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29


THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 29, June 1, 1997

60 Years of NRA Gun Control

By Vin Suprynowicz
vin@lvrj.com

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 be."

# # #

         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 course."
         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.


A Juror's Creed: As an American juror, I will exercise my 1000 year old duty to arrive at a verdict, not just on the basis of the facts of a particular case or instructions I am given, but through my ability to reason, my knowledge of the Bill of Rights, and my individual conscience.
-- L. Neil Smith


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