Jews For The Preservation of Firearms Ownership, Inc.
P.O. Box 270143
Hartford, WI 53027
Phone (800) 869-1884
Fax (425) 451-3959
October 7, 2002
The Maryland-DC Shootings
IT'S A DANGEROUS SITUATION -- AND NOT JUST FOR THE HELPLESS VICTIMS IN MARYLAND, DC, AND VIRGINIA
What could be more terrifying? An unknown shooter is on the loose, striking apparently at random in broad daylight from no fixed location. Women, children, men, whites, blacks, Asians, professionals, working people -- no one is safe.
For ordinary people, the ongoing murders in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC, are a nightmare. For the nation's media, they are high drama. For those who hate firearms ... these murders are the best thing that's happened since Columbine. The horror is tailor-made to further their agenda. And it WILL further their agenda if the public remains ignorant and gun owners remain too
trusting of politicians.
PERFECT TIMING FOR TERROR
Our sympathies go out to the victims and their families and to the tens of thousands who suddenly wonder if they're carrying invisible targets on their own backs. Our hearts are with the police who are charged with solving a type of deadly crime no one has ever seen before.
But to anyone who cares about rights and freedom, we say, "Watch out." This situation is dangerous to tens of millions -- and to freedom itself -- and not just to the thousands who are directly at risk.
The timing is too "good" for the victim-disarmament crowd. And without yielding to paranoia, let us count some of the ways:
- The 1994 "assault weapons" ban will sunset in 2004 unless Congress re-authorizes it. All those firearms that were banned because of their appearance (and because they didn't meet arbitrary, bureaucratically defined, and highly changeable "sporting purpose" criteria) are scheduled to become legal to manufacture again. All those magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds will be legal to manufacture again. It will once again be legal to import the group of shotguns administratively banned by Ronald Reagan and the group of semi-automatic rifles similarly banned by the first President Bush. (Both of these executive bans were codified in the 1994 law.)
- Now -- just at this crucial time -- comes the horror. Suddenly a skilled shooter (described by a police "profiler" -- or stereotyper -- as someone who probably reads Soldier of Fortune) begins attacking people, apparently with the popular .223 caliber of firearm. Almost immediately after the shootings began, and long before anyone knew the exact type of weapon used, police turned up in the national media holding up black, "scary-looking" carbines. We wonder why they participated in this speculative and highly dubious display, at a time when they were releasing few facts about the case. But even more important, we wonder why (when, remember, they didn't know the weapon being used) they choose to display or the media chose only to show, the formidable-looking banned versions of the .223 and not its more benign-looking (and unbanned) cousins like the Ruger Mini-14 or any bolt-action .223 from any number of manufacturers.
- A little more than a week before the shootings began, a group of law-enforcement association representatives, speaking at a Brady Campaign/Million Mom March news conference, announced support for re-authorization of the ban (http://www.bradycampaign.org/press/release.asp?Record=425). Just two days before the shootings began in Maryland, the Brady Campaign and the Million Mom March announced their intention to start a TV ad and leafletting campaign condemning one Maryland gubernatorial candidate's voting record on firearms ( http://www.bradycampaign.org/press/release.asp?Record=427).
- Even while waving military-looking firearms before the TV cameras, police spokespeople in Maryland were also stating, repeatedly, that the weapon used could be "a hunting rifle." Don't forget that, ever since 1963 when John F. Kennedy was reportedly shot with a bolt-action rifle, there have been efforts to ban such rifles, as well. As early as the hearings on the 1968 Gun Control Act, the suggestion was made to outlaw scopes on rifles. More recently, gun-prohibitionists have begun referring to scoped hunting guns as "long-range sniper rifles." Until now, all attempts to ban these guns have failed because millions recognize that these are the ordinary deer rifles or varmint guns used by men and women everywhere. But the drive is on to ban them, and as we've already seen, the drive to ban guns is a gradual, decades- long process. The enemies of freedom are patient.
So either way -- "assault weapon" or "long-range sniper rifle" -- there's something perfect in these horrible shootings for people like Sarah Brady, Josh Sugarman, or the handful of well-funded people who call themselves the Million Moms.
The more helpless terror there is on the streets of the nation's capital and its surrounding suburbs, the better for them.
