 5:35:10 PM EST
guns don't equal freedom
unless you're also willing to use them to protect freedom
Link Posted: 5/20/2005 5:36:10 PM EST
This is why the NRA likes to work behind the scenes and through state organizations. Anytime someone from the NRA gives a speech the anti's are there talking about the "right wing activists" or "gun lobby" and how they are trying to put guns on every corner and threaten our way of life. That argument doesn't work so well when it's local people speaking out for their state, if the anti's try to bash them they just come across as some California nut job whose threatening the locals way of life.
Link Posted: 5/20/2005 5:37:33 PM EST
Dupe
Link Posted: 5/20/2005 5:38:35 PM EST
What a dipshit. Thats all I have to say.

I'd like him to come to my house personally and see if he can confiscate my firearms. These dipshits don't care about the people who have to physically enforce the bullshit laws that they push. I bet this little faggot wouldn't have the guts to do it himself.
Link Posted: 5/20/2005 5:51:56 PM EST
Funny how they keep using Florida as an example when in reality the legislature simply updated Florida law to that of many other states that don't seem to have any problems with people getting gunned down in the streets as they like to proclaim.
Link Posted: 5/20/2005 5:53:51 PM EST

Originally Posted By Doctor_Chicago:
What do you want? It is just trash.



Yup, not much else to say.
Link Posted: 5/20/2005 6:11:41 PM EST

Originally Posted By cyclone:
Well, his article is good for one thing.............it makes great toilet paper



ouch... I've never cleaned my ass with a computer monitor
Link Posted: 5/20/2005 6:16:25 PM EST
Link Posted: 5/20/2005 6:23:46 PM EST

Originally Posted By CRC:
No comments??




Same shit spewing from the mouths of a large minority of asshats around the country. They simply do not believe in taking their own protection into their own hands. They wish for and expect someone else to do their dirty work for them. I wish them the worst of luck when the time comes, and sorry about their families they are unwilling to defend.
Link Posted: 5/20/2005 6:28:16 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/20/2005 6:29:33 PM EST by The_Macallan]
Let him argue with these folks:


"I carried it (a revolver) religiously and during the summer I asked a friend, a man who had been one of Franklin's bodyguards in New York State, to give me some practice in target shooting so that if the need arose I would know how to use the gun."
~ Eleanore Roosevelt,
from her autobiography.

"The Second Amendment isn't about protecting ourselves against criminals. It's about all of us protecting ourselves from all of you."
~ Dr. Suzanne Gratia,
a survivor of the Killeen, Texas Luby's massacre speaking to Congressman Charles Schumer (D-NY) while testifying before Congress, 1994.

"Certainly one of the chief guarantees of freedom under any government, no matter how popular and respected, is the right of citizens to keep and bear arms. This is not to say that firearms should not be very carefully used and that definite safety rules of precaution should not be taught and enforced. But the right of citizens to bear arms is just one more guarantee against arbitrary government, and one more safeguard against a tyranny which now appears remote in America, but which historically has proved to be always possible."
~ Hubert Humphrey,
from "Know Your Lawmakers, Guns," Feb. 1960, p. 4

"Gun bans don't disarm criminals, gun bans attract them"
~ Walter Mondale,
April 20, 1994.

"There is no doubt in my mind that millions of lives could have been saved if the people had not been 'brainwashed' about gun ownership and they had been well armed. Hitler's thugs and goons were not very brave when confronted by a gun. Gun haters always want to forget the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, which is a perfect example of how a ragtag, half starved group of Jews took up 10 handguns and made asses out of the Nazi's."
~ Theodore Haas,
former prisoner of the Nazi's Dachau concentration camp.

"And today, when I am asked that question, I tell people it doesn't matter whether you're Hungarian, Polish, Jewish, or German: If you don't have a gun, you have nothing."
~ Menashe Lorinczi,
Auschwitz survivor on why Jews didn't resist in Auschwitz.

