Jews For The Preservation of Firearms Ownership, Inc.
P.O. Box 270143
Hartford, WI 53027
Phone (262) 673-9745
Fax (262) 673-9746
Interview in MP3 format
Our guest today is radio personality, Jerry Hughes, host of Straight Talk, heard daily on the Accent Radio Network. Jerry will be discussing the BATFE, which is the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or as some people say, the Bureau of Arbitrary Technical Findings and Edicts, and what should be done with this rogue agency.
Aaron: Jerry, welcome to Talkin’ to America.
Jerry: Thank you very much Mr. Zelman. It is a pleasure and an honor to be with you sir.
Aaron: Why don’t we start by you telling all our listeners how they can listen to Straight Talk.
Jerry: Well again, thank you for that opportunity sir. Straight Talk is a daily syndicated radio program. It is heard Monday through Friday from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. eastern time on the Accent Radio Network. Website is www.accentradio.com You can also find more information at our blog site which is www.jerryhughes.us. You can carry radio and internet across the country and I hope folks would take an opportunity sometime to listen in.
Aaron: Well, I think they should. Let me start with the obvious question since we are talking about BATFE today. Is this really a necessary agency of the U.S. Government? Do we really need these people?
Jerry: No sir, not at all. Not only is not necessary, I would argue that it may be unconstitutional. To begin with, I don’t know that alcohol, tobacco, firearms or explosives should necessarily be an issue that would be regulated by the Federal Government. Certainly the Second Amendment should suggest to us that the right of the people to keep and bear arms should not be infringed. Obviously, if there is going to be regulation of that to any degree at all it would occur at state or at local levels, probably state level, so even though that constitutionally they are a proper organization, but even if they are constitutionally authorized, I really question the value of the organization versus the amount of money that is spent on it.
Aaron: That raises a very interesting question, because who do you think the BATFE really serves and what is the reason/purpose of their existence, in your opinion?
Jerry: Well, you know, that is a fantastic question. In theory, the Government of the United States, the government of each and every state, and the government of every community and every agency of those governments are supposed to serve We the People. There is only one reason for government or any government agency to exist and we find that the logic for that in the Declaration of Independence by Mr. Jefferson. To secure these rights, governments are instituted among men deriving their powers from the consent of the government, so to secure the rights, we have government. To secure the rights of the people, we would have government agencies. I don’t know that the BATFE is there to secure the rights. I think if anything they seem to be there to serve the government rather than the people. The government too often doesn’t serve the people today and their activities are not in support of the people but indeed the diametric opposition to them. If we look at the history of the BATF and now the BATFE, we can see that it is just time and time again filled with examples of use or patient of right, of abuse,or excessive control, excessive authority, those kinds of things, but I don’t think that goes to serve anyone except the BATFE and perhaps some in government.
Aaron: You know that is kind of a strange situation as to why there are people in government, and I am going to assume that it is the U.S. Congress that want this agency to stay in existence and I wonder out loud, maybe you can elaborate on it, as to why you suppose the congress has not abolished this agency?
Jerry: Congress is in the business of growing government. That is the reality today. Government has grown tremendously. The rate of taxation according to the National Taxpayers Union, in the 20th century, the rate of taxes to America grew at 175,000%. The government under this particular administration, the George W. Bush Administration, has grown to a greater extent than at any time since the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Administration. Government is today a self-serving, self-sustaining, self-beating, self-growing bureaucracy, and once a government entity is created, seldom is it ever abolished, so I don’t think these folks are the least bit concerned about getting rid of the ATF. Now they have might been a few years ago before the Waco tragedy as there was concern, and of course, the agency, the BATF, at that time the BATF, was exceptionally concerned about what their future was going to be. Were they going to be around and of course, they came up with the Waco issue and it supposedly proved to congress, “Oh, see you need us, we have to continue our existence and such”, but I think it is there to serve the members of congress. It is there to serve the interests of some of the members of congress and to the Federal Government and agenda of some who are not freedom-loving people but they seem to be just determined to control every aspect of American life.
