Beyond providing training, we would like to provide an influence and leadership in the direction of where we need to go and what needs to be done to change the direction of this country when it comes to Gun Rights.
We lose ground every single day on this issue and the rare moments we lose less ground than normal, we feel like we've accomplished something. We're not making any progress and I'm not sure we even know what winning looks like anymore. Look at where we are and just look at the proposals coming out of Virginia (SB16 and SB64) that would make any firearms training a felony and ban almost every semi-auto rifle known to man.
We have to change our approach, attitudes, responses, and strategy if we're serious about preserving liberty for the next generation. We are losing the argument, we are losing the culture war, and we have become content in losing as long as we lose at the slowest pace possible.
As a community what are our current objectives? Do we have any goals? What are we fighting for specifically?
Is our goal to simply not allow additional restrictions on our 2nd Amendment rights? What is our messaging? What is our strategy and how are we reaching the American public and swaying opinions in our favor? What does a victory look like? Is it simply maintaining the status quo? Who is the leadership of this movement and what are they doing?
Winning a war requires strategic planning, a clearly defined end goal, objectives that must be met to achieve that goal, and leadership that clearly communicates how to achieve those objectives. Right now the current "leadership" indicates that as a 2A supporter all you need to do send money and they'll take care of the rest. What is the strategic plan beyond preventing additional loss or more restrictions? Do they have a plan to further freedom and expand our rights? More importantly, what progress have they made and what do they have to show for the millions of dollars being sent their way?
We have an enemy that is treating this like the war that it is and that's why they are winning. They are organized and armed with clearly defined objectives backed by well funded, precisely executed city, state, and national strategies and marketing campaigns. They are not accepting the status quo.
Gun control fanatics know exactly what victory looks like and have a plan for every incremental step to achieve it. Their goal is to ban all firearms and repeal the 2nd Amendment!
They are openly calling for the confiscation of Americans' private property and making progress at every level of government in almost every state, and eroding our rights at breakneck speed. On top of that they are winning the information war and recruiting more people to their side every day!
They employ predictable, yet effective tactics. They push extreme gun control laws like SB16 & SB64 being proposed in Virginia, calling for the ban of firearms training and almost all rifles, and then when they end up with only banning Ar15's or standard capacity magazines, we're dumb enough to walk away feeling like we won something as they laugh at us. We have accepted incremental losses and somehow confused that with progress.
I believe the current organizations that we almost solely rely on to preserve our freedoms are failing us. I believe they have become bloated bureaucracies that have become very good at raising funds, making money, self-promoting, and providing huge salaries for those at the top while they accomplish less and less when it comes to the actual preservation of freedom. It's not to say they do nothing and they're not needed, or even that these organizations are not well intended, but I believe their focus and approach is wrong. I also believe their efficacy compared to their monetary intake is way out of balance and we should expect more. They should expect more out of themselves.
The measured, quiet, politically correct, aristocratic, and often apologetic approach that these organizations take every time our rights are threatened is a path to guaranteed failure. It may be due to the example set by these organizations, but American gun owners act timid and guilt ridden when discussing the 2nd Amendment. We're always on the defensive and fearful of offending someone or not appearing reasonable. God forbid you show some passion and outrage in response to the loss of natural, God given, and constitutionally guaranteed rights. We sheepishly call our Ar15's and other FIGHTING RIFLES "Sporting Rifles" so we don't offend militant anti-gun nuts that want to take your property and put you in prison or happily send Law Enforcement to kill you if you don't give up your guns. We're afraid of being labeled 'radical' because we believe in the originalist take on the 2nd Amendment. Half of those that do support the 2nd Amendment are in the closet and won't even state their beliefs in the open and avoid the subject all together.
We cower when we hear people refer to Ar15's as "Weapons of War" or "Assault Rifles" and reply with an ineffective semantic lecture and explanation on firearm related technical terms.
Our Founders wanted us to have weapons of war, that is the intent of the 2nd Amendment!
The 2nd Amendment isn't ambiguous. There are many writings left by our Founders that clearly explain what the 2nd Amendment is and what it is for. It is a God given natural right that cannot be removed by a government. It's purpose is to guarantee that citizens could defend themselves against an invading foreign military or a tyrannical government.
"Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any bands of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States."
- Noah Webster, "An Examination into the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution," 1787
The only reason the United States even exists is because of the idea that citizens have an inalienable right to bear arms. Think about that for a minute!
How can we stave off a foreign military invasion or a despotic government using military force if we are wholly outgunned? If we become a citizenry relegated to only having single shot or inadequate firearms then the 2nd Amendment is defunct.
