By Alan Gottlieb

Following the hysteria generated by gun prohibitionists in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, a nationwide rush on gun stores began as citizens bought semiautomatic modern sporting rifles, handguns and ammunition, in effect “making a political statement” about proposals to ban such firearms. Making political statements is what the First Amendment is all about. The so-called “assault rifle” has become a symbol of freedom and the right of the people to speak out for the entire Bill of Rights. Banning such firearms, which are in common use today, can no longer be viewed exclusively as an infringement on the Second Amendment, but must also be considered an attack on the First Amendment . . .

Many people now feel that owning a so-called “assault rifle” without fear of government confiscation defines what it means to be an American citizen. Their backlash against knee-jerk extremism is a natural reaction to overreaching government.

What should one expect in response to this heightened rhetoric and legislative hysteria? Citizens in other countries react differently to government intrusion into their lives, but Americans are uniquely independent. Among firearms owners, talk of gun bans and attempts to limit one’s ability to defend himself or herself against multiple attackers by limiting the number of rounds they can have in a pistol or rifle magazine turns gun owners into political activists.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) did not intend her gun ban proposal to cause skyrocketing sales of semiautomatic rifles and pistols, but that’s what happened. She must live with the consequences of her shameless political exploitation of the Sandy Hook tragedy.

President Barack Obama never envisioned the rush to purchase rifle and pistol magazines, but telling American citizens they shouldn’t have something is like sending a signal they need to acquire those things immediately.

Vice President Joe Biden never imagined his efforts would result in a tidal wave of new members and contributions to gun rights organizations, making the firearms community stronger and more united in opposition to any assault on the Second Amendment.

Freedom of association is also protected by the First Amendment.

Perhaps they should take a day off and visit the monuments at Lexington and Concord, and reflect on what prompted those colonists to stand their ground. It was the first time in American history that the government moved to seize arms and ammunition from its citizens, and it went rather badly for the British.

Beneath the surface many Americans are convinced that we may be approaching a point when the true purpose of the Second Amendment is realized. Underscoring this is a new Pew Research Center poll that, for the first time, shows a majority (53 percent) of Americans believe the government is a threat to their rights and freedoms.

Exacerbating the situation is a perceived indifference from the administration toward the rights of firearms owners who have committed no crime, but are being penalized for the acts of a few crazy people.

It is time to lower the rhetoric and allow cooler heads to prevail. The demonization of millions of loyal, law-abiding Americans and the firearms they legally own must cease. If we are to have a rational dialogue about firearms and violent crime, we must recognize that the very people who could be most affected have a First Amendment right to be heard.

Recall the words of Abraham Lincoln, who cautioned us more than 150 years ago that “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” A half-century before him, Benjamin Franklin taught us that “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Their spirits are calling to us now.

26 Responses to Owning Firearms is a First Amendment Exercise, Too

  1. Would love to know the story behind the check…

    ETA: Click the image for an explanation of the check. Great photo. I hope there are many more like it after the current round of legislative insanity is challenged.

    • If you look at our history we are really a big neighborhood of fifty houses. Each one independent of the others with the right to leave the housing association at any time for any reason.

    • +1

      I pray that Mr. Gottlieb will soon wall paper his entire office in the checks from all the lawsuites they win against infringement on the Second Amendment

      • Government having to pay 2nd. amendment advocates, the law of unintended consequences is just too rich for words.
        Of course it is paid out of our taxes, finally a use of tax payer money I can applaud.

  2. I love that picture. It warms the cockles of my heart to think about how much it burned Rahms ass to have to send it. It truly does.

    • “You can go a long way with a smile. You can go a lot farther with a smile and a gun. ” Al Capone – US gangster (1899 – 1947)

      (Several different versions of this thought can be found on the net, depending on your source.)

  3. The answer to inner city violence is to arm the victims, not to listen to them ramble on about how guns are bad.

    Give them all a Hi-point, 50 rounds, and 2 hours of range time.

    That’s welfare that will work for America.

  4. Alan, great post. You wrote about having a ‘rational’ dialogue. The gun-grabbers are seeking to aggressively capture and own the phrase ‘common-sense’ to be associated with their cause and ideology. Everyone wants to believe they and their side have ‘common-sense’. People don’t want to be opposed to the owners of ‘common-sense’. I think the pro-gun RKBA community needs to start using the phrase ‘common-sense’ in our own way to promote our values. I believe we need to aggressively dilute the propaganda power of the gun-grabbers misuse of ‘common-sense’.

    I’m a proud supporting member of the SAF, OFF (Oregon), and JPFO. Thank you for all you are doing.

  5. banning any gun is an attack against any right peoples in a civilized society can have, cause it’s the first step of taking them away. no runs for AR-15s are needet to make gun-grabbing policy an attack against the 1st amendment. once, the bill of rights in GB includet the right to keep and bear arms, not so much today. look what happend to it’s other parts. GB is more 1984 than any other country i know. civil rights are simply based on the ability of THE PEOPLE to defend them and any attempt to take this ability away will lead to taking their rights away.

    • What these calls for “dialog” ignore is that we’ve had a “dialog” since the mid-70’s on this topic, and the pro-gun side has won the debate. All the way to the SCOTUS, twice, and then in many states around the nation as shall-issue CCW laws have been passed.

      The hoplophobes want to keep talking about “having a dialog” because they think that more talk will produce a different outcome. It won’t. The polling of the younger generation shows that the youngsters get this issue, and plan to buy guns.

  6. Funny how Rahm is trying to pull city investments away from gun makers and now his signature is on a big fat check to the SAF.

  7. Amen a great wright. I agree 100% with you. Nick Robert give this man a posting on this blog and a gun shop gift certificate. I love good old logic.

  8. Alan Gottlieb is one of the great leaders in the fight for the protection of our second amendment rights. Based on his leadership through the Second Amendment foundation and CCRKBA (both out of Bellevue, Washington) the horrid Washington State initiative I 676 was soundly defeated. Mr. Gottlieb knows how to fight this fight both in the courts and at the grass-roots level.

    Thank you Mr. Gottlieb!

    • SAF is probably the single most important pro-gun organization playing on the legal field in US – more so than, say, NRA. They were heavily involved in both Heller and McDonald decision, as well as several state-wide anti-gun legislation.

      My personal thanks to them for fighting and winning again the law that effectively prohibited firearm ownership to non-citizens in the State of Washington, thanks to which I can exercise my 2nd Amendment rights same as any other US resident.

  9. I’m proud of the SAF, but at the same time, I don’t think this has had any effect on the CHicago Machine, or any grabber for htat matter. Because the money is not THEIR personal money. It’s taxpayer’s money. That means you and me. The cases need to be tailored so that the politicians are personally liable, especially where the case is found to be unconsitutional.

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