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Cody Wilson at Red's Range CHL class (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

[NOTE: There will be a comprehension test after this post]

On Sunday I took a field trip to Red’s South in West Austin to sit in a concealed carry instruction class with seven fellow citizens. After wandering to a clapboard classroom at 7:45 am, I began an eight-hour triathlon of cram-school instruction and practical and written examination. We broke for lunch and a clever commercial intermission sponsored by Texas Law Shield. Oh, and along the way I confronted the schizophrenic foundations of the gun community’s civil personality . . .

Now, I could be considered an absolutist on the question of popular access to arms. And that could be an understatement. But let’s begin with moral economics. Recently I discovered an original 1698 printing of John Toland’s The Militia Reform’d at UT’s Harry Ransom Center. Toland edited the works of John Harrington, perhaps the most influential of the English neo-republican radicals, and was himself quite the rebel.

The Militia Reform'd

His Militia Reform’d is a tract published at the height of the English “standing army controversy,” a political discourse that later informed early American republicanism and the concept of the Militia in its revolutionary imagination. The militia’s role in the operative clause of the Second Amendment is not quite my object today, but if you’re interested, here is an excellent treatment on it as structural feature of the American republic.

The Militia Reform'd text (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

My interest is Toland’s civic humanism which begins with the “Sword in the hands of the People.” As Toland writes, as opposed to an army of mercenaries or servants, who will show up to fight for bread, a militia of freeholders will fight for Liberty – a condition they would prefer to life, riches, and honors which, without Liberty, “are of no other use except to prolong a miserable and infamous Slavery.” [This should sound familiar. Our friend Patrick Henry had similar views.]

Toland’s tract is Country party propaganda for English freeholders, but his thesis of the Militia as a school of civic virtue is still useful. This virtue was understood in contradistinction to the corruption of allowing Parliament to raise and pay for a standing army. The corruption was born from the preference, because of the luxury that commercial life provides, to neglect the responsibilities of self-government and self-defense to mercenaries. Let Parliament and the Sovereign raise their select militias and soon enough you find yourself under an absolute government, living at discretion. And that doesn’t sound familiar, does it?

The cult of the professional is a cornerstone of modern political fantasy, and its precepts run a road right through military and police worship. When it comes to use of arms, there’s a toleration, no celebration, of its professional (and therefore political) specialization from red-state conservatives.

Cody Wilson at the sharp end of firearms regulations (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

In my CHL class, a representative from Texas Law Shield introduced himself by naming his every NRA, police, and ATF credential. He closed his eyes and rattled his chains for us. As I stopped listening, the words began to clink like guineas. Yes, current and former police and military are a large and knowledgeable part of the gun owning public. Yes, our CHL instructor was retired police and certainly didn’t fail to mention it. And, but for the uneven treatment of the Fourth Amendment, I found his instruction and experience valuable and civic-minded. But our friends in the military, police, the legislatures and the NRA, are all to some degree agents of Toland’s civic corruption.

There is almost zero fear of the military class and its industrial complex among red-staters. Zero problem with handing over a massive slice of our property to the Congress to sustain these. It is the same with embracing the NRA as a lobby. Fundraising machine, yes, but could that organization be a more uncertain trumpet?

Drafted, promoted, or endorsed the ’24 Uniform Revolver Act, the ’34 National Firearms Act, the ’37 Federal Firearms Act, the ’64 Dodd Bill and  ’68 Gun Control Act, the ’83 McClure Amendments, the ’86 Bullet Ban, and the ’86 FOPA! Oh, so they got religion in ’94 and I’m supposed to drop to my knees that nothing passed in 2013? (Nothing but regulations on my line of work, right?)

Cody Wilson contemplates the FNS-9 (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

We prefer the illusion of a larger and entrenched advocate to actually being one. We would rather glory in the trappings of Empire than see to the Public Liberty. Oh, am I sounding “isolationist?” Again, our friend Patrick HenryWe secretly find the duties of liberty a chore and an embarrassment. Desperate, we rush to abdicate our power to that Potomac circus, ten miles square, where miserable fools will jockey to out-debase each other with it. This to our barely disguised relief!

You see, Toland and Harrington’s civic humanism relied on the ballot and bullet together. Now, compare your zeal for your Second Amendment with the liberal jealousy for the franchise. Where you line up for your plastic ticket to some checkered Second Amendment zone; where you purchase your right’s abridgment from your State legislator and count it a victory, the progressive cabal files suit against every possible qualification for the franchise.

Eric Holder, last week: “I’m attorney general of the United States. … I will not allow people to take away that which people gave their lives to give, and that is the ability for the American people to vote.” You won’t hold your masters in awe with arms, but you can sure as hell anonymously vote for them!

FNS-9 (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

I know. This is a story about my CHL class. Well I took a practical exam where I was required to shoot 50 rounds in rapid little segments—“Fire two shots in three seconds, go!”—that at the very least disadvantaged the disabled and infirm. My instruction was more expensive in lost time alone than any of the old Southern poll taxes when adjusted for inflation (and most CHL classes are not free, dear hearts). The written exam disadvantaged the illiterate and uneducated at the very least, and, even if I was going to apply for the license, when I arrived at DPS I’d have to slap down $140 for the fee.

