This is Talking to America, I’m your host Aaron Zelman.
Our guest today is Wayne Fincher. He’s involved in a fascinating
case concerning the Second Amendment. Wayne, welcome to Talkin’
FINCHER I’m glad to be here Aaron.
ZELMAN Why don't we just start with some basics. Tell us who
you are and sort of give us some information about the case and
some contact information.
FINCHER Well, my name’s Hollis Wayne Fincher, I’m
61 years old, I've lived on family land here practically all my
life. My wife, Linda, and I have been married 41 years. I live
about a mile from where my grandfather had a blacksmith shop,
a grist mill, and a country store, and I’m home.
ZELMAN Well, all right, so tell us about what you’re involved
in, the controversy that you’re involved in.
FINCHER Well, mainly, about 1994, after two or three years of
study, we started the Militia, called the Militia of Washington
County Arkansas, and we did the best we could do to go by the
book, to put together a proper constitutional militia. We have
our own property and a, a 40 by 70 building, we've been there
since we started our building in 1995. We formed up on July the
4th, 1994, and that’s our anniversary date every day, every
year, we've been there ‘til, we’re still there. On
November 19, 2006, I was arrested by the BATF for having machine
guns and various other arms, short-barrel shotgun, short-barrel
rifle, had one silencer, a short-barrel Uzi and a stem gun, and
such, which would be appropriate arms for any militia. And I spent
seven and a half months in the, Sebastian County Jail south of
us here, from Washington County. I’m just about at the end
of the 30 day period, where I will have to self-report to the
Forest City Federal Prison here Tuesday at two o’clock.
And so, we went through a court case with 'em, I wasn't allowed
to present any evidence basically, just to sit there and watch
the trial go by. They used motion of limine on me. And so the
judge directed the jury that if I had the guns and I knew they
were full auto, which, of course, I did, that they must convict.
And they did eventually convicted me. And so now we’re working
on an appeal. But the Second Amendment is still the law in this
ZELMAN So you’re case is based on using the Second Amendment
as a defense?
FINCHER Well, actually you can't violate just one Amendment,
generally, the Tenth Amendment, the Ninth Amendment, the Eight
Amendment, excessive fines and penalties. I didn't get a Sixth
Amendment Trial by Jury of my peers, a fair and impartial jury.
And on and on and on. So, they violated our republican former
government, they actually even violated the Patent laws of the
United States because they've given a monopoly on these types
of arms since, 1934, to corporations. These arms are produced
continually. They treated these arms as contraband in they have
some Narcotics Act, for an example, of how they were gonna do
it. So, it really violates a huge portion of our Constitution
to disarm the people.
ZELMAN You think that’s what they want to accomplish?
FINCHER I don't see how you could sum it up and come up with
any other finding on it.
ZELMAN Why don't we talk about how relevant the militia is today.
FINCHER Well, Katrina would be a good example where there probably
was some militia down there, but a place like that where you have
a regional disaster, the militia are there, and it would be proper
for them to stand up and bring as much peace and order back into
it as quickly as they could in their own neighborhood. That’s
a classic example right there. We’re a nation setting here,
even President Bush has had a nuclear charge shot off into the
atmosphere could knock out computers over a huge area and we have
a northern border between Canada and ourselves, a southern border,
which is being overrun, we have the eastern and western seashore
to protect, probably plum up to the side of Canada and up around
Alaska, we have Alaska sitting off isolated, the Hawaiian Islands
are sitting there and if we were to get into worldwide war again,
we would probably have to defend Japan, and Taiwan, Britain, and
possibly Israel, the Panama Canal. We have hostile Cuba sitting
off our shore about 90 miles, and a lot of hostile countries in
South America. Would we want to go into this unarmed so the private
citizen be stripped of their arms? I think a militia is more needful
today as much as it ever was. That doesn't mean a militia can
be very functional, it’s kinda like money in the bank, you
have it there and you hope you keep it there; but if you need
it, it’s there.
ZELMAN Speaking of the Arkansas Militia, do you have some contact
information for them?