Aaron: You mentioned Waco. There are some folks who might be coming in late to this whole issue of the freedom issue. Can you talk about Waco and Ruby Ridge for a few minutes and then the part the BATF played in that.
Jerry: Yes, therein lies I believe the real story and the real problem, sir. This nation, obviously we are a people of laws, and the laws that we have should be obeyed. When they are not obeyed, there generally is a punishment, but the punishment should fit the offense. We should not, for instance, do like China and we should not kill people because somebody would steal a pack of cigarettes or perhaps take a woman’s purse. Now nobody should do either one of those things, but I would argue that those are not capital offenses. However, let’s look at Ruby Ridge. A man by the name of Randy Weaver who served his country very well as a Green Beret who had sought the office of sheriff in the county in which he was living. A gentleman apparently who had a good reputation. He had some thoughts that maybe some of us might not have regarding racial separation and such, but nonetheless, Randy Weaver was enticed to sell a shotgun to a man who was an undercover agent, if you will, or acting as an undercover agent or a resource. That shotgun he sold had a barrel that was one-quarter of one inch too short. Now I would argue that the average man’s wedding ring would probably be somewhere between an eighth and a quarter of an inch, so we are talking about a piece of steel about the size of the average man’s wedding ring. Because that barrel was one-quarter of an inch too short, it ended up costing the life of a federal agent, a 13-year-old boy who had not even reached puberty who was shot in the back by a high powered rifle of a federal agent; a woman, Vicki Weaver, who was unarmed holding only a 10-month-old child in her arms when a sniper took half of her head off while she was standing in the doorway. Two other people were seriously injured and most lost their lives. So the crime was not that the gun had been sold but that the gun had been sold with a barrel that was a quarter of an inch too short and that would have been okay if the tax had been paid on it. So it comes down to a $200 tax cost three human lives, almost two more. It costs the taxpayers of the United States about six million that was paid to the Weaver family for what was ruled unconstitutional shootings for which no one was every prosecuted. Now think about that Mr. Zelman. Three lives gone, two lives seriously injured, two little girls without a mother for the rest of their lives, a man losing his wife and his 13-year-old son, those little girls without their brother also, all because a $200 tax was not paid on a quarter of an inch of steel. I would argue that that is not serving America. That is not preserving what we are supposed to be preserving in this country, that is government in a very self-serving and ridiculously inefficient and inept attitude, and that should not be tolerated. That one thing should have called for the absolute abolishment of the BATFE and the kinds of laws that we see that restrict firearm ownership. No human life should be taken because somebody doesn’t pay a $200 tax or because somebody cuts a quarter of an inch of steel off of a shotgun barrel.
Aaron: Let me rephrase this question a little. If someone who was not part of the government, you for example, and we committed the same crimes as the government agents did under the color of law, what do you suppose would happen to us?
Jerry: We would be in prison right now. There is no doubt about that. We would absolutely be in prison. There is a charge that is often used called negligent homicide. Sometimes negligent homicide is used even in a vehicle accident where somebody because perhaps they are talking on their cell phone, they weren’t paying attention, they weren’t actually drunk or driving under the influence to the degree that law would mandate as illegal, but there would be a contributing factor there that caused this person to be negligent, and because of their negligence, a human life would be taken. People are prosecuted, they are imprisoned, they are fined tremendously. In this case, not only was no one prosecuted and no one fined, but the people who took part in the homicides were promoted. That again gives you a little bit of an insight into the thinking of some of these government agencies. Now again what is the purpose of government? To secure these rights. What is the purpose of a government agency? To help the government secure these rights. For a $200 tax and a quarter of an inch of steel, a 13-year-old boy was shot in the back with a high powered rifle. His mother was shot in the face with a high-powered rifle. A federal agent lost his life. Two others were nearly killed. Taypayers were out six million dollars. If that is justified for the loss of a $200 tax, this country needs to fold our tent, turn off the light and call it a day.
