Gun Rights Won

gun owners

It might seem to early to know for sure, but I’m calling it: gun ownership rights have won in America.

Now, I’m not saying that the struggle is over. No, there are still many battles yet to come, and there will be ups and downs in the conflict. But make no mistake: the war has been won.

Those of you who aren’t so convinced might point to recent examples such as New York and Massachusetts, where various forms of regulations have prevailed and even become stronger. Exceptions always exist to a rule, however, and such occurrences isolated to traditional big-government stronghold areas do nothing to slow the greater trend towards firearms ownership freedom. A few cases in particular really illustrate the trend:

The assault weapons ban failed. Lest we forget, during the Clinton years there was a ban on so-called “assault weapons” in place that has since expired. For the last five years the U.S. government has been under pretty solid Democratic Party control. During this time, a recent spate of highly-visible school shootings occurred, culminating in the Sandy Hook tragedy, a veritable perfect storm for would-be gun-grabbers. With a sympathetic media and a ready gun control plan years in the making, it should have been like taking candy from a baby. As it turns out, this was one fierce and obstinate metaphorical baby.

Gun rights have won at the state level in big ways. Arizona, traditionally a very pro-gun state, took its reputation a step further in 2010 by implementing permitless concealed carry, meaning a citizen can now carry a concealed firearm without obtaining any permit whatsoever. The Grand Canyon State is also the site of the assassination attempt on famous gun-control advocate Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who post-Sandy Hook and the attempt on her own life has been leading the charge for stricter gun regulations. Unsuccessfully so. Arizona holds firm, and Ohio, our second prime example, has just recently allowed concealed carry in certain school districts, formerly the hallowed strongholds of so-called “gun-free zones.”

The internet-fueled public opinion war went to the gun owners This is a brave new age of heretofore-unfathomable information flow. Media, public officials, and certain experts used to be the gatekeepers of the debate surrounding major issues. Now, thanks to social media, everyone from hardworking businessmen to full-time moms can participate in the discussion with a few clicks. Faced with a national (and global) discussion completely outside of their control, the foes of firearm rights fell short.

The war is far from over, and at this point it could easily go either way; but I’m still calling it. Firearm ownership rights’ biggest challenge completely failed, even backfired. The decentralizing power of the internet was simply too strong. How about the rest of the world? I can’t say. However, seeing how the information age has allowed this conflict to turn out so far, and knowing the borderless nature of the internet, it probably won’t be too long before the rest of the developed world follows suit.

It may still be early in the battle over the private right to own a firearm, but not too early to see the handwriting on the wall. It’s time to face it: gun rights won.

Race War Friendly Fire

Photo credit: David Shankbone

Photo credit: David Shankbone

Evil begets evil, and violence begets violence. And the trial of George Zimmerman provided plenty enough suffering to go around.

All speculations, posturing, and tribalism aside, it’s important to regard the death of Trayvon Martin for what it was: a tragic situation for all parties involved. Who deserved to die? No one. It was a lethal confrontation that could have been avoided. But it happenend anyway.

Unfortunately, some saw it necessary to turn this tragedy into a race war, to paint Trayvon’s killing as an act of pure hate, to drag this simple case into the national limelight. And others sought to fight back, to “win” the race war for Zimmerman.

This brutal conflict has not been without its casualties. In particular, Trayvon Martin’s parents have gone through hell during the trial. As if the violent death of their child weren’t enough, the Martins were forced to relive every excruciating moment of the whole affair, in addition to suffering every criticism of their son that could paint him in a negative light, along with strong implications that he merely got what was coming to him.

That completely goes without mentioning the lasting implications of the race angle that was unfairly brought upon this whole case with an iron first. Will a black male youth have to live in constant fear of being instantly perceived as a threat, guilty until proven innocent? Will a law-abiding citizen have to take a second look at the appearance of his attacker before exercising his right to self-defense, fearing that, in the case of the wrong skin color, he could risk a near-lynching for defending his own life?

Because of the entire nation capitalizing on the tragic situation of Trayvon Martin, the whole affair caused even more harm and grief than a death should, some of it bearing lasting consequences into the future. Let’s not do that again.

Weapons of Mass Competition


Who thinks firearms need to be regulated in order to prevent the wrong people from using them to murder innocents? Show of hands?