FINCHER Well, our website is Arkansas Militia dot com and that’ll
get you in and you can find about anything you need there, especially
look up our document silver bullet. I believe you can contact
someone there if I need to be contacted you’ll find a way
to get to me that-a-way.
ZELMAN From what I understand, the government says you did not
follow the law, and so they say you’re guilty of not following
the law. But can you elaborate on the effort you made to follow
FINCHER Well, we held open public meetings from March 17th to
July the 4th, and we would have, a lot of times, upward, around
100 people week after week, after week. Some meetings weren’t
that large. We held 'em out in public meeting places. And the
public of Northwest Arkansas, ordained using our Arkansas Constitution
as it’s authority the Militia of Washington ... Counties.
So later on we notified the governor, we notified the county sheriff,we've
notified the BATF, the Treasury Department, the Congressman, Senators,
State Police of the State of Arkansas, Attorney General. We sent
notices to all of 'em that we were here and we were operating
under Article 11 and other Articles of the State and the United
States Constitution. And, to this day, they've never rebutted
ZELMAN Okay, then, if they've never rebutted it, why is this
controversy going on?
FINCHER There’s no controversy with me, it must be with
ZELMAN It’s with the government.
FINCHER Yeah, can't read the laws or doesn't intend to obey the
laws, one or the other. There is no controversy, the law speaks
ZELMAN What is the present militia movement in Arkansas like?
Is it still active, still functioning?
FINCHER There’s a lot of it around, most of it’s
not as formal as we were, but everyone since senses the need to
be armed and it’s kind of an unspoken militia, it’s
there, but it’s not, it’s not visible so much.
ZELMAN Okay. It’s been a long time since the Supreme Court
has addressed the arguments in the Miller case, maybe they never
have, as a matter of fact. Can you elaborate on your understanding
of the Miller case and how it applies to the militia today and
to your case?
FINCHER Well if we back up just a little bit, that’s when
the, 1939, this was decided there were two men from Claremore,
Oklahoma come over to Side Along Springs Arkansas, that’s
the County just north of us, and ultimately they were found possessed
of marijuana and a short barrel shotgun, and they were taken to
Fort Smith and arraigned, then, I believe they plead guilty, if
I understand right, the judge requested or suggested that they
withdraw their guilty plea, and so they did. And they had an attorney
and they put on a light duty case, and the federal judge declared
the ‘34 Gun Control Act, at least as far as it went to the
shotgun, violated the Second Amendment, and dismissed the case
against 'em. The United States appealed it to the Supreme Court
and within the 15 days, I believe it was time limit. As it came
time to appear, Miller was found dead in Oklahoma, Latham had
went on his way, because he was turned loose, and no one appeared
in front of the court on the behalf of the people, and so it was
left wide open. But the court made a decision that they sited
the old Colonial record and pro commentator and etcetera, and
they sited that abled bodied men were to appear at muster bearing
arms supplied by themselves of the kind in common use. And they
further made a statement about the shotgun, it wasn't with them,
do this or know this of 'em, that it was any part of military
equipment; however the fuse could contribute to the common defense.
They used cryptic language there and they put a positive statement
in a negative contest-- but in context, it still reads exactly
the same. If you’re an able bodied male, and you possess
arms of the kind in common use of the military, the arms are protected
by the Second Amendment, and that goes right on down to any standard
military, equipment. There’s just nothing prohibitive, matter
of fact, the founding fathers knew very well what arms were, I
believe there were rockets fired off the British ships at Yorktown,
trying to save Cornwallis’ Army from Washington. And if
you remember, I believe the first submarine was the Turtle, I
believe they were working on machine guns back in the 16, 1700’s,
hand grenades, rockets, cannons, artillery, mortars, and etcetera.
So these gentlemen knew what arms were, and they knew how to write
an Amendment to protect it. But the court was asked to settle
a controversy there and the court settled it. Most people just
don't have what it takes to read it and say, yes, this is this,
there’s no more controversy, arms of the kind in common
use, or arms that could contribute to the common defense are protected
by the Second Amendment. And to dismiss this case, that it’s
a collective right and not an individual right, when there court
allowed, Layton and Miller to stand before it and contest it,
settled that argument also, so it is an individual right to keep
and bear arms. If people will study the Miller case, you’ll
find it, the court gave all we need to show that anyone who stayed
in federal government trying to do contrary is an infringer.