Are you familiar with Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections? In 1966 the Supreme Court said fees and wealth were unrelated to a citizen’s ability to participate intelligently in electoral process. It said poll taxes violated the Equal Protection Clause of Fourteenth Amendment. When voter literacy tests were taken to the Court in Lassiter v. Northampton County Board of Elections, it found no violation of the Fifteenth Amendment only because the right to vote as established in the Constitution came subject to the imposition of state standards.

But the Second Amendment is articulated without the imposition of state standards. And I submit that the many CHL laws are by that reason alone impeachable on their face. Regardless, the Court has in Heller and McDonald construed your Second Amendment as the right to carry arms for any lawful purpose, and that this right is incorporated through the Fourteenth Amendment against the states. Well the state CHL processes are invidiously discriminatory and their costs easily violate the Equal Protection clause. I’m not just talking about the joke that is may issue.

Defense Distributed's Cody Wilson at Red's South (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

So why don’t we tear it down? Why live in this domestic image fashioned for us by police and generals and lobbyists? Documentary processes like applications and examinations follow a disciplinary desire in the work of Foucault. There is today a general nostalgia for the sites of concentration and enclosure, which, though losing their specific materiality, have become the general framework of social space and each moment of our daily lives.

Every CHL act and legislative gimmick is still an expansion of the bureaucratic classes, the means of our surveillance, and a deepening of the deep state. And because we know a CHL makes our interactions with the police even more fraught with peril, there may be even darker drives at work. But that’s for another time.

FNS-9 at rest (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

All this talk about the Palladium of LibertyThe right of self defence is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible.” Mere watchwords. Churches litter the streets to hide the death of God, prisons to hide that we are the prisoners, and licenses multiply to hide that we are slaves. Yes, I suspect we enjoy the restriction represented by the CHL. If we were serious about it, this hallowed right to carry a handgun, we’d at least skip the DPS and file in the Fifth Circuit.



Please do not scroll up to check answers, which are posted on TTAG’s Facebook Page.

1. In Militia Reform’d, John Toland writes that “Mercenaries prove extremely tedious and burdensome, they never end till the Country that employs them . . .

A) takes away their MRAPs
B) is exhausted of all its treasure
C) instructs Darrell Issa to launch a Congressional investigation

2. Cody Wilson says the cult of what is a “cornerstone of modern political fantasy”?

A) Ronald Reagan
B) democracy
C) professionalism
D) Reverend Sun Myong Moon

3. Which of these does Cody Wilson consider “to some degree agents of Toland’s civic corruption”?

A) military
B) police
C) the legislatures
D) the NRA
E) Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America
F) All of the above except for E

4. Which of these Acts has the wrong date?

A) 1924 Uniform Revolver Act
B) 1934 National Firearms Act
C) 1937 Federal Firearms Act
D) 1965 Dodd Bill
E) 1968 Gun Control Act
F) 1983 McClure Amendments
G) 1986 Bullet Ban
H) 1986 FOPA

5. Cody writes: “We prefer the illusion of a larger and entrenched advocate to actually being one. We would rather glory in the trappings of Empire than see to the Public Liberty. Oh, am I sounding ______?”

A) terpsichorean
B) obstreperous
C) isolationist
D) pretentious

6. What number is on the case of Cody’s FNS-9 (i.e. packed by)?

A) 666
B) 16
C) 18
D) 26

7. Cody says the Texas CHL class disadvantages whom?

A) disabled and infirm
B) illiterate and uneducated
C) 1911 owners shooting hand reloads
D) A & B
E) All of the above

8. Who is Michel Foucault?

A) Who is John Galt?
B) The author of The History of Sexuality
C) The inventor of Foucault’s Pendulum
D) Some random dude

9. Is this the most obtuse sentence in Cody’s article: “There is today a general nostalgia for the sites of concentration and enclosure, which, though losing their specific materiality, have become the general framework of social space and each moment of our daily lives”? [Bonus points for translating it into plain English in the comments.]

A) Yes
B) No

10. Cody says that if we were serious about “this hallowed right to carry a handgun” we’d skip the Texas Department of Public Safety and do what?

A) Go to Schmidt’s Barbecue in Bee Caves for a quarter poind of lean
B) File a lawsuit at the Fifth Circuit Court
C) Carry without a permit

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      • It’s simple: we have bought into the state’s frame. We claim we want liberty and more of our second amendment rights but what we doing about it? Shouldn’t we be filing lawsuits against CHL fees? Aren’t they akin to a poll tax?

        Furthermore, we’ve in large part given up our responsibility for our own defense and our nation’s defense to a cult of professionals who are corrupt and don’t really give too much of a crap about us in general. They’re, in fact, used by the political class to oppress us.

