Second Amendment News & Issues

also see the bottom of our *LINKS* page
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A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms,
shall not be infringed

A Condensed History of Gun Control

by Joe A. Merritt - - Shown by year - - * click for PDF of this *

Federal History

1775 British attempt to seize arms, meet resistance at Lexington

1791 Bill of Rights ratified, 2nd Amendment - "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

1865 Many southern states adopt "black codes" laws, infringing the right of now free blacks to keep and bear arms.

1868 14th Amendment adopted

1920s SCOTUS begins ruling 14th Amendment incorporates the Bill of Rights to apply to States

1927 Concealable Weapons Ban - Bans mailing easily concealed weapons

1933 21st Amendment adopted - Prohibition Repealed

1934 National Firearms Act - Alcohol Tax Unit retasked (later BATFE) - Defines machine guns (MG), short-barreled rifles (SBR), short barreled shotguns (SBS), Any Other Weapon (AOW). $200 tax stamp fee on creating or transferring $200 in 1934 (inflation adjusted that's $3,571 in 2016)

1938 Federal Firearms Act - Imposes licensing requirement on gun manufacturers, importers, and retailers. Felon firearm ownership illegal.

1968 Gun Control Act - Further restricts firearm manufacture/import/sale. Origin of "sporting purposes" restriction. Requires serial numbers.

1986 Firearm Owner Protection Act - Banned issuing machine gun creation tax stamps to private citizens. Removed some GCA restrictions, created a Federal Safe Passage law for transporting firearms as a citizen across country. Limited BATF inspections of FFL holders to once a year.

1989 Import Ban on Assault Weapons - Bans import of foreign-made rifles without a "sporting purpose"

1990 Crime Control Act - Makes school gun free zones, adds mandatory minimum sentences for firearm use in specific crimes

1993 Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act - Created National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS)

1994 Assault Weapon Ban - Banned many firearms by name and/or mostly cosmetic features

1996 Lautenberg Amendment - Makes firearm ownership illegal if convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence, or under a restraining order for domestic abuse.

1998 FBI maintained NICS is operational

2004 Assault Weapon Ban expires

2008 SCOTUS rules 2A applies to federal enclaves and is an individual right, specifically including self-defense Heller v. District of Columbia

2010 SCOTUS rules 2A incorporated to States through 14A - McDonald v. City of Chicago

2016 SCOTUS rules 2A applies to ALL forms of bearable arms, including those not yet invented. Caetano v. Massachusetts

Washington State History

1889 Washington becomes a State, Article 1 Section 24 - "RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS. The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain or employ an armed body of men."

1961 WA concealed carry law revised to generally what we have now (what became RCW 9.41.050) - pass a background check, here is your permit

1994 WA passes its own Assault Weapon Ban - Makes all NFA weapons illegal to possess in WA (RCW 9.41.190)

2011 WA re-legalizes silencers, adds NICS exemption to CPL holders

2012 WA re-legalizes assisted opening knives

2013 I-594 passes, making firearm transfers between private citizens illegal without performing a background check

2014 WA re-legalizes SBRs (2016 WA fixes 2014 SBR legalization)

Current Washington States Laws

Open Carry - Legal, except in vehicles or specific government buildings (schools, courthouse, etc) or 21+ only sections of bars

Concealed Carry - Obtaining a CPL is very simple compared to many states.

NFA - Only Machine Guns and Short Barreled Shotguns still illegal

Firearm State Pre-emption

Implicit Castle Doctrine - "No duty to retreat"

Dangerous Weapons - Switchblade and spring blade knife illegal

Joe's Wish List

Repeal I-594 (Universal Background Checks)

Repeal the pistol registry by repeal of RCW 9.41.110.(9)

Add "constitutional reciprocity" (honor all other state's concealed carry permits)

Add state pre-emption for knife laws (currently no length limit at state level, different counties/cities vary 6"-3")

Add "constitutional carry" (no CPL required for concealed carry), with optional CPL still available for traveling in less permissive states

Repeal automatic knife ban by repeal of RCW 9.41.250.(2)

Repeal Machine Gun and Short Barreled Shotgun ban by repeal of RCW 9.41.190 and RCW 9.41.220

PRO-2A Organizations




saf.org (Second Amendment Foundation - based in Bellevue)

Many more!