ZELMAN Now you talk about the court saying it’s an individual
right. As you know, there’s another case coming before the
court, assuming they’re gonna hear it, the Parker case,
and that’s a decision in Washington D.C., where the lower
court said that the ownership of firearms is, indeed, a right
and not a privilege. Have you been able to follow the Parker case
FINCHER No, I read a summary on it. It sounds like the court
got it right. I mean it is an individual right, you have to have
a armed people before you can, ah, extract a militia out of it.
And so everyone that has good standing in this country, the citizens
of this country are, the people, unquestionably have the right
to keep and bear arms, whether they do it one at a time or they
band together and build artillery or whatever they need. The right
to exist and to, to preserve life is a higher right than anything
that government has, and it’s mandatory upon a society to
protect itself. That’s what we instituted government for,
but that they've let down on quite a bit.
ZELMAN Well what would you say to people who would question if
artillery would be considered arms?
FINCHER [Laughter] Well, ha.
ZELMAN There are people like that out there, I just--
FINCHER Well, the Arkansas Constitution says volunteer companies,
the infantry, Calvary, or artillery may be formed with I’m
paraphrasing, but with such regulations as the legislator may
pass. And that means good legislation. But, artillery is so mundane
in the warfare, that it’s unquestionable. If you’re
going out with the intent to come back alive and protect your
family, your home, your community, your state, or your country,
it would bet dereliction of duty to not consider, artillery, to
whatever degree it might be. You know, we have thousands of miles
of shore land and inland rivers that an enemy could navigate.
And to not have at least some artillery would be not very wise.
ZELMAN You know, before the 1968 Gun Control Act, before this
concept of sporting purpose came into being, if you reconcile,
you could buy 40 millimeter cannons. I’m sorry, maybe they
were 2-- to 30 mil-- or 20 mil-- I’m not sure--
FINCHER I think it was a 20 millimeter--
ZELMAN Okay, 20 mili-- but you could buy 'em through the mail.
ZELMAN For about $350 plus shipping. And you could buy anti-tank
rifles, which I think were also 20 millimeter.
FINCHER Well, you know
ZELMAN So just bear with-- So the sporting purpose concept after
1968, in effect, has made it possible for the government to start
disarming Americans so they cannot defend their country. Would
you agree with me on that?
FINCHER Well sure you know, anything that we, the people decide,
they only limitation of the right to keep and bear arms is just
our willingness to do it and finance it, that’s all. Whatever
we perceive that we need to defend ourselves, it’s within
the scope of the right to keep and bear arms to do just that,
keep 'em and bear 'em. One of the key words in the Second Amendment
is the word bear, support, uphold, carry, but it also means produce
or bring forth, to produce or bring forth your own arms is one
of the parts of this, powerful part, that most people read, don't
even read into it, or don't even understand. We have every right
to go out here, a group of men, and put together any artillery
piece, we should be a buying, release to us used army equipment,
still with a lot of life to it, the artillery, and we should be
at the military ranges practicing with it, where we would know
and be able to train the youth on up. The real necessity of being
armed to prolong freedom, because this is a dangerous world, there’s
a lot of countries out there that don't particularly care for
us. They like what they get from us, but they’ll turn on
us any time they get a chance. And an armed nation is, is a very
strong deterrent to that.
ZELMAN Okay, this is Talking to America, our guest today is Wayne
Hollis Fincher, and my name is Aaron Zelman, I’m your host.
And we’re talking today about the lawsuit that Wayne is
involved in, where apparently the government’s decided the
Second Amendment doesn't mean what it says. Is that a fair way
to sum it up?
FINCHER I believe that’s the way they've got it. I try,
they’re trying, they know what it says. The Second Amendment
speaks for itself. It was written by some of the finest English
scholars that ever walked the earth or ever will. It contains
enough information to perform its function, it's the law of the
land, it can be understood, and they know exactly what it says.