        • I see it in a slightly different manner. CHL classes cost money to do. That’s a given. State mandated prices are akin to poll taxes, but I think many states don’t have a minimum class fee. Taxes on licenses (including ATF tax stamps) are also akin to poll taxes.
          What should be done about it? IMO CHL classes should be 100% free (paid for 100% by the state with regular tax income), including the rest of the steps to get the license. Any exorbitant taxes or taxes intended to regulate interstate commerce rather than generate revenue should be ended

        • Sorry, Wayne, it wouldn’t let me reply to Scrubula

          Scrubula, what you’re missing is…there SHOULDN’T BE a concealed carry license. There shouldn’t be REQUIRED concealed carry classes. You should be able to carry, open or concealed, no license required. If you want to take a concealed carry class and pay someone to do teach it, by all means…but the state should not be allowed to dictate that you do so before you are “allowed” to carry.

        • tfunk, then why did he not SAY that, instead of boggling the mind with a bunch of verbose BS which no one who speaks “common sense” or “2A but” has a chance of understanding, even if they were forced at gunpoint to even read it? Regard the length of his dissertation vs the length of your explanation!

          And for TheBear, whoa down, this was not *written* by RF, just reported. The writer is this “Cody Wilson”, am I wrong?

    • Agreed. Long, wrong, rambling and riddled with half-truths, mischaracterizations and generalizations. The only potentially redeeming feature is a limber, slender skeletal framework of facts, albeit serving the suspect purpose of supporting the tacked on, patched to, and jammed in errors just described, and the specious conclusions squeezed from them.

      I’ll leave it to others to conduct the coming vivisection of this piece. I don’t want to hog all the fun.

      • If you released an all-plastic gun that could be printed by 3d printers anywhere – you would also be labeled an “anarchist” by main stream media.

    • I’m getting over a sinus infection right now and thought maybe I couldn’t understand the article because of the meds I’m taking. Glad to see it wasn’t just me.

    • Yea – I’m going to go ahead and disagree with everyone else.

      Thank you Mr. Wilson for your philosophical writing on their respective topics. I’ll be sure to check out the writings and authors mentioned in your article.

      • Thank god.

        I don’t mean to be an elitest prick but I’m going to say this anyways and it’s probably going to hurt some feelings.

        If you folks don’t polish up on your critical reading and thinking skills the ship that is America is sunk. Do yourself a favor and stop reading TTAG long enough to read some literature.

        • I’m a reasonably smart guy and I do a lot of reading, but this was seemly deliberate in its obtuseness and gave me a headache. The guy could have gotten his point nailed down with a third of the wordage. After reading it, I felt like I had my nose rubbed in his elitist “look at how much in love I am with my Thesaurus” attitude. I am more impressed with someone that can write clearly than I am by some one trying to impress me with how much smarter he is than I am.

    • Also, I am assuming Cody Wilson wrote this? Or did Robert?

      TTAG- maybe change the author to Cody so there is no confusion.

  1. Outstanding post. And you’re right, we should demolish this thing. If a poll tax is unconstitutional, then certainly a tax on our second amendment rights are as well.

    • Man, I’m glad someone else thought this post was great…I was beginning to think I was retarded for understanding it! 🙂

      It is amazing that we (myself included) have accepted restrictions on our rights, and accepted that our govt has transformed what our country once was into “liberty…inside this little box we allow you to play in”

        • That’s weird, I feel like I remember some story from the 1700s about men, in American Colonies, who owned guns and land, becoming upset about being taxed for every little thing…..

      • I always love reading posts like this because it points out the abject hypocrisy regarding the 2A. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: We’re not free because we don’t really want to be free and we have the government we have because it’s the government we deserve.

    • Agreed. Fantastic post. I’m not understanding the hate. Ironically, there’s quite a bit of Marxist sentiment in 3D printing… the people seizing the means of production and what not.

    • And just think – if people can’t understand the relation between a poll tax and CHL licensing then there’s no hope for them understanding the outright evilness of taxing peoples’ wages and calling it an “income tax”.

  2. Huh?

    And yeah, you should drop to your knees and thank the NRA that nothing passed in 2012-13. Because frankly, I don’t give a flying fart what happened in 1476, but I do know that without the NRA, SAF and GOA, there wouldn’t be a civilian firearm left in America.

    • I think the point of the article is that there should be no NRA because there should be no need for it in the first place. That the government should leave are rights be and thet we should not have to ask permission, jump through legal loops such as training classes and permits, or having lobbyists to exercise our rights. That all of this just ends up fueling the viscous cycle of our rights being futher eroded and us not even realizing the full extent of how far this county has fallen into the cesspool.

      However the artice could have been written more clearly and streamlined than it was.

      • No, he was more damning of the NRA than that. And rightly so. Why are they not fighting against NFA laws, GCA laws, etc.? If you ask them it’s because it’s a “fight we can’t win right now”. But in their publications and speeches you never really ever hear them bring these things up or educate people as to the fact that their rights are gone.