Aaron: You know you have to wonder Jerry when the American people are going to say they have had enough. I don’t know. It makes you wonder.
Jerry: It really does sir, and if we look at the Waco situation, the same thing there. You know here was the Government of the United States of America using a chemical agent, using a gas, using a weapon of mass destruction if you will, that we were not even allowed to use in war. The Geneva Convention said that United States Military cannot use this against its most aggressive enemy and we used it on women and children. We actually invaded, we raided, we took down a church, a church in America with men, women and children inside, and we used weapons that are not even allowed in war, and we the American people sit back and say, oh, that’s horrible, that’s terrible, and again, why did it happen? Because allegedly the Branch Davidians, some of them, may have had parts of a firearm or may have had a firearm on which a $200 tax had not been paid. So for the $200 tax that was not paid, we ended up killing almost 100 people, about 17 of them children.
Aaron: Why do you suppose the American people keep voting for politicians, congress critters as I call them? Who authorized the BATF? And who don’t take action to abolish it?
Jerry: The deliberate dumbing down of America. According to the Department of Education, 44 million adult Americans are either illiterate or functionally illiterate, cannot read a bedtime story to their children. Certainly could not read the Bills of Right nor the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence. Another 50 million Americans are at one level above illiteracy. There are five levels of literacy according to the Department of Education. We have roughly 95 million American adults at level 1, which is illiterate, functionally illiterate, or level 2. We are a dumb down society. For the average American citizen, they don’t know about the Constitution, don’t know about the Bill of Rights. One out of five Americans can name all of the characters or members, if you will, of the Simpson Cartoon series on television. Only one of a thousand can name the rights that are supposed to be protected in the First Amendment. We put more emphasis and more priority to the Simpson Cartoon series than we do to the Bill of Rights and when a society does that, it goes back to Thomas Jefferson in his letter to Colonel Yansey that a society that expects to remain ignorant and free in a state of civilization, is expecting what never has been and never can be. But I will tell you something, Mr. Zelman, it is a lot easier to enslave ignorant people than it is to enslave smart people, and in fact, in my history education, I have never seen where a wise, well-educated, well-read electorate has ever been enslaved for any period of time.
Aaron: This is Talkin’ To America. I am your host, Aaron Zelman. Our guest today is radio personality, Jerry Hughes, of the Accent Radio Network. I think I know the answer but we might as well ask it? Do you believe our gun laws are actually dangerous and harmful to Americans and how so in addition to the tax issue?
Jerry: They are harmful to Americans because they are law-abiding citizens, God fearing, tax-paying American citizens who have lost their lives, lost their property, lost friends or loved ones because they, their family or their friends and loved ones have not been able to get a firearm. There are federal laws, there are state laws, there are local laws that prohibit some people from having guns, that prohibit some people in a particular community. There was a situation, you may remember the Clinton Administration to deny handguns to people who live in public housing and such, where sometimes crime is indeed rampant. Yes, our gun laws are not there to protect the American people. They are there to protect the criminal. In fact, I remember a ruling from the United States Supreme Court that suggested that a criminal cannot be expected to obey the gun laws, that it is unreasonable to believe that a criminal is going to obey those laws. By definition the criminal doesn’t do that, but the law abiding people, those of us who want to do what is right and we have been taught to obey the rules of government, there are those out there who have not been able to defend themselves against those who care not about the rules or the laws of men and they died as a result of it. They have lost property, they have been robbed, a portion of their life has been taken. We don’t even have the ability to protect ourselves in a society today, not from the common thief nor sometimes from the government that burst into a church or shoots a 13-year-old in the back in the name of taxation or in the name of law.