Stand-up comedian Jackie Mason (1931- -) on feel-good liberals and gun control
Click for his six-minute video on "AllAboutHolsters.com"

Click here for NRA News.com

Click here for Second Amendment news from the NRA: American's First Freedom

Very informative 32-page PDF from US Concealed Carry Association

No Charges Filed, but Legal Firearms Confiscated Anyway

From the Buckeye Arms website [Jan 7, 2016] -- an article from the NRA:

We've raised concerns before about how proposed "gun violence restraining orders" and similar firearm surrender orders can be abused and issued in cases where the police lack sufficient evidence for an arrest and simply wish to deprive an individual of the right to bear arms, and on how difficult it can be to get property back after the government seizes it. These concerns are magnified when such seizure procedures originate not from judicially authorized orders, but from the considerably more opaque processes within law enforcement.

The National Rifle Association says:

It's perhaps no surprise that one such confiscation policy surfaces in Nassau County, New York. As we reported on in September and October, this is the same jurisdiction where the Acting District Attorney implemented and then rescinded a personnel policy that banned Nassau County prosecutors from having handguns, even at home. Evidently, Nassau County takes every opportunity to chill the freedoms of its citizens.

The confiscation policy, Nassau County Police Department (NCPD) Department Procedure OPS 10023, Removal and Disposition of Weapons -- Domestic Incidents/Threats to Public Safety, authorizes the confiscation of lawful firearms during "domestic incidents," but goes further. It empowers law enforcement officers to confiscate legally possessed guns when these can be viewed as "creat[ing] a threat of violence" or any "threat to public safety" at all. Once confiscated, the firearm cannot be returned to its owner where the reviewing police officer finds the owner "has a relevant Nassau County arrest history" (whatever that may be), or where "other extenuating circumstances" exist which indicate the gun "should not be returned" (whatever these may be).

A recent court case serves as an illustration of the policy in action.

The plaintiff, Andrew Carroll, shared a home with his mother. She had a basement apartment and he lived upstairs. In September 2014, while he was at work, she removed his AR-15 rifle from his apartment "as collateral" for $50 that she claimed he owed her. After Carroll called the police, NCPD officers not only confiscated the rifle from the mother's apartment, but also seized two other long guns and a magazine belonging to Carroll and found in the house. Officers taking his guns advised these would be returned by the end of the night if no criminal charges were filed. The guns were not returned and another officer later confirmed that the NCPD had decided to "keep the guns." A NCPD receipt warned that confiscated firearms were liable to be destroyed one year from the date of seizure. Significantly, Carroll was the complainant who called the police, and appears to have been fully cooperative. At no time was he subject to an order of protection or in any other way disqualified from possessing or owning a firearm. No criminal charges -- against his mother or Carroll -- were filed. There are no indications that the incident involved the infliction or alleged infliction of physical injury, or the use or threatened use of a deadly weapon by Carroll or anyone else.

After weeks passed without the confiscated guns being returned (even after an in-person request), Carroll resorted to a federal lawsuit against the police and Nassau County, initiated six months after his guns were taken away. His lawsuit alleged violations of the Second Amendment and other constitutional rights, and sought an injunction to prevent the NCPD from further retaining (or destroying) his guns, and from continuing to enforce its firearm confiscation policy in cases that lacked criminal, domestic violence, or order of protection elements.

Nassau County responded, initially, by claiming that Carroll had failed to comply with additional documentation requirements, being a letter "detailing the incident" that led to the confiscation of his guns and why his guns should be returned to him, the signature of his mother and "anyone else residing" with Carroll, and "his plan to fully secure the guns." Interestingly, as the court points out, no provision of the confiscation policy required Carroll to supply this "undocumented" documentation as a precondition to the NCPD returning his property, and there was no proof that this information had even been previously requested, or when.

The court, however, declined to grant the preliminary injunctive relief Carroll sought at this stage. The District Judge concluded that any injury suffered by Carroll would be compensable by money damages once the lawsuit was heard on the merits. As for preventing future enforcement violations arising from the policy, the judge concluded there was insufficient evidence to show that such violations were likely to occur. "[O]n the record before it, the Court is unable to conclude that the Department's Confiscation Policy is being regularly applied in an unconstitutional manner, so as to require immediate cessation." Pending further action in this lawsuit, the court declined to order the NCPD to return Carroll's confiscated firearms or to take steps to prevent their destruction. The case is Carroll v. Krumpter, which can be found here.

copyright 2015 National Rifle Association of America, Institute for Legislative Action. This may be reproduced.