        And everyone seems to overlook the fact that in the face of SH they were utterly useless as a mouthpiece. They actually had to stoop to blame video games and movies and then they were willing to make a deal on background checks for mental health.

  3. The million dollar question at this point is why didn’t the eloquent Mr. Wilson take his own advice and file a lawsuit against chl fees since he had the perfect opportunity.

  4. Consider this: back in the old south during the bad old days of slavery, slaves generally weren’t permitted to handle guns. If they were they had to ask their master for permission. In Virginia, a master had to give his slaves written permission to keep and bear them arms otherwise it was illegal.

    We gladly ask for written permission from the state to carry a firearm and pay them for the privilege. How much different is it? What happens if you get caught carrying a concealed gun in most states without paying the government and getting a permit? You get thrown in jail and your firearm gets taken. You might even lose your gun rights forever.

    Now are you really free if you have to ask permission to exercise a basic constitutional right? Why should we have to ask our masters and pay for the privilege?

    • +100,000,000

      But I fear that you are speaking in the wind unfortunately. America has embraced her velvet chains…

  5. Lots going on in that cranium, it’s a shame it isn’t organized more during the journey between synapse and keyboard. Sort of a broken water main of intellect, with intelligent stuff pouring out too quickly and haphazardly to make complete sense of. It does sound like he’s on point though.

      • It was a tough read. But not for a lack of intelligence, more a misdirection of intelligence. However… If you can’t communicate well, intelligence isn’t worth much. So in that regard, I agree with you.

  6. I thought Cody went to law school. Focus more on the clarity of your writing. You can’t convince someone of your position if they don’t understand what you’re saying. And people getting the “gist” of what you’re saying is not enough.

  7. Ah, you don’t go to the DPS for application, you go to web site to complete and pay for it on-line. Can’t even image how unpleasant it would be to take range test indoors.
    I go to Red’s in southwest Austin on pretty regular basis, get there at opening to avoid a full line of other shooters, less noise, less lead in the air. Did you check out any other venues for CHL classes? Lot of them have outoor ranges, much more enjoyable. Most classes do have a rep. from CHL legal defense companies, and get a small cut for those who sign up, so what? All part of free market capitalism. Did you ever get your Texas CHL? Or was this just an excuse to go and have something to bitch about?

    • 15 years ago, took my wife and son to take CHL at outdoor range. Rained all day, stood in several inches of mud to fire the course, for hours. Not always more enjoyable.

  8. The article is misleading by omission. Here’s what the confused author omitted.

    The guns laws in Texas are arguably the least restrictive in the U.S. There is no legal requirement to obtain a license or permit to buy, trade, own, or possess firearms in Texas. The only licensing requirement is for a handgun if you opt to carry it on your person in public off property under your control (example: outside of your vehicle), then you must obtain a CHL and for now at least the handgun must be concealed.

    Texas honors most out of State CHL’s. Texas residents as well as out of State visitors can lawfully carry a loaded long gun with almost no restrictions, and for now at least where they choose to carry their long gun is pretty much left to common sense. Texas residents and out of state visitors can lawfully carry a loaded and immediately accessible handgun or long gun in their vehicle, boat, rv, camper, tent, hotel, motel, condo, etc without a CHL, and even though the law requires a handgun to be concealed if carried in a vehicle, a CHL is still not required, not even for out of state visitors.

    The overwhelming majority of Texas law enforcement officers are pro armed citizen as long as the conduct while armed is lawful.

    Nothing is perfect but all in all when it comes to toting iron, we got it pretty damn good here in the Lone Star State. I hate it that poor Cody is so miffed with Texas CHL requirements here in God’s Country, but I suspect the origin of his dissent has little to do with the current state of affairs relating to gun laws in Texas.

        • Yea except it isn’t arguable. Go ahead – try and argue it.
          Compare Montana, wyoming, or Arizona against Texas.

          The overwhelming majority of Texas law enforcement officers are pro armed citizen as long as the conduct while armed is lawful.

          Unless you are ex-military taking a walk with your son while carrying an AR (in a rural area) and happen to be annoyed when the officer detains you and you make a snarky remark to the officer and get arrested – sure.

          … You are being charged with… uh… uh… Rudely displaying a weapon!

    • LOLWUT? Texas has some pretty crappy gun laws.

      No open carry
      Must inform LEO
      No lifetime permit & high fees
      Training requirement
      30.06 signs
      Lots of prohibit places

      Other than strong reciprocity and shall issue what about Texas gun laws is good?

      • I don’t see the problem with 30.06 signs. Texas is a big private property ownership state and goes to pretty great lengths to protect property rights. That being said, the law is actually written in favor of gun owners, with the burden falling on the person posting a 30.06 sign to comply exactly with the code or be invalid. As a property owner, you should have the right to decide whether someone comes one your property armed or not. As a gun owner and CHL, I don’t have a problem respecting the wishes of a property owner. If it is a business, they may lose my patronage, but I will respect their wishes.

        • I ignore the signs. Concealed is concealed. If I need the gun they will find out I have it, and may ask me to leave, which I will.

