September 4, 2019
This weekend, a deranged individual killed seven folks on a highway in Texas. Police finally ended his rampage in a parking lot shootout.
From what we can tell, he was a low-life drifter.
He couldn’t hold a job for long. He lived in a metal shack with a dirt floor. He had tattooed his face with teardrops.
No one who knew him thought he was representative of anyone…
A neighbor called him violent and aggressive. The FBI said he had been in a long, downward spiral. Another neighbor was relieved to know he was dead.
And yet, the Democratic party would like to use this disturbed individual to suppress the rights of more than 100 million American gunowners.
Beto O’Rourke has vowed to implement a mandatory gun-buyback program. And he’s singled out the AR-15 model, one of the most popular rifles in America.
Kamala Harris plans to confiscate firearms from anyone who expresses an opinion that may indicate they could commit a hate crime… including racist threats or anti-immigrant manifestos. Her language is vague, but her plan could be an attack on both First Amendment and Second Amendment rights.
And Joe Biden wants to ban any magazine that holds more than one bullet. Of course, every magazine holds more than one bullet… his ban would apply to the vast majority of firearms in America.
In today’s issue, American Consequences contributor Sean Parnell looks back at another shooting two years ago… and forward to what might happen in 2020.
Are Gun Owners Complacent Today?
By Sean Parnell, author and retired Infantry Captain
In November 2017, a gunman opened fire on worshippers at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, killing 26. The carnage might have been worse if it weren’t for local resident Stephen Willeford, who wounded the attacker with his AR-15 rifle. The shooter fled and after a high-speed pursuit with police, he took his own life.
Willeford, the hero of Sutherland Springs, has recently been in the news for his very public advocacy for gun rights. A former National Rifle Association (NRA) firearms instructor, he’s the living embodiment of the “good guy with a gun.”
And now, he’s putting himself on the line to stand up for the rights of firearms owners. For gun owners and believers in the Second Amendment, Willeford’s example should be inspiring.
So my question is: Are the rest of us living up to that courageous example?
I fear that in the last few years, gun owners have become entirely too complacent. With the 2020 election season looming, it’s time for gun owners to stand up for our Second Amendment rights. Because at this very moment, the forces in favor of constraining those rights are on the move.
It’s understandable why the firearms community might have gotten a little lazy. When President Barack Obama decided to make an aggressive gun control push in his second term, believers in the Second Amendment stood together and made the case for our constitutional rights.
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But when Donald Trump took the White House, too many gun owners decided they could breathe easy. Media accounts noted the “Trump slump” in gun sales. Sales declined as people grew less concerned about new gun regulations and prohibitions. After all, Trump had promised to protect the rights of gun owners. And he’s thus far held to that promise.
But this complacency was a major error. The forces pushing the gun control agenda don’t rest. They continue to push their restrictive program, and many of them are quite clear in stating that the ultimate goal is confiscation and prohibition.
Moreover, with the leftward lurch of the Democratic Party and the media, many public figures are pushing more aggressively for gun restrictions. This is a pronounced shift from just a few years ago, when most Democratic candidates outside of the safest blue districts strove to allay gun owners’ concerns. Even Obama sought to downplay gun issues in the early stages of his presidency. While few actually believed he respected firearms owners, he at least paid us the tribute of pretending. Now they seem convinced they’ve already won the issue, and don’t need our support.
So job No. 1 for gun-rights defenders is preparation to counter that political dynamic. With that in mind, here are a few steps gun owners can take right now to secure their rights:
- Represent your community well. Let people see that gun owners are just like them. (The media likes to portray gun owners as paranoid rednecks.) When discussing firearms issues and the Second Amendment, do your homework and have your facts ready. Be calm, firm, and clear.
- Contact your public officials. Write a letter to your Congressional representative and senators explaining your concerns. Even if you know your members are opposed to gun rights, they need to hear from you. Don’t cede the argument to the other side.
- Recruit your friends and neighbors. Know someone who doesn’t own a firearm but is interested in learning? Help them to buy their first gun and take them shooting to teach them about responsible gun ownership.
- Train regularly – and be serious about firearm safety. This is the biggest one. I see entirely too many news stories about unnecessary shootings that stem from sloppy handling of firearms and unsafe storage. For anyone who’s serious about guns, those tragedies are particularly infuriating because they are almost always avoidable. Moreover, those incidents serve as an “own goal,” since they’ll inevitably be exploited as “proof” that citizens can’t be trusted with guns.
You’ll note that all of these suggestions are focused on the grassroots level, with gun owners acting in their own neighborhoods and communities.
Grassroots commitment is critical. We can’t outsource the defense of our constitutional rights to the NRA or other national advocacy groups. And it’s doubly unwise to trust those rights to Republican politicians, many of whom wrongly think they can “work together” with gun control zealots to achieve a compromise. Defending Second Amendment rights must be a truly “bottom-up” effort.
The best advocates for gun rights are responsible gun owners themselves. Just look at Stephen Willeford’s example. The gun controllers won’t cease their quest to curtail your rights… so let’s work at defending those rights.
Sean Parnell (@SeanParnellUSA), a retired U.S. Army infantry captain who served in Afghanistan with the 10th Mountain Division, is the author of Outlaw Platoon: Heroes, Renegades, Infidels, and the Brotherhood of War in Afghanistan and Man of War. His third book, All Out War, just came out yesterday. Buy it here.
Now here are some of the stories we’re reading…
“We are not the bad guys,” he said of gun owners. “Infringing on the rights of good (guys) with guns does nothing to stop the bad guys with guns. In fact it helps them.”
He has also called for a ban on assault-style guns and high capacity magazines, which he has also said would be required to be sold to the U.S. government under his administration.
“Joe Biden makes the most extreme gun-control push of all the 2020 Democrat presidential candidates: Biden calls for banning ‘magazines that can hold multiple bullets in them.’ All magazines hold ‘multiple bullets,’ that’s the point. This call from Biden would ban most handguns.”
And let us know what you’re reading at [email protected].
Publisher, American Consequences
With P.J. O’Rourke and the Editorial Staff
September 4, 2019