ZELMAN Well what would you like gun owners to learn from the
situation you’re in, and what would you suggest gun owners
do to bring back the Second Amendment to its full glory?
FINCHER Well, until they first learn themselves, and understand
our Second Amendment to where they can't be pushed away and they
can't be deceived of the meaning of it, you’re just gonna
be a leaf blowin’ in the wind, ‘til you fully understand
the meaning of the Second Amendment, the scope of it, and the
power of it, and it’s not negotiable, it’s the law
of the land, all of the people of the state and federal government
swear to uphold the Constitution for the United States, and for
them to pretend that they can't understand that, or the oath of
office allows them to infringe it is, is just absolutely deceptive
ZELMAN Well what would you suggest gun owners start doing, though,
so that they don't become a victim as you have?
FINCHER Well, their whole purpose of the Second Amendment was
to, for an armed population to have enough arms to effectively
put together a militia, and that’s, if you don't do that
you might as well forget liberty. The militia is as America as
anything else, it’s a part of our Constitution within the
other part of it. And the people need to form up the bottom tier
militias, they need, call your state capital and get a copy of
your constitution, or get several of 'em, and read 'em. Read the
United States Constitution. But if not you, who? If not now, when?
When will we be stronger, as Patrick Henry would have said. Ah,
this militia is you, it’s me, and I've been here, I’m
standing up. I don't like the thought of going to prison, but
there were a lot of good men died, good women, children never
saw their daddy again, people were put on the prison ships off
in Boston Harbor, that never got to walk back on dry land again.
Ah, people died on the battlefield they died on the high seas
too, for this liberty that I have. And I’m no better than
they were. I believe in my county, I believe in my God, and I
will stand up for 'em. If anyone wants to stand with me, okay;
if you don't, I’ll stand alone if I have to. But I've went
through this to, to protect the Second Amendment, to use it, it
really doesn't need protecting, it needs using. It needs understanding.
And there’s a great transfer of power when you know your
rights. If you don't have to ask some politician what his opinion
of it is, know it in your heart of hearts and link up with people
who, who also know it, it would make a change in this country.
ZELMAN What kind of feedback have you had from other gun owners
who have known about your situation?
FINCHER Well the local feedback is just absolutely wonderful
here, I am very much supported. All over this end of Arkansas
I've had a lot of support all over the United States. I hear it’s
even went worldwide. Because, I’m not a criminal, I’m
just an American citizen, that, I like to be free. My family came
here from the Carolinas, across the rivers in the houseboat, or
flat bottom boat and we've lived in this country for a long time,
back in the 1800’s we come into here. We wanna be free,
and we will be free. So, if you want to be free, you most look
at the recipe, or the Constitution, and see what it says to uphold
freedom. You’re not going to be free when someone takes
away your arms.
ZELMAN Speaking of freedom, and being able to do things or not
do things, as I understand it, your lawyers were told, by the
judges in charge of this case that they could not argue the Constitution
in a federal courtroom concerning your case. Is that correct?
FINCHER Well I believe that’s what they told 'em. Ah, they
were trying to use their case law to settle this, I believe which
basically just gives you opportunity to have a trial whatsoever.
The judge told the jury, over, and over, and over, you must convict,
you must convict. And so there was no trial, as we know a trial,
it was just basically a hearing of the case. The prosecution objected
to almost everything my attorney said, and the judge ordered the
jury to convict. And they did hang up on the shotgun, there were
three of 'em that didn't want to convict. But they sent 'em back
in, and they finally did. I noticed one woman lookin so sad and
disoriented, she wouldn't even look up, in the jury pool there.
I believe the woman went against her conscience, against what
she knew was right. We are our brother’s keeper. And, if
you ever serve on a jury, do what’s right, that’s
the only purpose you have of being there.