    • Yet, you cannot open carry a handgun, which I can, here in Washington State. And, a CCL is $55 for five years. Don’t brag too much. There are plenty of flies in your ointment.

    • It’s humorous to hear Texans who have come to Wyoming for gas field work comment on the difference between Texas and Wyoming with regard to guns.

      Texans show up, claiming that Texas has the “best gun laws” in the nation.

      They leave, knowing full well that they don’t. In Texas, you can’t buy a gun, load it, strap it on your hip, either concealed or in the open, and walk down the street without license or citation (respectively).

      In Wyoming? You can. And people do. All the time. And no one gets all pissy about it, either, the way that people in liberal enclaves like Austin do.

      • I’d maintain that even Colorado, with its mag restrictions and requirement for background checks for private sales, still has better laws than Texas does… except in the realm of self defense uses, maybe.

  9. “There is almost zero fear of the military class and its industrial complex among red-staters. Zero problem with handing over a massive slice of our property to the Congress to sustain these.”

    Umm . . . Robert? I think you’ve been breathing Austin air for too long. You need to get away for a bit, maybe go sit in the Perdenales for awhile and get your mind right. I don’t know what “red-staters” you’re talking about because the other conservatives I know who’d identify as red-staters are hardly the blind supporters of the military class you seem to think we are. Yes, there’s a place for the military. I want 11 aircraft carriers protecting our sea lanes. I want tyrants and tin-pot revolutionaries to live in fear of attacking us. But I don’t think the military, whether pretending to be police or BLM game wardens, has any place controlling the lives of American citizens.

  10. Actually the article was pretty good, but it could have been presented better and made a little bit more streamlined. It actually is very Libertarian and does point out the problems of liberty in a statist structure of the Right Wing political spectrum. It was a debate we used to have of which was worse, the Right or the Left? In reality, extremes of both positions and wings results in a totalitarian and authoritarian state.

  11. tl;dr

    In all seriousness, I tried but two paragraphs in I began to skim…then I looked down further for an article about a CHL class experience. I found none. Looks like TTAG is starting to take headline lessons from major media.

  12. Didn’t get question 6, but the rest wasn’t too hard. Translation of the “obtuse” line.

    Original: “There is today a general nostalgia for the sites of concentration and enclosure, which, though losing their specific materiality, have become the general framework of social space and each moment of our daily lives”

    Colloquial translation: People miss their chains and their masters. While there may be fewer physical chains, the paperwork, regulations, and bureaucracy have similarly restricted our lives and liberties.

    • Ah you beat me to it! People are bashing this article because they actually don’t understand it. I fear that most people couldn’t read much of the literature of the revolutionary period and understand it.

      I feel quite confident that Mr. Wilson wrote that sentence that way on purpose. I found it quite brilliant actually.

  13. “[The NRA] Drafted, promoted, or endorsed the ’24 Uniform Revolver Act, the ’34 National Firearms Act, the ’37 Federal Firearms Act, the ’64 Dodd Bill and ’68 Gun Control Act, the ’83 McClure Amendments, the ’86 Bullet Ban, and the ’86 FOPA! Oh, so they got religion in ’94 and I’m supposed to drop to my knees that nothing passed in 2013? ”

    First off the NRA didn’t actively involve itself in gun rights until after the 1968 GCA.

    Yes the laws ultimately passed in 1983 and 1986 AP bullet ban was written by the NRA. But there version of the law was better for gun owners, as the original texts of the laws was a test vs body armor if it could penetrate armor it was banned. While the NRA authored law used a bullet construction test as a compromise with anti-gun forces.

    The 1986 FOPA was passed because it greatly reformed the 1968 GCA. Without it the internet gun buying revolution would’ve likely never happened. The Machine Gun ban was an attempt by anti-gun forces to bitter pill the law, hoping that it would derail it, but the NRA decided that the reforms were too important and that they would fight the ban in the future.

    Now you are right the NRA did see the light in 1994, they realized that they couldn’t compromise with anti-gun forces, as they would just attempt to incrementally take all the rights away.

    • The sad thing is the NRA probably never had the intention to fight the full auto ban and probably never will ever try to repeal it. It was also wrong of them to even help ban AP bullets as there should not be any kinds of bans on bullets, period. The fact is if the NRA was 100% on our side, they never would have let these bans pass like they did. But just like the police need criminals to arrest to have jobs, the NRA needs antis and unjust gun control laws to fight in order to get your donations. Both need you to have a need for them. This is why the whole setup here is rotten to the core.

      • The AP ammo ban came from the era when the NRA thought that they could work with the anti-gun forces and compromise.

        As far as the machine gun ban, they did attempt to repeal it, but it is a losing battle when it comes to the war in the media for the middle ground.

        You do understand that the NRA isn’t just gun rights? The NRA itself has always been about marksmanship, and keeping shooting alive as a sport. The NRA-ILA, NRA-PVF, and NRA Civil Rights organizations are completely separate from NRA proper and a couple of their non-profit spin offs like the Friends of the NRA.

