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March 29, 2014
California State Senator Leland Yee has established himself as one of that state's most rabidly anti-gun lawmakers--and competition for that title is fierce indeed. That makes his arrest on charges of corruption and, of all things, weapons trafficking, deliciously ironic to gun-rights advocates in California and across the nation. Hypocrisy of such purity is rarely found, even in politics.
Yee is accused of arranging a complex plan to illegally import millions of dollars worth of weapons, including machine guns and missiles, which were to be provided by Islamic extremist groups in the Philippines. From the Los Angeles Times:
The affidavit adds, “Yee explained he has known the arms dealer for a number of years and has developed a close relationship with him.” The undercover agent told Yee he wanted automatic weapons and shoulder-fired missiles and offered to pay Yee $100,000 after the first deal.
Apparently Yee's motivation was not terrorism or revolution on his own part, but simply to bolster depleted campaign funds, having fallen tens of thousands of dollars in debt from his failed 2011 San Francisco mayoral campaign, while currently seeking the Democrat nomination for Secretary of State.
Yee, like anyone else accused of a crime, deserves the presumption of innocence pending proof of guilt. The FBI certainly seems to have a great deal on him, but until he is convicted or pleads guilty, the charges against him are alleged crimes.
Still, there is plenty of evil that we do know, without a doubt, can be laid at his feet. We know that he has devoted much of his political career to forcible citizen disarmament efforts. We even have a "conviction" from no less an authority on gun ban extremism than the Brady Campaign:
For his commitment to ending gun violence, Assembly Speaker pro Tem Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/Daly City) has been named to the Gun Violence Prevention Honor Roll by the Brady Campaign. The Brady Campaign will honor Yee and other state legislators from throughout the country who earned an A+ for working against gun violence at a reception during the National Conference of State Legislators in Nashville, Tennessee, on Wednesday, August 16, 2006.
From "microstamping," to gun confiscations on the strength of a mere accusation of domestic violence, to permanent government record keeping of lost or stolen firearms, to attempts to ban systems that comply with California's mandate that changing the magazine in a semi-automatic rifle requires a tool, Yee has never seen an infringement on that which shall not be infringed that he has not liked. He has even gone so far as to try to shut down debate about his radical gun ban agenda:
It is extremely important that individuals in the state of California do not own assault weapons. I mean that is just so crystal clear, there is no debate, no discussion.
So for all the hypocrisy and malfeasance inherent to the misdeeds of which he is now accused, they would be hard pressed to harm the rights of we the people as badly as his legislative crimes against the Constitution have done, although it is worth noting that if the weapons trafficking charges are borne out, it will mean that he was willing to arm criminals with machine guns and missiles, while denying decent people access to detachable magazine-fed semi-automatic rifles with which to defend themselves from his heavily armed "clients."
In fact, in one way, by getting arrested on these serious charges, one could argue that he has somewhat redeemed himself, by setting back forcible citizen disarmament efforts in California:
"Ironically, while he's being charged with gun trafficking, next to (U.S. Sen.) Dianne Feinstein he was probably the second most outspoken gun control advocate. This really leaves us scrambling for someone to pick up that mantle," said Paul Song, executive chairman of Courage Campaign, a nonprofit advocacy group. "If it wasn't so sad it would be comical. But what we're really worried about is that this will further destroy the momentum for gun control here in California."
Let's hope Paul Song is right. If so, Yee still has much to answer for, but he will at least have made a small down payment on his debt to humanity.
A former paratrooper, Kurt Hofmann was paralyzed in a car accident in 2002. The helplessness inherent to confinement to a wheelchair prompted him to explore armed self-defense, only to discover that Illinois denies that right, inspiring him to become active in gun rights advocacy. He also writes the St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner column.
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