Liberals With Guns!

Click here for video

Whoops! Historically, Gun Control Works (Facebook video)

Harvard Study destroys the myth of Gun Control Agenda



In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control:

From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.


In 1911, Turkey established gun control:

From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.


Germany established gun control in 1938:

From 1939 to 1945, a total of 13 million Jews and others who were unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated.


China established gun control in 1935:

From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.


Guatemala established gun control in 1964:

From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayan Indians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.


Uganda established gun control in 1970:

From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.


Cambodia established gun control in 1956:

From 1975 to 1977, one million educated people, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.


56 million defenseless people were rounded up and exterminated in the 20th Century because of gun control.


You won't see this data on the US evening news, or hear politicians disseminating this information. It's up to YOU!

Guns in the hands of honest citizens save lives and property and, yes, gun-control laws adversely affect only the law-abiding citizens. With guns, we are 'citizens'; without them, we are 'subjects'.

During WW II, the Japanese decided not to invade America because they knew most Americans were ARMED!

Gun owners in the USA are the largest armed forces in the World!

The purpose of fighting is to win. There is no possible victory in defense.

The sword is more important than the shield and skill is more important than either.




Guns in the hands of honest citizens save lives and property.

Gun-control laws adversely affect only the law-abiding citizens.

With guns, we are 'citizens'; without them, we are 'subjects' ---



Seventy-two killed resisting gun confiscation in Boston

by Author Unknown
7:00am Monday, April 21, 2014

Boston - National Guard units seeking to confiscate a cache of recently banned assault weapons were ambushed on April 19 by elements of a para-military extremist faction. Military and law enforcement sources estimate that 72 were killed and more than 200 injured before government forces were compelled to withdraw.

Speaking after the clash, Massachusetts Governor Thomas Gage declared that the extremist faction, which was made up of local citizens, has links to the radical right-wing tax protest movement. Gage blamed the extremists for recent incidents of vandalism directed against internal revenue offices. The governor, who described the group's organizers as "criminals," issued an executive order authorizing the summary arrest of any individual who has interfered with the government's efforts to secure law and order.

The military raid on the extremist arsenal followed wide-spread refusal by the local citizenry to turn over recently outlawed assault weapons. Gage issued a ban on military-style assault weapons and ammunition earlier in the week. This decision followed a meeting in early this month between government and military leaders at which the governor authorized the forcible confiscation of illegal arms.

One government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, pointed out that "none of these people would have been killed had the extremists obeyed the law and turned over their weapons voluntarily." Government troops initially succeeded in confiscating a large supply of outlawed weapons and ammunition. However, troops attempting to seize arms and ammunition in Lexington met with resistance from heavily-armed extremists who had been tipped off regarding the government's plans.

During a tense standoff in the Lexington town park, National Guard Colonel Francis Smith, commander of the government operation, ordered the armed group to surrender and return to their homes. The impasse was broken by a single shot, which was reportedly fired by one of the right-wing extremists.

Eight civilians were killed in the ensuing exchange.

Ironically, the local citizenry blamed government forces rather than the extremists for the civilian deaths. Before order could be restored, armed citizens from surrounding areas had descended upon the guard units. Colonel Smith, finding his forces over matched by the armed mob, ordered a retreat. Governor Gage has called upon citizens to support the state/national joint task force in its effort to restore law and order. The governor also demanded the surrender of those responsible for planning and leading the attack against the government troops.

Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, and John Hancock, who have been identified as "ringleaders" of the extremist faction, remain at large.

And this, fellow Americans, is how the American Revolution began, in April, 1775.

On July 4th, 1776 these same extremists signed the Declaration of Independence, pledging to each other and their countrymen their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor. Many of them lost everything, including their families and their lives over the course of the next few years.

Lest we forget!!


I swung my front door wide open and placed my Remington 30.06 right in the doorway.

I left 6 shells beside it, then left it alone and went about my business. While I was gone, the mailman delivered my mail, the neighbor boy across the street mowed the yard, a girl walked her dog down the street, and quite a few cars stopped at the stop sign near the front of our house.