        The fact that most gun owners don’t realize that the NRA isn’t just for lobbying against gun laws, is one of the areas that anti-gunners have been successful at.

        • That’s the problem, if the NRA or anyone else that is pro gun rights just fights to reach a middle ground, it isn’s a victory at all, just a compromise that will lead to more compromises in the future. It will only end with our rights totally stripped away as the final compromise. The antis are always moving what they call the middle ground. They should be fighting to get nothing short of full repeals of gun control laws and turning public opinion to our side and thrus forcing the media to jumb to the winning side. That is how the cycle of the erosion of our rights through compromises of reaching a nonexistent middle ground. It is time to stop playing the anti’s game and change the rules on them.

  14. I’d like a crack at translating: In a post-Snowden world, our ability to deconstruct the whims of our ruling class by taking the design of an AR lower, reducing it to 1s and 0s on a screen – essentially putting it in drag until it is no longer a firearm but information and speech in a CAD file – subverts their Fukuyama-ian globalist neoliberal End of History on both sides of the aisle (which are quite comfortable in the pockets of Goldman-Sachs bankers) obstructing any real politics.


    • And a better education, but then that’s something that can be said of nearly all graduates of American “higher education” these days.

  15. I think Robert is able to walk the fine line between waxing eloquent, and waxing tedious. Cody is smart, well read, and commands a broad vocabulary, but he neither knows his audience, nor knows how to present a coherent thought in easily digestible syntax. Perhaps RF should take him under his eminent editorial wings.

    • In a political forum where the Left often dismisses us based entirely on our humble origins and plebeian prose, I’d say we need a few Codys amongst the company we keep.

      • That may be a good point. I still don’t have to like it, and you can’t make people actually read it.

  16. I enjoyed that… And everyone piling on Rand Paul for suggesting we should curtail our military adventures abroad is a perfect example of the red state bow and scrape to the MIC…

  17. I actually enjoyed this rambling post. It was actually a bit educational.

    A refreshing change of pace from the cop-bashing posts which are no more than anti-cop agitprop.

    TTAG is only as good as the people who are writing articles for it.

    I encourage everyone to submit articles to offer variety on TTAG and to help provide a more balanced selection of articles.

    Very interesting article sir.

    As a professional editor, I could recommend you work on honing your central point and theme, but other than that quibble, good work.

  18. Are you paying this guy by the word?

    incomprehensible, over-intellectual gibberish.

    Cody, you’re trying too hard.

    • Reads like an essay test in college when you have totally blown off any attempt for study and preparation, went out and got hammered the night before, show up in class with a miserable hangover, but go ahead and give it a shot anyway hoping the Professor won’t pick on the lame effort to baffle him with bullshit.

  19. Okay, so we’ll do away with the professional military and rely solely on the People for defense. And who is going to operate the specialized equipment that requires hundreds of hours of practice and training — Chipotle ninjas? Come to think of it, that does solve the problem of where to station the hardware.

    • If you go strictly by the Constitution, we’re to maintain a standing Navy (and Marines by extension) and raise armies as needed.

    • We can’t even imagine a world without national governments but if there were none do you really think a bunch of people would’ve put their heads together to build an A-bomb? Why would they? Without national governments fleecing their people for their own interests do you really think research and funding would go to building computer guided SAM missile launchers and nuclear submarines?

      I highly doubt it. But even if some other country did put effort into technology like that and harm or threaten to harm us why should anyone have a problem with private people owning technology such as described to defend their liberty?

      I admit the A-bomb is a stretch, but that only highlights the horror of it. We freak out and wet our panties just thinking about Joe Schmo owning a nuke but then somehow rest easy knowing that technology is “safe” in the hands of our government.

      A society that wants true liberty must be a moral society. If it is not then nothing will succeed. If I know that my neighbor holds no ill will against me why should I care if he owns an Apache helicopter fully decked out with Hellfire rockets, Maverick missiles and a 30mm chaingun?

  20. Well…this coming session of the Texas legislature is most likely going to be the best opportunity to get whatever firearm legislation passed. Barring Abbott stepping on (rolling over) his cr@nk in the next three months, he will be the next governor. Wendy is falling flat. He is about as pro-gun as it comes. The Lt Gov race is a toss up and that could be an issue, but Patrick is a pretty far right less government guy.

    There are a number of pro-2A legislators in the leg and state senate right now or likely winners in Nov. That being said, the Executive Director of DPS is a former FBI guy. I don’t know what he stance is on CHL/OC, but DPS relies on CHL fees for revenue, and will to a greater degree if the gas tax diversion to DPS is ended to pay for more roads.

    While the state has made news for swinging far right in the primaries, demographics are changing and who knows what the future will hold. Politically, I predict a pretty turbulent next 2-4 years.

    So the take away is if you have change to the laws in is the time to contact your rep or senator and put the bug in their ear. I predict three big issues in the TX house this next session…transportation funding, water, and open carry.

    • With the team you describe, why not unlicensed carry, period, the state can butt out? Is that what is called “Constitutional carry”?