Aaron: Well, it’s a wonderful country we live in. (laughter)
Jerry: You know, Mr. Zelman, it is. It is a good country. It is no longer, and I know this may be controversial to some people, but I don’t think America is a great nation any longer. We were at one time. We have the potential to be great again. I think we are a good nation by comparison to many others out there, but we are not the country we used to be. We are not the country we are supposed to be. We are not the freedom loving people that we were at one time. In fact, one of the things that I often challenge our listeners is to name for me anything of any substance, anything of any value that an America citizen can do without government directly or indirectly being involved. And people say, well go to the bathroom. There are also kind of regulations and sanitation laws and such. Well, sleeping. Well, the very mattress on which we sleep is regulated. Well procreation. In Florida a couple of years ago there was a law introduced in committee that before a couple could engage in an act of procreation, they had to call a state hotline and register and wait 24 hours for an answer. Government is involved in everything in our lives and yet we go to our football games and basketball games and we stand and we sing about the land of the free. By definition, the word freedom is without arbitrary control. We are not a free society any longer. We are a controlled people in every aspect of our lives.
Aaron: We are a police stater’s haven. You know, they just love what they are doing in this country and the American people I guess don’t mind.
Jerry: You know it certainly seemed that way. You talk to American citizens and I get the chance to talk to them, God bless them regularly, and those I talk to do care and there is an element out there that does, but that great element that you used to be called the silent majority, that which the politicians call the great unwashed, the hayseeds if you will, I don’t know. I don’t know what has happened to us. We have become so complacent, we have become so apathetic that I really fear for the future of this country. I really truly believe sir and I hate to say this, but I believe that I probably, and you probably, and many of us as baby boomers and older, we have probably lived through the last great years of America unless we and our children get a little bit of initiative, educate ourselves a little better than what we are to a great extent than what we are now, and turn it around.
Aaron: When you say that we should learn and educate ourselves, what areas would you suggest that people focus on?
Jerry: We need sir, a Bill of Rights mentality in America. You talked about it. We need a Bill of Rights culture. We need a Bill of Rights test. Any law that is enacted by any legislative body, if it does not pass the Bill of Rights test, it should not be allowed. It should not be tolerated. Any politician who attempts to repetitively enact or propose laws that fail the test, needs to be tossed out on his or her ear. It is time that we the people of United States of America take our government back. It belongs to us. It is we the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union. We the people. Over one million American soles have been given for a concept, an idea, a thought, and it is called freedom, and to disallow that, to disavow that is nothing but a slap in the face and a profession that those one million souls have been given in vain. God help us if we turn around and walk away from the memory and the actions of great men and women who have fought, bled and died for what we are supposed to have.
Aaron: Speaking of great men, what do you suppose Thomas Jefferson or Ben Franklin or Patrick Henry or George Washington would have to say to the American people today if they came back and saw this sorry mess that is called a country?
Jerry: You know there are two words in The Bible that come to mind. One little phrase. Jesus wept. I think that probably the patriots of the early America, if the founders of this country were to come back and look at us today, they would probably weep. I think they would probably break down and cry like children. They would probably be very angry after having expressed their emotion. They would probably want to know how in G-d’s name could you have allowed this to happen? How could you have dishonored the memory of what we have tried to create for you? How could you allow yourselves to get into a situation that is actually worse than what we fought the King of England over? I think they would probably be very disappointed in us as their children, as their posteriority, and would probably express dissatisfaction as well as be very remorseful.
Aaron: I think if Moses came back, he might do more than just throw the Ten Commandments at some people.
Jerry: (laughter). You know I have often thought that if someone like Mr. Washington or Mr. Jefferson came back, they might draw a sword and want to lop off one of our ears or something for not having followed their instructions. I guess it is a natural thing for children to rebel at some point in their lives and sometimes to not appreciate what their parents or their grandparents have done for them, but I think we have taken that to a new level, to a new height in America. I really don’t think that because we are dumbed out, I really don’t think we have any appreciation at all as an entire society of the price that has been paid, of the suffering, the sacrifice and the hard work that went into providing us an opportunity to be the greatest nation in the history of mankind.