After about an hour, I checked on the gun. It was still sitting there, right where I had left it. It hadn't moved itself outside. It certainly hadn't killed anyone, even with the numerous opportunities it had been presented to do so. In fact, it hadn't even loaded itself. Well you can imagine my surprise, with all the media hype about how dangerous guns are and how they kill people.

- - - Either the media is wrong. or I'm in possession of the laziest gun in the world.

Well, I'm off to check on my spoons. I hear they're making people fat.

Virtual State of the Union Speech

(It's OK, it's not Obama)
Why do we have the 2nd Amendment, anyway?
The Virtual President makes it crystal clear, especially starting at 4:47 in this video

A gun is like a parachute. If you need one,
and don't have one, you'll never need one again.

Oops! Wrong House!

Maryland has really strict gun laws, and only certain people have them. This fellow is a retired cop, so he's one of the lucky ones. See just how lucky in this video!

Here are some of the 2nd Amendment stories we featured in the past:

Patriot Humor Part 2

Senate Mulls Background Checks on Potential Victims

by Scott Ott on Scrappleface.com

"The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States. A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive."

--Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution (Philadelphia 1787).

What was Noah Webster talking about? Why is the President pushing gun control? Are the American people being pushed into what might be considered an "unjust and oppressive" law? What did Noah Webster note as the people's recourse against "unjust and oppressive" laws? It might be good to note this as our president is screaming for stricter gun control. Thomas Jefferson's solution seems to be the opposite of what the president is promoting.

"What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms."

-- Thomas Jefferson to William Stephens


YouTube video of Mark Dice - getting signatures to
"Repeal the Second Amendment" - -
and take the guns away from the crazy right-wing extremists...
...and you know some of them VOTE!

Share this with your liberal friends!

Video: Conservative Blacks speak out for the NRA
and the Second Amendment

Bill Whittle: Guns, Islam and Orlando * click here *

Bill Whittle:

He examines our sick, twisted obsession with guns!
Click for Video: Um, maybe it's not the guns?

"Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? It is feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American... [T]he unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people."

--Tench Coxe, The Pennsylvania Gazette, 1788

"Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States."

–Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution, 1787

Weeping First Lady Pushes Stolen Gun Ban

again, by Scott Ott on Scrappleface.com

Easter Sunday Murder in the Buckeye State

...in guess what - another "Gun FREE Zone!"

The Buckeye Firearms Association says:
"In Ohio, if a church member with a concealed handgun license brings their firearm to church as a means of protection against such an attack, the law calls for him to be arrested and charged with a felony of the fourth degree, and a conviction would earn him up to $5000 in fines and 18 months in prison."
Click to see the BFA bulletin

Somehow our legislators haven't figured out the problem here...

Stabbing Spree Renews Call For Knife Handle Limits

of course, by Scott Ott on Scrappleface.com

Ten Mass Shootings Stopped by Good Guys with Guns

Story from CNS News - click here!

VIDEO: This Dad puts Congress ON NOTICE about "Gun Control!!"

Another video: Do itty-bitty magazines really make you safer? From Buckeye Firearms Association. This 14-minute video was obtained from our own Bellevue-based Citizens Committee for the Right to keep and Bear Arms

Yet another video: Do itty-bitty magazines really make you safer? From Buckeye Firearms Association. This 14-minute video was obtained from our own Bellevue-based Citizens Committee for the Right to keep and Bear Arms

Gun Control or People Control?

Don't let the Left co-opt the language (Click for Video)
Guns Across America Rally

Why Grandpa Carries a Gun

The quintessential reason why Grandpa carries a gun.

Why Carry a Gun?

My old Grandpa said to me, "Son, there comes a time in every man's life when he stops bustin' knuckles and starts bustin' caps and usually it's when he becomes too old to take a whoopin'"

I don't carry a gun to kill people; I carry a gun to keep from being killed.

I don't carry a gun because I'm evil; I carry a gun because I have lived long enough to see the evil in the World.

I don't carry a gun because I hate the government; I carry a gun because I understand the limitations of government.

I don't carry a gun because I'm angry; I carry a gun so that I don't have to spend the rest of my life hating myself for failing to be prepared.

I don't carry a gun because I want to shoot someone; I carry a gun because I want to die at a ripe old age in my bed and not on a sidewalk somewhere tomorrow afternoon.

I don't carry a gun to make me feel like a man; I carry a gun because men know how to take care of themselves and the ones they love.