"By calling attention to 'a well regulated militia', the 'security' of the nation, and the right of each citizen 'to keep and bear arms', our founding fathers recognized the essentially civilian nature of our economy. Although it is extremely unlikely that the fears of governmental tyranny which gave rise to the Second Amendment will ever be a major danger to our nation, the Amendment still remains an important declaration of our basic civilian-military relationships, in which every citizen must be ready to participate in the defense of his country. For that reason, I believe the Second Amendment will always be important."
~ John F. Kennedy,
April 1960.

"Americans need not fear the federal government because they enjoy the advantage of being armed, which you possess over the people of almost every other nation."
~ James Madison.


"I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery."
~ Thomas Jefferson.


Link Posted: 5/20/2005 6:30:14 PM EST
guns=responsibility.
Link Posted: 5/20/2005 6:33:26 PM EST
tag
Link Posted: 5/20/2005 6:33:47 PM EST
Link Posted: 5/20/2005 6:49:38 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/20/2005 6:50:52 PM EST by C-4]

Originally Posted By drjarhead:

Originally Posted By Doctor_Chicago:
What do you want? It is just trash.



Yup, and it's a dupe. Been beaten to death here already.

More commie crap from CRC.



Did I miss something?



Originally Posted By The_Macallan:
"By calling attention to 'a well regulated militia', the 'security' of the nation, and the right of each citizen 'to keep and bear arms', our founding fathers recognized the essentially civilian nature of our economy. Although it is extremely unlikely that the fears of governmental tyranny which gave rise to the Second Amendment will ever be a major danger to our nation, the Amendment still remains an important declaration of our basic civilian-military relationships, in which every citizen must be ready to participate in the defense of his country. For that reason, I believe the Second Amendment will always be important."
~ John F. Kennedy,
April 1960.



Sorry Mr. President, but you've never met Feinstein or Chucky.


Link Posted: 5/20/2005 8:30:13 PM EST
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.

For someone to have a problem with that scares me. I have never been faced with a violent threat, and been able to simply walk away from it in my entire life. In fact, the last time I was faced with a violent threat, I had to be carried away, cause I was unconsious.
Link Posted: 5/20/2005 8:54:37 PM EST
"stockpile weapons for a showdown with the government"

isn't that why we have the 2nd admendment?
To protect are selves from invaders or an oppressive goverment.
Link Posted: 5/20/2005 10:04:59 PM EST

Originally Posted By cmjohnson:
What bullshit. This great Republic of ours has always been heavily based on the force of arms
and the private ownership of them.

We'll fall to the level of the rest of the world shortly after we give up all our guns.


CJ


Precisely so. Liberty doesn't last long without force.
Link Posted: 5/20/2005 10:19:19 PM EST

Originally Posted By JBowles:
isn't that why we have the 2nd admendment?
To protect are selves from invaders or an oppressive goverment.


"Senator Ashcroft is so far out of the mainstream that he has said that citizens need to be armed in order to protect themselves against a tyrannical government. Our government? Tyrannical?"
~ Sen. Ted Kennedy D-MA,
January 16, 2001 at John Ashcroft's Senate confirmation hearing.

Link Posted: 5/20/2005 10:37:00 PM EST
I don't give a damn about their logic, principles or rhetoric, the Bill of Rights is simply not negotiable. If we build a society where guns appear to be the problem, the problem is the society, not the guns. Paying people who have no skills to raise babies who have no skills, was never a good idea.
Link Posted: 5/20/2005 10:44:59 PM EST
Indeed guns do not equal freedom.

I don't recall any of the founding fathers having stated as much in the Federalist Papers or the Constitution that was ratified there after.

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a Free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed"

No mention of guns in the 2nd Amendment. All it says is we can have arms. We can keep our arms and we can bear them.

Odd really, how could anyone expect to be able to assemble a well regulated militia comprised of individuals with no arms who could possibly protect a free state with no arms. What would they actually do? Kick you?......

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