ZELMAN Perhaps it would be helpful for people to learn more about
ZELMAN Ah, in one of our Talkin’ to America segments, we
do have an interview with the folks from the Fijon Group and -
FINCHER That’s one of the most, least expensive, or least
painful services we can ever do, is to serve on a jury. I never
have. I was called once, but I was on a truck and I was not, I
never did get a second call. But, this is where America is preserved
a lot is on a jury level. If you go there and it doesn't smell
good to ya, acquit the person, even if you’re the only one,
because that’s what the jury’s duty is to do. Don't
let someone take over your office of that judge, you are one of
the judges, and you can strike down any law, at least before that
goes, if you feel in your heart it’s wrong, or it’s
not having the desired effect. And that’s the duty of the
jury, to acquit if they feel like an injustice is being done.
ZELMAN Well, okay, so you’re gonna go to prison on Tuesday,
and what’s well I guess, and what is gonna happen next?
In other words, you’re going to, the defense will continue?
FINCHER Yes, ah--
ZELMAN The appeal.
FINCHER Yes. We have Clinton Rhodes, out of Montana, a Montana
lawyer is going to be one of the prime attorneys, and it’s
already being appealed to Saint Louis in the 8th District. So,
all will set, if I get an appeal, I will come out and I suppose
they’ll try it again, if not I've got to finish a six and
a half year prison sentence. So I ask people to pray for me. I’m
not runnin’ scared, I’m not ashamed of what I've done,
I’m not afraid of whatever done in line. I feel peace in
my heart with my God and my fellow man up here, they’re
all pulling for us and they all just keep on keepin’ on.
America is not gonna go away about this.
ZELMAN It sounds like your dog agrees with you--
FINCHER Yes, my little doggie, she looked out the window and
seen something, so she’s a barkin’ her head off.
ZELMAN Well we're getting towards the end of the program. Is
there anything else you’d like to bring up that I've not
FINCHER Well, all I can tell the American people, our country
was bought at a great price, and, if we all put in just a little
bit, if we wouldn't allow our politicians to tell us what our
laws mean, if we would study to show ourselves approved, and know
what our laws say, and stand on that, and elect people to office;
form your militia, train yourself of arm, train your young people
with arms, understand what this is all about, that would be a
great help right off the bat. Serve on juries, you know, make
sure that you have arms and ammunition. If something, if a disaster
ever comes to America, it can be a huge one and it can be quick.
You may not have time to go to the range or go to your local sporting
goods store and stock up. A country the size of ours with the
power and the power or our enemies, things can change in a moment.
So, don't be caught unaware like they were at Katrina, know what
to do, be ready to survive, uphold the laws, the true laws.
ZELMAN Ah, that’s great. Let me just ask, go through one
more thing, in the contact information for the website, for the
Arkansas Militia is?
FINCHER Well it’s Arkansas Militia dot com, and I believe
you can get hold of us through that.
ZELMAN And I assume they’ll be able to keep people informed
as to how your appeal is progressing.
FINCHER Yes. Most of the transcripts of the case are already
on there. There’s a document called the silver bullet, which,
we went into great detail to show that this has created a monopoly
in these kinds of arms. These arms that are supposed to have no
military utility are being produced everyday of the year. All
this did was create a monopoly, which is unlawful. And it comes
now that the standard U.S. Army rifle, the R16, is prohibited
to the citizens on the paint that they took off on that these
kind of arms were contraband and had no military usefulness, so
they could regulate 'em as contraband and similar to the Harrison
Narcotic Act. It’s finally come a full circle, and they're
facing the bad law that they've created back there. If people
would just education themself, read our silver bullet document
on the Arkansas Militia website, and you’ll learn a lot
real quick. But if you don't know your property line, somebody
else will move the fences on ya, and these people are doing it
ZELMAN That’s a great way to wrap it up. Wayne, I want
to thank you very much for being with us today on Talkin’
FINCHER Thank you, Aaron.
ZELMAN And I wish you the very best, and let’s stay in
FINCHER We’ll do that.
ZELMAN Okay, this has been Talkin’ to America, I've been
your host, Aaron Zelman, our guest today has been Hollis Wayne
Fincher. And I’d like to remind you, if you don't defined
your rights, don't complain when you lose them.