  21. Rob,

    Good call on the Texas/anti 4th amendment/ bureaucrat/ license and taxation combo.

    TX is not a liberty Mecca, it’s a red state cesspool.

    Gun groups don’t do much in TX either, go to texaschlforums. It’s full of a bunch of pathetic DPS boot-lickers who don’t understand that DPS has illegal requirements and they were the ones who opposed shall issue back when it was passed, not to mention they also opposed just about every advancement made since then.

    Screw Texas, New Hampshire’s gun laws are about 50 times better than TX, not to mention almost everytime a 4th amendment violation is reported on in a red state, you can bet that it’s Texas.

    TX CHL instructors are some of the biggest blockers of pro gun bills in TX besides the police.

  22. “There is today a general nostalgia for the sites of concentration and enclosure, which, though losing their specific materiality, have become the general framework of social space and each moment of our daily lives” translated:

    I know why the caged bird sings. He wants a smaller cage .

  23. This was the closest read to the founding fathers that I’ve seen in a long time. Those who are expressing that it was too intellectual were sorely under served by the government schools. This is how average people wrote two hundred and fifty years ago, with no Department of Education, government schools, nor billions of tax dollars going to education. Now we are told we must go to thirteen years of school (indoctrination) so we can go into a hundred thousand dollars of debt for “higher education” so we can go into the work force with a piece of paper that reads BA in Mideval Feminist History of Poetry so we can apply for a job to ask “Do you want fries with that?”. This is the first time I recall seeing this Cody Wilson, but I will remember him, this is one of the best articles I’ve read in this site, and I would like to thank Mr. Wilson for taking the time to write it. It was thought provoking and spot on in my opinion. God bless!

  24. The people mad that they can’t understand this need to read a little philosophy. This is really well stated and asks very good questions regarding the power we allow the state to exert over us.

  25. “And because we know a CHL makes our interactions with the police even more fraught with peril, there may be even darker drives at work.”

    When I stop someone and find out they have a CHL, I become more relaxed because I know the crime stats (or lack thereof) regarding licensees, and that they are less likely to be a criminal. I am not advocating the bureaucracy, I disagree with it, but I know because I got my CHL before I ever became a cop.

    When you aren’t making young girls that you met online cry, you should contact your local Sheriff’s Office and go on some ridealongs, or come out here to east Texas and ride with me. Maybe then your opinions on LEO perspective and policy will actually mean something. If you think your nightly drives are dark because of the police, I will take you down some of these backroads where even we don’t go at night, and you will see the true face of darkness.

  26. Cody: Your communcations suck (both written and verbal). I’m not trying to beat you up – because I like you – but you have to come to this realization. A person can communicate much more effectively arguing from first principles (Stefan Molyneux) and using examples (Dale Carnegie) or metaphors (Sri Ramakrishna). Excellent communication is more like illustration, where you get your audience involved in drawing the picture. Most people (everyone?) learns best by doing. Invest some of your reading and listening time to focus on the better communicators; they’ll rub off on you.

  27. There’s an unbelievable amount of condescension in this post. The “quiz” he gives at the end goes beyond pedantic. While the content may be valid, or even compelling, he gives the reader no room to understand his point of view. He just blusters forth with his screed with the expectation that either you “get it” or you’re “one of them.” This strikes me as quintessentially Rothbardian.

    As a teacher, I value thoughtful language and prose. The way this was written is alienating and serves no purpose other than to belong to an echo chamber. As to the comment that this was how the Founding Fathers wrote, I’d say it’s close. Standards were much higher in some respects during the 18th century. George Washington probably read more books than any of us will in our lifetimes, yet he was still considered the “dumb jock” of the Founding Fathers. This article would probably fit within those times but would be lost among the better written pieces.

    I value Mr. Wilson’s contributions. However I think there are more inclusive ways to discuss the issues presented in his article. Most of us would agree that we could do with at least less government intrusion. Most of us would rather not have to go to a CHL class and get a license for a fundamental right (unless you live in New York.) While there are those who highly value and celebrate the military, I’d say that all of us hate authoritarianism. There is no need to insult your readers.

    • I would agree the quiz was unnecessary. He had to take a test for the CHL – I think that is why he put the quiz in there. I didn’t feel like he was being condescending however – maybe that is because I agree with him?

      • I agree with him as well. But I found his use of language lacking and pushing towards faux profundity. Because of this, his redirect is often alienating and insular. This is a problem found in all ideas and movements, the Ivory Tower perhaps the greatest example.

        I guess trying to distinguish or critique amidst an echo chamber is folly.

    • Maybe I’m wrong but when I read the quiz it seemed like an obvious insertion by TTAG to me.

      For instance it begins at least one question with “Cody writes”…

      That seems to indicate to me that someone other than the author wrote that little sweetheart.

  28. Excellent, well-written essay. I never thought about the comparison between the “invidious discrimination” of voter suppression laws with the laws governing handgun permits. The analogy is Dead On point! Voting rights are Constitutionally left to the states, but there is no such restriction under the 2d Amendment. My blindness to this truth is obviously caused by a law school education. Thank you for opening my eyes.