Well you’re wrong! Gun regulations do nothing to prevent the murder of innocents and do everything to consolidate power for a select few. They’re all about winning the arms race, about eliminating competition and securing a monopoly on the use of force. Here’s how:

Restricting guns does nothing to keep innocent people from being killed. Not to scare anyone, but it’s shockingly easy to find ways of killing people. Kitchen knives, heavy dictionaries, that bust of Martin van Buren that your mom keeps on the shelf, whatever’s on hand. Just use your creativity and you can find a cheap, easy, efficient solution for murder. More efficient than a firearm, in fact. If someone comes into a coffee shop with a .38 special revolver, they can take out at most five people before having to either reload or use it as a terribly-inefficient blunt weapon. A quick trip to the Home Depot, on the other hand, and they can weild a sledgehammer or a pair of machetes and make quick work of the whole establishment. A chemistry set and an imagination and it becomes even easier. Guns weren’t designed to mow down civillians. They were designed to win battles. There’s a crucial difference there.

Restricting guns makes it harder to fight those who have them. What gun control does do, however, is make it so much more difficult to defeat those who have them. Remember that bizarre, twisted coffee shop example I used earlier with the machetes? Now imagine one of the unsuspecting patrons is packing the previously-mentioned inefficient .38 special. Those five shots and a safe distance are all he needs to stop the machete maniac right in his tracks. Restricting guns makes it so that those who have them win, and those who don’t end up losing hard. Any firearms restrictions, therefore, don’t prevent murder, but rather tip the balance of power in a conflict towards the unrestricted group.

We’re not talking about restricting guns, just who gets them. When deliberating firearms restrictions, to whom are we bequeathing the important task of implementing these restrictions? Government. Who gets to decide exactly who can and can’t possess firearms? Government. Who always, always, gets to keep their guns? Government. Who already uses their guns, or the eventual implicit threat of their use, to carry out any and every activity? Government. Are we starting to see a pattern yet?

If we really cared about public safety we would want more guns in the hands of the people, not less. We would want as many citizens as possible to be armed and trained, so as to be able to instantly respond when a psycho jumps on his riding mower and heads for the nearest preschool. But it’s not about public safety. It’s about government job security. It’s about being able to poorly serve the people and yet still stay in power, through ingeniously maintaining that precious monopoly on the use of force.

So, you free, peaceful, independent people, to you I say this: keep your guns. Buy more. Resist all efforts to take them away from you. Why? Because you’re in a Mexican standoff with the government right now. All they’re waiting for is for you to give just enough ground for them to sieze the advantage. Then they will crush you without any hesitation.

Photo credit: Martin SoulStealer

Sanity’s Armed March

armed march

This coming July Fourth, 2013, thousands of rebels will converge on Washington, D.C. carrying loaded rifles.

You read that right. No, this is not a joke. This is an actual planned armed march on the Capitol, organized by internet talk show host and Marine veteran Adam Kokesh. Almost 5,000 citizens have already indicated their intent to attend, locked and loaded, to stare down the powers that be. Is this madness? What kind of insane person would commit this crazy act of armed defiance?

Truth be told, this armed demonstration is actually nowhere near as radical and dangerous as some would make it out to be. It’s actually the sanest thing that has happened in this country in a long time. If anything, it only proves how insane the world has gotten that this is even controversial. It’s legal, peaceful, and abundantly necessary.

For proof of the legality of Kokesh’s armed march, one must look no further than the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution: “[T]he right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” The District of Columbia has in place infringements of this right, such that private citizens may not bear arms. We’re not talking about certain restrictions and conditions on the right to keep and bear arms, but rather a complete prohibition. The Constitution being the supreme law of the land, all laws which contradict its authority are therefore, themselves, illegal. The Supreme Court, as well as the state of Virginia, seem to have grasped this basic concept. Nevertheless, an armed citizen will face trouble immediately upon crossing the Potomac river into the absurd, magical, Constitution-free zone that is the District of Columbia. It’s high time the real law was upheld.

The planned march is also a peaceful demonstration, and any statements to the contrary stem from abject ignorance and hypocrisy. Demonstrators plan to simply walk around like the hordes of tourists that plague the District that time of year, the only difference being they plan to be armed. Skeptics and detractors would do well to remember this crucial fact: officers of the government do the same thing everyday. We are surrounded by law enforcement agents, military servicemembers, federal agents, and all manner of government employees who are allowed to come and go as they please while bearing all manner of killing devices. These are all people whose job description includes using violence as necessary and whose salaries are paid by a scandal-plagued Internal Revenue Service that collects its dues through the threat of force. That these certain individuals are trusted to bear arms at all times without controversy, while peaceful citizens are not, is absurd and troubling.

Finally, for the reasons mentioned above, this demonstration is absolutely necessary. We have entered into an era where the government has sole legitimate authority to bear arms in the eyes of the people. Where the Constitutionally-guaranteed rights of the people are no longer valued. Where armed, peaceful citizens engaging in the simple act of walking about has becoming a frightening, highly controversial act. For these reasons, an armed march on Washington, D.C. is necessary. Otherwise, liberty’s only recourse will be armed revolution.