I don't carry a gun because I feel inadequate; I carry a gun because unarmed and facing three armed thugs, I am inadequate.

I don't carry a gun because I love it; I carry a gun because I love life and the people who make it meaningful to me.

Police protection is an oxymoron: Free citizens must protect themselves because police do not protect you from crime; they just investigate the crime after it happens and then call someone in to clean up the mess.

Personally, I carry a gun because I'm too young to die and too old to take a whoopin'!

Here's a link to a great video of the Second Amendment
- as viewed through the THIRD Amendment. Stretch your understanding with this! (It's on You Tube - after the ad watch the crash dummy)

"The philosophy of gun control: Teenagers are roaring through town at 90MPH, where the speed limit is 25. Your solution is to lower the speed limit to 20."

- Sam Cohen (inventor of the neutron bomb)

Founding Fathers Quotes

"A free people ought to be armed."
--- George Washington

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
--- Benjamin Franklin

"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms."
--- Thomas Jefferson

"I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery."
--- Thomas Jefferson

"The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes.... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."
--- Thomas Jefferson (quoting 18th century criminologist Cesare Beccaria)

"A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be your constant companion of your walks." - Thomas Jefferson

"The Constitution of most of our states (and of the United States) assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed."
--- Thomas Jefferson

"On every occasion [of Constitutional interpretation] let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying [to force] what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, [instead let us] conform to the probable one in which it was passed."
--- Thomas Jefferson

"I enclose you a list of the killed, wounded, and captives of the enemy from the commencement of hostilities at Lexington in April, 1775, until November, 1777, since which there has been no event of any consequence ... I think that upon the whole it has been about one half the number lost by them, in some instances more, but in others less. This difference is ascribed to our superiority in taking aim when we fire; every soldier in our army having been intimate with his gun from his infancy."
--- Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Giovanni Fabbroni, June 8, 1778

"Arms in the hands of citizens may be used at individual discretion in private self defense."
--- John Adams

"To disarm the people is the most effectual way to enslave them."
--- George Mason

"I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few politicians."
--- George Mason (father of the Bill of Rights and The Virginia Declaration of Rights)

"Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed, as they are in almost every country in Europe."
--- Noah Webster

"The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops."
--- Noah Webster

"A government resting on the minority is an aristocracy, not a Republic, and could not be safe with a numerical and physical force against it, without a standing army, an enslaved press and a disarmed populace."
--- James Madison

"Americans have the right and advantage of being armed, unlike the people of other countries, whose leaders are afraid to trust them with arms."
--- James Madison

"The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country."
--- James Madison

"The ultimate authority resides in the people alone."
--- James Madison

"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."
--- William Pitt

"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them."
--- Richard Henry Lee

"A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves ... and include all men capable of bearing arms."
--- Richard Henry Lee

"Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined.... The great object is that every man be armed. Everyone who is able might have a gun."
--- Patrick Henry

"This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty.... The right of self defense is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any color or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction."
--- St. George Tucker

"... arms ... discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property.... Horrid mischief would ensue were (the law-abiding) deprived the use of them."
--- Thomas Paine

"The Constitution shall never be construed to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms."
---- Samuel Adams

"The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them."
--- Joseph Story

"What, Sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty .... Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins."
--- Rep. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts

" ... for it is a truth, which the experience of all ages has attested, that the people are commonly most in danger when the means of insuring their rights are in the possession of those of whom they entertain the least suspicion."
-- Alexander Hamilton

Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg has personal bodyguards who are armed. But that's him. We're just not as important as he is, are we?

Newsflash for unarmed Americans:
We gun owners don't carry for you

by Jeff Knox, reprinted from SecondCallDefense.org website

This is an editorial dealing with the difficult issue of whether gun owners should intervene to stop a crime that does not directly involve personal self defense. While Second Call Defense believes this can only be decided on a case-by-case basis, we also think the point of view expressed in this article makes sense for most people with average firearm and self defense skills and training.

We touched on this issue in a previous post titled Should you use your gun to stop a crime?

Like many Americans, I frequently carry a gun. I've done so for over 30 years without ever laying hand to it in need. Professor John Lott of the Crime Prevention Research Center reports that some 12.8 million people, over 5.2 percent of the adult U.S. population, are licensed to carry a concealed handgun. In addition to concealed carry license holders in all 50 states, seven states require no permit at all for concealed carry, and 40 states have few restrictions on carrying as long as the gun is visible.