  29. Cody doesn’t hand feed his reader. His writing style leaves open specific conclusions but suggests obvious points. The larger points are philosophical and political. It is a shame that so many demand to be hand fed. This says more about the readers than Cody. It does present an interesting question for Cody. Should he dumb down his writing to the proverbial “milk” in order to leave no child behind or serve steak for those with the maturity to consume it?

    I don’t know the answer to that question. But I thought the article suggested brilliant legal and philosophical ideas. I am shocked these ideas have not been suggested by others before now.

    Patrick Henry would embrace Cody Wilson as a political brother.

    • + 1 million to you.

      Other people have and do make suggestions like this all the time. And then they are quickly and firmly ridiculed as radical or extremist and told to go sit in the corner with a dunce cap or lock themselves in a closet.

      This article is case in point…just read the general majority of the comments…

  30. OK! This article is proof TTAG should separate the blog into different sections.
    • Political – philosophical
    • Gun Reviews
    • Gear Reviews
    • IGOTD (and police bashing)
    • Self Defense Tips
    • News
    • etc etc et al.

    That way people who don’t want to think philosophically can stay out of certain sections. People only interested in gun reviews and politically correct content can keep to their respective sections.

    From the title:
    “Defense Distributed’s Cody Wilson Takes Texas CHL Class”
    One would not have guessed they might have to question philosophically the conditions around them given this title.

    • Indeed. I’m a fan of TTAG and RF in general, but the way in which this article was handled, as if it was promoting a Moms Demand Action philosophy is sickening to me.

      Right down to the tongue in cheek “comprehension test” at the end. Gimme a break.

  31. I think its a good article but lets look at this a bit more of a literary sense. The article makes important points about our giving in and succumbing to the state and its will and selling ourselves into slavery, but I think the confused and rambling pace and intellectual tone of the essay is a perfect illustration of firearms law.

    Any interaction with firearms law is delving into a miasma of confused and contradictory statutes that often lack clear intent and purpose. State, federal, and local law all converge to create this slurry of crap. One statute may refer to another, one defers to federal law implicitly, the next is a local ordinance that you have to toil to find (if you even think to go looking) and the next yet has no clear interpretation. Legalese muddles it completely by taking plain language and twisting it into something that needs to be digested, and even then terminology may lack definition and require further (possibly fruitless) research. After hours of research and study, trying to untangle the web, there may be little to show for such efforts or more questions without definite answer are raised.

    The confused and rambling pace of the essay is the confused and haphazardly assembled system of firearms law we have today. The verbosity and oblique writing is the legalese and redirection that firearms laws are comprised of. In my opinion it is an excellent analogy.

  32. I find it hilarious that it has totally escaped Cody’s supporters and sympathizers what Robert probably intended and effectively accomplished by posting this ranting anarchist manifesto, soared right over their heads, too funny.

  33. People complaining got the gist, but what was the purpose? Interwebs blogs are for fast, succinct and accurate reads, no? I did appreciate it, but was side swiped by the blog masters, “let’s screw with them” play time submittal. Hind sight 15/15, it was funny!

    I guess Old King James or New International Version, you pick?

  34. Interesting that TEXAS LAW SHIELD was “sold” to a captive audience.

    I sat in in 2 other CHL classes where relatives were taking the CHL class, one in the Dallas area and one in the Houston area, and in both, a rep from Texas Law Shield used some moderate to high pressure sales tactics to get people to sign up right away, offering “extras” or deals that would only be good if the participants signed up there and then.

    Personally, I was somewhat offended with the sales tactics, but they were successful in getting several of the attendees to sign up. I was especially offended at one of the classes that the instructor said that Texas Law Shield was endorsed by DPS, which I strongly questioned during a break, as it may be a possible violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, as well as some other statutes. I checked with a local DPS office and was told that they do not endorse commercial products such as this. I am curious as to what the instructor receives as a commission or fee to allow Texas Law Shield to take some of the 4 hour time block to sell its products to the students in the class. Since the CHL classes in Texas are regulated by the DPS, I would like to know if this is really allowed as a component of the class, or is simply an illicit use of the statutory class time. I would really like to see DPS come out with a rule defining the validity of having a commercial enterprise use the allotted time for a sales presentation. As an analogy, would it be OK for Colt, S&W, Winchester, Remington, Federal, Glock, etc. to peddle their products to a captive audience as a part of a legally required class that is defined under the law?

    A little research will quickly disclose that Texas Law Shield is not a monopoly, and that there are several excellent competitors, some of which offer more “coverage” at a much lower price.

    I would like to see TTAG do an unbiased review of the several major concealed carry “insurance” or “protection” policies that are available. For those interested in such legal assistance, and honest comparison and review by our trusted TTAG would be of great benefit to the concealed carry community.

    If TTAG can evaluate firearms and related products, is not concealed carry insurance a related product?

    Go for it!


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