"BUT THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION WILL PROTECT OUR RIGHTS!
Ignoring the prominent role Republicans have played in "gun control" from the Brady Law (pushed through by Bob Dole) to the horribly abusive enforcement programs Project Safe Neighborhoods and Project Exile (See the Cato Institute Policy Analysis, "There Goes the Neighborhood" http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-440es.html), many gun owners are still snoozing, figuring George W. Bush and John Ashcroft will protect their rights.
But why should we expect that? Remember:
- Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft and Sen. Charles Schumer have made virtually identical statements of their views on the Second Amendment. Ashcroft has voiced support for, and pledged enforcement of, every single one of the restrictive firearms laws Mr. Schumer foisted upon this nation. (See "Second Amendment Setup: What they Say Isn't What You Get," http://www.jpfo.org/2nd-setup.htm).
- In his widely cheered May 2002 brief to the U.S. Supreme Court, Bush administration Solicitor General Theodore Olson wrote that the Second Amendment was, "... subject to reasonable restrictions designed to prevent possession by unfit persons or to restrict the possession of types of firearms that are particularly suited to crime." (See the JPFO alert "Bush Administration Stance on the Second Amendment: Is the Glass Half Empty or Half Full?" http://www.jpfo.org/alert20020510.htm). Ask yourself the question: Is there any firearm that anti-gun politicians and their supporters do not consider "particularly suited to crime?"
- George W. Bush never even sent a courtesy answer, let alone gave honest consideration to, JPFO's letter pointing out that the best "homeland security" is an armed citizenry. (See "An Open Letter to President George W. Bush: A Dangerous Gap in Homeland Security" http://www.jpfo.org/alert20020208.htm).
- The Bush administration has stated its support for even more extensive and invasive "gun control" legislation (http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/05/20010514-2.html). They use the language of the gun-prohibitionists: "gun violence," "closing the gun show loophole" -- the whole package.
And anti-gun activists like the Bradys and the Million Moms recognize weasel words when they hear them. They may dis the Bush administration publicly, but privately they know that Bush, Ashcroft, and the vast majority of other politicians will not oppose them -- especially when they can point to horrors like the current east-coast shootings. In the emotion of the moment, anyone who points out that "gun control" doesn't stop criminals, or that it's unconstitutional, or that it only creates more victims, is shouted down as a cold, uncaring, crime-loving monster.
This is how freedom is lost: Pressure groups push, using emotion to overcome facts and logic. Politicians -- who don't have any principles to ground them, anyway -- cave in. And as the song says, they take just "A Little Bit More" (http://www.jpfo.org/livefree.htm).
WHAT CAN WE DO?
We grant that this type of run-and-hide murder, where victims are picked off by a nearly invisible shooter, is very difficult even for a well-armed, well-trained citizenry to combat. But with firearms, we have a chance to protect ourselves. Without them, we're just waiting to be victims.
And what if these shootings are acts of terrorism, and not merely some twisted new form of freelance crime? What a horrible time to want Americans to be even more helpless then they already are! If these criminals are also terrorists (and certainly they are inflicting terror, whether for political reasons or otherwise), they must be laughing at anyone who believes we can help ourselves by giving up even more of our self-defense tools.
As individuals in this dangerous moment, there may be little we can do to protect ourselves and our loved ones except to be extra alert to what's going on in our environment -- to be watchful for threatening circumstances.
But as citizens with a long-term view of our rights and freedoms, there's a lot we can do.
We can keep ourselves educated and continue to educate those around us to recognize how horrors like the current shootings are cynically used by control-minded politicians to turn a once-free country into a fiefdom. Go back and read the articles linked from this alert. Stay aware of the tactics and the weasel words the anti-freedom crowd are using. Send the best articles to your friends and neighbors. Keep reminding yourself and everyone else who cares how freedom is lost and how it can be regained.
Potential victims of a long-range killer need to keep an extra watchful eye out for this villain. But we all need to keep a perpetually watchful eye on those far more dangerous individuals -- those who want us to be disarmed and helpless before every kind of killer and thug in the world.
The Liberty Crew
see also the follow-up Alert: Our Readers Comment on the Maryland-DC Shootings
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