On top of that, as I have reported recently, there appears to be a growing trend among people who routinely carry a firearm to also routinely ignore signs that tell them they can't. It is a growing form of civil disobedience that puts no one at increased risk of death or injury. As the number of concealed carriers grows, violent crime continues to fall. This doesn't prove that more guns equals less crime, but it irrefutably proves that more guns do not equate to more crime.

Unless you live in one of the extremely restrictive states like New York, New Jersey, or Massachusetts, any time you are on the street or anywhere that does not have controlled access, with metal detectors and bag searches, etc., there is a fairly high probability that someone nearby is legally carrying a gun. But they are not carrying that gun to protect you.

A popular essay from Lt. Col. Dave Grossman divided humans into three categories: "Sheep," "Wolves," and "Sheepdogs." I would suggest that Lt. Col. Grossman left out an important fourth category: "Porcupines."

My wife is neither "sheep" nor "sheepdog," and she certainly is no "wolf." She is a "porcupine," harmless and docile if left alone, but ferocious and dangerous if threatened -- even more so if her progeny are threatened. She would choose flight over fight every time, if flight is a viable option. But if flight is not an option, she has the tools, training and mindset to win the fight.

Our nation's convoluted laws on self-defense and liability also force all but the most dedicated "sheepdogs" into the role of "porcupine" as well, making "porcupines" the most prevalent variety of armed citizen. We won't passively stand by while the wolves have their way with us or our families, but neither can we take responsibility for protecting the "sheep" from the "wolves."

Certainly, most people who carry would take action to help someone in need if there was an opportunity to do so and there was no obvious alternative -- and while many of us would probably prefer to characterize ourselves as "sheepdogs" rather than "porcupines," the reality is that protecting you, your spouse, and your children is your responsibility, not ours. You should also be aware that protection of you and your family is not the responsibility of the police, either. The courts have conclusively ruled that the police have a duty to protect only the public at large, not individuals.

Those of us who have a natural inclination toward being "sheepdogs" have some pretty significant disincentives to acting on those inclinations. Not only is it physically dangerous to intervene in a violent situation, it is a legal minefield that in most cases must be navigated in a matter of seconds. While laws and jurisprudence protect police from prosecution and civil liability, and while some protections exist for individuals acting in defense of themselves and their families, there are few shields for someone acting on behalf of a stranger. Armed citizens who intervene in situations where they or their families are not in imminent danger place themselves at significant risk of prosecution and civil penalties.

We also tend to be keenly aware of the fact that any error involving a firearm can be devastating and permanent. Violent encounters usually happen quickly, and they can be very confusing. It's not always clear who is the "good guy" and who is the "bad guy." Anyone who has ever been through a quality personal defense course has been cautioned to avoid deploying a firearm or engaging an aggressor unless there is no other alternative.

In any shooting situation, there are two key problems to deal with. Problem One is survival. Problem Two is dealing with the legal and emotional fallout from solving Problem One. Ending a life can be emotionally devastating, and the legal consequences can destroy bank accounts and quality of life as surely as being gravely wounded.

For most of us, there are no legal repercussions for running away. In the real world, this means flight is better than fight. Our training, and often the law, dictates that if we're enjoying a movie when a homicidal lunatic starts shooting people on the other side of the theater, our first responsibility is to get out and away, especially if our family is with us. If we're in a college class and we hear gunfire from the next building or a classroom down the hall, we, just like our unarmed classmates or students, should evacuate or "shelter in place," not head toward the gunfire.

This approach is galling to many gun owners, especially those of us with a natural inclination toward being "sheepdogs." We would rather fight than run. We would rather put ourselves at risk than allow evil to go unchecked. But regardless of the level of training and skill a person has, the multiple layers of risk that are inherent in any shooting situation stack the deck against playing the hero unless there is no other alternative.

Both sides of the debate over bearing arms have a tendency to relegate armed citizens to the role of "sheepdog," but that is a role the law and prudence won't let us accept, though some of us will try despite the obstacles. For the most part, we are "porcupines." We are armed for defense of ourselves and our families, not for you and yours. In a worst-case scenario, one of us might be present and save your life in defending our own, but don't count on it. We don't carry for you.

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