By Dan Shea
“A man may fight for many things: his country, his principles, his friends, the glistening tear on the cheek of a golden child. But personally, I’d mud-wrestle my own mother for a ton of cash, an amusing clock and a stack of French porn.” -Sir Edmund Blackadder
Those who know our Usual Suspects will be aware that our esteemed and revered Senior Editor bears a striking resemblance to Sir Edmund in both physical appearance and inter-personal relationship skill-sets. It is with a light heart that we present the above quote as a tribute to him, and to open the discussion below.
In the 1980s, there was a T-shirt being worn at some of the machine gun shoots which stated, “Please don’t tell my mother I’m a Class 3 Dealer, she thinks I own a string of Whorehouses in Texas.” While this is amusing, the underlying thought was that not only in the general population, but within the firearms community itself, the Class 3 enthusiast was looked at with suspicion and some trepidation. There just HAD to be something wrong with people who had silencers, pen guns and (shudder) machine guns.
It takes a lot to overcome stereotypes, and since the 1980s, we NFA type owners have evolved into almost a majority. Nearly every firearms owner has a “Black Rifle” of some type, semi-auto though it might be, as well as some “hi-cap” pistols. Suppressors are now downright common. This is a victory for us, but we have to be wary of the sway of public opinion. There are, in fact, large, powerful groups looking to run us over, and deny us our rights. They look to divide us, and whittle away at our God given, constitutionally guaranteed right to own military type firearms.
In the end, this is our unique birthright as Americans – the Rights guaranteed by the Constitution. It’s difficult to find a serious person who questions whether the founders of the United States of America were discussing ownership of military type firearms, and the ability to use them in defense of life, home and country. Political hacks, lobbyists and crusaders against firearms ownership might all say it’s not about that, but even the most liberal based scholar, working without agenda, will usually confirm the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is exactly that.
The quibbling begins with the discussions regarding what restrictions can be placed on a Right, especially when it states that the Right “Shall not be infringed.” For instance, the Right to Freedom of Speech; does that mean you can knowingly tell harmful lies? Can you shout “Fire” in a crowded place and cause pandemonium and harm to people? Can you orchestrate and operate a crusade of lies against people on the Internet and simply call it “Free Speech” and not have consequences?
The courts have been unraveling the cowards who hide behind the “Freedom of Speech” shield, but at times they are still protecting some. Having been through this a few times, I have zero tolerance for those types of cowards. How we went from a world of rugged individualism and personal responsibility to a world of sleazy backstabbers and liars having free reign, I’ll never understand, and fortunately, the courts are starting to swing back at the darkness.
It appears we have a similar situation with the Second Amendment. There are abusers on both sides of this – violent criminals who gain access to military firearms are not entitled to do so by our Constitution as they have surrendered that Right due to their choices and actions against society. By the same token, there are people who actively attempt to steal that Right from Americans who were either born with it or partake of it by becoming citizens. Our readers from other countries have their own unique issues to deal with and are frequently puzzled by the intricacies of our arguments. When it is not their Right and obligation to defend their home and country, our fervent discussions can seem antiquated or oblique.
However, we Americans are adamant in our positions in this regard. You will find far more defenders of a flag burner in a group of combat veterans than perhaps in general population – those men and women having paid dearly for the Right to Free Speech… and they also will defend to the death the right of some old WWII vet to express himself with a fire extinguisher when that flag burner lights a match.
Personally, I’ll defend the Right of any person to say “I don’t think you should have guns.” They can say what they want, wherever they want, because America is still a free country. However, when they try to enforce their wishes and prevent us from exercising that Right, they need to be met with whatever it takes to prevent that. It is our fervent desire at Small Arms Review that this can be met at the ballot box, and that we can get the pendulum to swing back to the purity of Paine’s “Common Sense” for national direction.
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V18N4 (August 2014)|