How can we be a government For the People and By the People if that government can have firearms that the People cannot? How can a government of the People reserve rights that it denies the People? That is a government that is above the People and is prepared to suppress and oppress the People!
"Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in possession and under our direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?"
-Patrick Henry, 3 J. Elliot, Debates in the Several State Conventions 45, 2d ed. Philadelphia, 1836
Gun Rights organizations appear to be completely reactionary, sitting around waiting to tackle and address the next gun control proposal that will help them raise more funds. Their motto being, "we lost but if it wasn't for us, we'd have lost a lot more". Progress isn't just mitigating loss or losing slowly. This approach has led to nothing but capitulation and defeat. We should be fighting to redeem rights that have already been stripped away and expanding our freedoms. Where in the Constitution does it say we have to pay a tax in order to exercise our rights?
Apparently, we as "2A Supporters" accept the premise that the Constitution says we have the Right to Bear Arms... unless the barrel is under 16 inches, then it's a felony until you've registered, sent in your fingerprints, paid the government a $200 fee, and receive government permission.
Can someone show me where that can be found in the Bill of Rights? Ridiculous! We have come to accept gun ownership as a privilege that we must ask permission to exercise and pay a fee for. If the right to bear arms can be regulated so severely by something as arbitrary as barrel length, type of barrel (H-BAR Maryland requirement), magazine capacity, or even dare I say, rate of fire, then we no longer recognize gun ownership as a right. Contrary to popular belief, full auto and short barreled rifles are legal, but only if you first pay a tax.
When did we as Americans get to a place where we would accept something so ludicrous? These types of laws disproportionately disenfranchise minorities and the poor. Basically, you can own certain guns that others can't as long as you're rich and can afford to buy the privilege to do so. It's a legalized government bribe and nothing else. The same goes for any fee associated with owning or carrying a gun whether that's a CCW permit or a license to purchase or own a firearm. In the case of New York, you must pay $340 licensing fee plus a $90 fingerprint fee for every handgun you purchase, and must pay the same to renew every 3 years! How could any poor person ever afford to exercise his/her 2nd Amendment rights? How is that constitutional and why has that not been challenged?
The National Firearms Act and similar laws are likely designed to disenfranchise minorities specifically.
Why are the gun rights groups not discussing that at a national level? Why are they not fighting for the rights of the poor and minorities?
Minorities already feel excluded by the major gun rights groups and complete inaction on their behalf only enforces that belief.
Should we have to pay a tax to exercise certain freedoms of speech? Would it be acceptable to require us to pay fees to practice certain religions or to attend religious gatherings? How about the 4th Amendment? Should you only have a right against unreasonable search and seizure if you've passed a background check and paid a fee? When did we come to accept the idea that the 2nd Amendment is a lesser right than all the others?
The 2nd Amendment exists because we have the right to bear arms. We do not have the right to bear arms because of the 2nd Amendment.
Rights by their nature are not granted by government but a just government does protect them.
"The Constitution shall never be construed...to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms."
-Samuel Adams 1786
We are in a legal and propaganda war for our rights and our enemies are pulling out all the stops while our side is stuck on diplomacy and defense. We have to go on the offense and quit trying to simply mitigate the loss of rights and start fighting to get back the rights that that have been unconstitutionally stripped away. If we start getting serious and strategically push for the expansion of gun rights, then maybe those trying to remove our rights will go on the defense for a change and learn to be content with losing as slowly as possible... just like we are now.
Here are four major initiatives 2A supporters and gun rights groups should be fighting for:
1) The Repeal of the National Firearms Act
2) A National Constitutional Carry/Federal CCW License
3) Elimination of any state, local, or federal fees/taxes associated with owning or carrying a firearm
4) Removal of any legal enforcement of any "Gun Free Zones" where armed security is not provided
5) Restoration of Gun Rights
- I know this might be controversial, but if you believe that the right to bear arms and to defend oneself is a natural right, then upon completion of any criminal sentence that right should be restored. If a person is too dangerous to exercise a natural right then they are too great a danger to society to be free. All free men (and women) should be able to arm themselves. At a minimum, this should be expanded to those guilty of non-violent crimes.
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms."
- Thomas Jefferson, Virginia Constitution, Draft 1, 1776
Stay Armed, Stay Ready!
-Survival IS Paramount-
Gary Melton is a former U.S. Army Special Forces Weapons Sergeant and Sniper Team Leader with 4 combat tours. He has worked full time for the last 8 years as an Instructor at a federal law enforcement agency, and currently trains military, law enforcement, and civilians as the Owner and Lead Instructor for Paramount Tactical Solutions.