60 Years of NRA Gun Control
By Vin Suprynowicz
Special to The Libertarian Enterprise
A number of correspondents have written in to protest that the
National Rifle Association is only being "realistic" in pushing for
laws which allow citizens to apply for a "permit" to carry a handgun,
since that's better than the status quo in most states, which
(constitution be damned) allow no concealed carry, at all.
Now that we've got our heads straight about that, I'm hoping the
NRA will back my call next year to finally give the "right" to free
exercise of religion the kind of protection it's been needing for so
long, via a new system under which anyone who wants to preach a
sermon (without being arrested) has to take a government-approved
"preaching safety course" (to eliminate the Jim Joneses and the David
Koreshes, you understand.)
Upon completion of this course, the would-be priests and
preachers would then be allowed to purchase a "Religious Freedom
Permit" for $350, which will allow them to preach only in certain
pre-approved and registered locations, for the next five years. Still
to be decided is whether they can preach ANY sermon with the same
permit, or if a separate permit must be obtained for each specific
sermon they may wish to preach.
Once we've gotten that enacted, I figure it'll be time to bring
in all those unruly magazine and newspaper publishers, to get THEM
fingerprinted, before we issue them (or at least, those who pass
muster) their new "Freedom of the Press Permits" ...
The way it is now (prepare yourself; this is pretty horrible), an
officer responding to a complaint at a given address has no way to
turn on the video screen in his cruiser and find out that there's a
PRINTING PRESS in that building. And we all know, between a rifle and
a printing press, which one Comrade Lenin told us was the more
dangerous "in the hands of the opposition" ...
# # #
The interesting thing is, the NRA's systematic trading-away of
our sacred rights appears to be nothing new.
Don B. Kates Jr., Yale Law School 1966, in his article in the
November 1983 Michigan Law Review, "Handgun Prohibition and the
Original Meaning of the Second Amendment," reports in footnote 23,
"Notwithstanding their portrayal in the news media (and indeed, their
own self-portraits), gun-owner organizations are not necessarily
against gun control, as opposed to gun prohibition-confiscation.
"While they frequently cite the failure of our present 20,000 gun
control measures as evidence of the uselessness of a gun ban, they
fail to point out that they and their predecessors are responsible
for many of those controls. In addition to the controls derived from
the Uniform Revolver Act, ... the NRA also cooperated in enacting the
Federal Firearms Act of 1938 ... (repealed 1968.) ... Although the
NRA did not affirmatively support the Gun Control Act of 1968, ...
the American firearms industry supported it for economic reasons.
Confirming this, correspondent A.A. wrote in from Tallahassee
last week, "My wife and I pay an exorbitant fee each three years in
order to carry a concealed weapon if we so desire. About two years
ago there was a 'compromise' clause stuck into a Florida law
supposedly designed to mollify objectors to our present carry law.
"The new law required that the names of all concealed carry
permit holders be scanned through the Florida Department of Law
Enforcement crimes list every SIX WEEKS in order to assure someone or
other that we legitimate citizens had not committed some crime or
other. My wife and I are scanned through the criminal justice system
EVERY SIX WEEKS. Had we chosen to ignore the law, no one would be
peeking into our lives. ...
"I called Marion Hammer, who lives in Tallahassee and at that
time had not yet become president of the NRA," A.A. continues. "SHE
FOUND NOTHING OBJECTIONABLE ABOUT THE LAW. ... It is a 'move to keep
the anti-gunners off our backs,' (she said.)
"Marion has been the long-time lobbyist for Unified Sportsmen of
Florida, a group I fled when it supported the ban on mail-order guns
as a 'move to keep the anti-gunners off our backs.' I discovered at
that time that retail firearms dealers were in favor of the bill
because it would kill their mail-order competition. 'Unified
Sportsmen' was really a 'go-along' lobby for the firearms dealers of
Florida and not for the individual gun owner as it touted itself to
# # #
In his November 1983 article in the Michigan Law Review, lawyer
Kates, who authored one of the petitions for certiorari in the famous
gun case "Quilici vs. City of Morton Grove," continues: "In almost
every state, the basic handgun legislation, including both the
prohibition on the carrying of concealed weapons and the restrictions
on gun ownership by felons, minors, and incompetents, stems from the
Uniform Revolver Act, drafted and promoted by the NRA and the now
defunct United States Revolver Association in the first three decades
of this century."
As for this notion that the NRA would or will ever roll back a
single piece of the victim disarmament legislation they have so
happily co-authored, let us turn now to the words of newly-elected
NRA First Vice President Charleton Heston, being interviewed by host
Ted Wygant during morning drive time on KGO-AM, the ABC radio
affiliate in San Francisco, at 8 a.m. May 6:
Wygant: "Now the image of the NRA has been an organization that
supports the right of people to buy any legal firearms, and, of
course, you go to any gun shop and you see things there that are big,
and brutal, and deadly, and far more than you need for hunting or
home protection. Do you stand by -- I mean, the image is ..."
Heston: "AK-47s are inappropriate for private ownership, of
Wygant: "Yeah, but the image is that they're -- the firepower of
these weapons is far more than a hunter or a homeowner would need.
Why is it necessary to have those guns available, anyway?"
Heston: "I just got through telling you. The possession --
private possession -- of AK-47s is entirely inappropriate."
Word is, Mr. Heston will explain in a letter to the editor in a
forthcoming edition of "Soldier of Fortune" magazine that he only
meant full-auto AK-47s ... which are, of course, perfectly legal to
possess upon payment of a $200 transfer tax. The Eastern bloc version
of the American M-16 or M-2 carbine, the Avtomat Kalashnikov Model 47
assault rifle fits to a T the kind of "militia weapons" the Second
Amendment has in mind.
# # #
If this is the way that old nail-biting Quisling, William F.
Buckley, hopes Mr. Heston will deliver the NRA from its current
"Second Amendment absolutism," I would hate to see his prescription
for progressively selling our rights down the river.
The NRA as the "sole hope" of gun owners? Why am I increasingly
reminded of the Jewish "trustees" who helped the new arrivals off the
trains at Auschwitz, muttering soothing reassurances that if the
newcomers just followed orders for a little while longer, "everything
will be fine"?
Next time, a desperate warning from Australia: "WHATEVER YOU GUYS
DO, FOR GOD'S SAKE DON'T REGISTER YOUR WEAPONS."
Vin Suprynowicz is the assistant editorial page editor of the Las Vegas
Review-Journal. The web site for the Suprynowicz column is at
http://www.nguworld.com/vindex/. The column is syndicated in the
United States and Canada via Mountain Media Syndications, P.O. Box
4422, Las Vegas Nev. 89127.