On Independence Day, free, peaceful Americans will march on Washington, reminding the world that certain rights are inalienable. That all men are created equal. That we have fallen so far away from the principles of liberty upon which this countrty was founded that we now must bear the label “insane” in order to stand up for our rights. So be it. Here’s to true sanity.

Disarmament in the Information Age

gun sculpture

The stars aligned. A mass shooting in a movie theater in Colorado still very fresh in people’s minds, the horrific massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut was the deal-sealing tragedy to usher in a new era of gun control. They had been waiting for a moment like this.

It was the perfect storm of a gun-grab… but it failed. President Obama has admitted to a group of San Francisco donors that he has lost confidence in his ability to get passed any gun control measures of significance. Why? How could such a perfectly-orchestrated effort fall flat? The answer: the information age.

In the weeks following the massacre, the mainstream media reported one major myth regarding the incident: a “military-style assault rifle,” such as an AR-15, was used. Critical analysis quickly uncovered, and spread far and wide across the internet, that not only was an assault rifle not used in the actual killings, but one might not even have been present at all. That proved Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s proposed assault weapons ban to be completely irrelevant to preventing a similar massacre, dooming it from the start.

Next, thanks once more to the internet, information regarding gun violence in America was able to travel around the mainstream media’s filter rather than through it. This illuminated the abject failure of gun restrictions to cause a reduction in violence in places like England, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. itself. Once gun control’s abysmal track record on stopping violence came to light far and wide, the narrative of saving lives simply fell apart.

Finally, the moral case for gun rights, often reserved to the hearts and minds of patriotic Americans, was allowed online public exposure. A photo of Rosa Parks with the tagline “I don’t ‘need’ an AR more than Rosa Parks ‘needed’ to sit in the front of that bus” spread like a virus via Facebook, effectively setting in stone the message that We The People have the right to exercise whatever peaceful behavior we so desire without having to justify it to the government.

Times have changed. Any other decade and this would have been an open-and-shut case of national disarmament. This time, however, they underestimated the power of a free people standing up for their rights. And, most of all, they underestimated the unregulated power of the internet. Next time they try to take away a precious Constitutional right through manipulation and deception they’re going to have to try a little harder than that.

Joel Valenzuela is the editor of The Desert Lynx

Django Unarmed?

Guns: who needs ’em? Should citizenry be permitted to own military-style assault weapons? Should they have guns at all? These are the questions furiously circulating around the public policy world in the wake of several recent shootings, the most notorious of which involved a preschool in Sandy Hook, Connecticut.

But there’s a much more important question that needs to be asked, namely: If the average citizen is disarmed, who will suffer the most? The answer: minorities and women. Case in point: Django Unchained, a modern spaghetti western set in the pre-Civil War South. Leave it to Quentin Tarantino to inadvertently address a point much beyond the obvious, heavy-handed anti-slavery narrative.

Django Unchained follows the epic transformative journey of Django (played by the magnetic Jamie Foxx), a freed-slave-turned-bounty-

hunter on a quest across the American South to free his captive wife. He and his German immigrant liberator/partner work as bounty hunters, hopping from plantation to plantation, ferreting out (and terminating) fugitives from the law. All the while, they must face the strong taboo of a free, armed black man riding a horse with pride, speaking his mind without fear. The story takes them to the plantation of Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), a vicious slave owner who holds Django’s wife captive. After attempting to free her through negotiation, the bounty hunter duo ends up in a brutal firefight. It is then that Django fully grows into his role as an avenging angel of his oppressed kin, a six-shooter in the place of a flaming sword.

While the obvious takeaway from Django would be black empowerment or the evil of slavery, there is another, more pertinent lesson to be learned: the importance of firearms ownership by disadvantaged minorities.

Let’s be clear about one thing: slavery was only possible through force. Black Americans remained enslaved solely through the constant threat of violence, and the chronic inability to defend themselves. Even after obtaining freedom, the black community had to deal with racially-motivated gun control laws. These were meant specifically to disarm them, leaving them helpless and at the mercy of myriad forms of violence and oppression, such as lynch mobs.

The racial effects of gun control continue to this day, although in a less-overt fashion. Cities with strong firearms restrictions, such as Chicago and the District of Columbia, also happen to have sky-high murder rates, which disproportionately affect the poor, many of whom are minorities. The decision then boils down to either remaining defenseless or breaking the law. Either path, whether of a criminal or victim, is highly disenfranchising, and disproportionately affects the black community. Free up firearms restrictions, and you make a successful, law-abiding life all the easier.

A trusty gun is the ultimate anti-oppression tool, a point Django Unchained drives home. As the old saying goes, “God may have made men, but Samuel Colt made them equal.” Here’s to equality.