Aaron: You know I often tell World War II veterans, in fact, we have an article on our website about this that you guys won the battle but you lost the war.
Aaron: And the war is when they came home, they didn’t finish the war by cleaning out the congress, and that is how we lost the war. There are a couple hundred employees within the firearms division of BATFE, but there are millions of gun owners and gun owners are always told by certain supposedly pro-gun organizations that they should vote for certain people because they are our friends in congress. So the question is something doesn’t make sense here, does it? Millions of us, a couple hundred employees of this government agency were being told to vote for certain people, but things get worse, so what do you suppose gun owners can do to get rid of this cancer within our life, the BATFE.
Jerry: We are going to have to replace our body politic. We are going to have to replace the people who make the rules. I know exactly what you are saying and sometimes I get these letters and it says “well this guy has a B- or a C+ and the other guy has an F, do you want to vote for the guy with the C+, he is a little better or whatever.” I have been told and I have told others for so longer than when we choose the lesser of two evils, we are still choosing evil, and we have to accept the consequences if we are going to choose less than evil. I would ask husbands or wives how many times will you allow infidelity? Is it okay if your husband only cheats on you ladies once a month, twice a month? Guys, is it okay if your wife only cheats on you seven times a year, eight times a year, and the answer I get is well, no, never, one time was too much. Well, why don’t we have hold the people who impact our lives and the lives of our children through these legislations, through these regulations, why don’t we hold them accountable in the same fashion, that you are going to have to follow the law, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and when you commit an infidelity, we may allow it one time and forgive you, but you better not do it a second time, and some of us aren’t even going to allow the first time. I don’t think we take it seriously. They say politics is the art of compromise. I don’t want to compromise free speech. I don’t want to compromise freedom of religion. I don’t want to compromise freedom of the press. I certainly don’t want to compromise the right to be armed to protect myself, my family, or my country, and I think any of us who do want to compromise, I think we fall short of understanding what freedom is and again what this country is suppose to be about. When we have elected officials who compromise our freedom, they are not worthy of upholding the office. They are not worthy of the respect that they think they are if they are going to compromise the very foundation of our nation.
Aaron: Maybe you have hit upon something here which is that because people are so ignorant of the Bill of Rights, of the Constitution, they don’t even know that they are being victimized. They don’t even know they are being lied to or cheated or scammed or conned.
Jerry: Again, I don’t know that it is appropriate and I know that some people get upset, but let me go back to The Bible, which in a spiritual sense says my people perish for lack of knowledge. That is true not only in a spiritual sense, it is true in a governmental sense. You know, 19 of the 21 great civilizations of recorded history that have fallen fell from within. They were not invaded by hoards and armies and such trying to rape, pillage and plunder, they collapse from their own weight of complacency and ignorance and such. I will tell you something about ignorance. There is nothing wrong with being ignorant. The sin is or the crime is in remaining ignorant. Every one of us is ignorant in one degree or another. We may not know a whole lot about the immunochemical analysis and the gene enzyme mutation of a zebra, but if we want to know about it, we can study and we can learn and then we are no longer ignorant in that. We can fix ignorance but we can’t fix stupid. America is not a stupid country. We are an ignorant people today because of the dumbing down of America, but we are not a stupid people. We can fix our ignorance and if we fix our ignorance, we can put this country back on the right course.
Aaron: Jerry, I think you have given people their marching orders, and Jerry, can you give people your website address again please.
Jerry: Yes, sir. It is www.accentradio.com and you can check out our blog site at www.jerryhughes.us
Aaron: Jerry, thank you very much for being with us today.
This has been Talkin’ to America. I have been your host, Aaron Zelman. Our guest has been Jerry Hughes, radio personality, of the Straight Talk Show on the Accent Radio Network. Please remember if you won’t defend your rights, don’t complain when you lose them.
Opinions expressed on this program do not necessarily reflect those of JPFO.org or its members. Talkin’ to America is a production of JPFO.org.