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Thomas Paine once wrote that “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country.” At no time in my life have those words, written in December of 1776, been more prophetic than they are today. During the last four years or so, the “sunshine patriots” in and around the firearms industry have been happy to capitalize on the popularity of both the concealed carry movement and the tidal wave sales of the AR-15 or Stoner-based rifles.  From huge investment companies and national sporting goods chain stores down to the local gun shop, profits from the sales of guns, ammunition, and related accessories have never been higher. At the 2009 SHOT Show, Jim Shepherd, Editor of the Outdoor Wire, dubbed Barry Soetoro as the “Gun Salesman of the Year.” And, whether you liked that or not, it was the absolute truth . . .

Despite pledging in July of 2012 to prevent crime only with “existing gun laws” (pre-election, campaign talk), Barry, with the fawning support of a sycophantic press and the useful idiots who inhabit his camp, has turned the preventable horror in Connecticut into a rallying cry for civilian disarmament. As the leftwing media machine beats the drum and fans the flames of hatred against lawful American gun owners, the “summer soldiers” are running in blind panic away from an industry in which they’ve made millions of dollars during the last few years.

No Surprise

To no one’s surprise, Hollywood television producers who were more than happy to cash in on the American gun craze, were some of the first dominos to fall. Discovery Channel, which aired of some of the most popular gun reality shows pulled the carpet out almost immediately on both of their existing programs as well as killing pre-production of shows that had yet to air. Ted Nugent’s Gun Country and American Guns have been officially cancelled and Sons of Guns has been “removed from the schedule.” Whatever that means.

Cerberus Capital Management, the monster private equity group who had been gobbling up gun companies for the last six years or so, announced on December 18th 2012 that they were divesting themselves of their gun holdings. Firearms industry insiders saw this as a blessing in disguise as Cerberus management had been ruining the reputations of its gun companies for years.

That doesn’t change the fact that Cerberus and its myriad investors had no trouble making millions — if not billions — of dollars from the American gun owner. Then, like Simon Peter in a moment of weakness, they turned their back on lawful gun owners who had nothing to do with the horror that recently took place.

Then there’s the Dick’s Sporting Goods chain. Like the quintessential wishy-washy Charlie Brown, Dick’s by policy does not sell handguns in its stores, though it sells shotguns and rifles. A few years ago, the only Stoner-based rifles Dick’s would stock were green-camouflaged versions in the forms of the R-15 and R-25 from Remington.  Apparently black was bad and green was good.

Recently, though, Dick’s daringly opened their shelves to semi-automatic rifles from the likes of S&W and Ruger. But after Sandy Hook, they quickly turned tail and announced that they were suspending sales of semi-automatic rifles in their stores.

Betrayed from Within

It’s not terribly shocking that Hollywood elitists would run scared from the gun world after exploiting it. Nor is it a stunner that corporate executives, who view firearms as mere products — no different than power drills or vacuum cleaners — would turn tail and run. However, the issue I find most disturbing is the “reasonable” advice being put out by those who are supposed to be on our side. Some, though certainly not all, in the outdoor/shooting sports media, yet again, in the wake of an atrocity committed by an obviously derange individual, recommend a sort of acquiescence.

One piece of advice from a “firearms rights” columnist recommended against displaying “guns” in photographs or video on social media posts or You-Tube. Are we to hide who we are and be ashamed? Others in the self-appointed “traditionalist” category recommend that “real sportsmen” (their words) need to distance themselves from the AR or black rifle camp. Some have gone so far as to suggest that we “must be prepared” to accept certain “reasonable” restrictions.

Throughout the outdoor sports media, via the Internet, television and on the radio, gun owners are being counseled to respect the opinions of the other side and to be respectful of those attempting to disarm and thereby enslave the citizens of this nation. Advice has been given that we should not use “inflammatory language” or “provoke” our enemies.  I’ll bet next week’s paycheck that I will be chastised for words I’ve written thus far in this piece.

It’s exactly that kind of “reasonable” thought process that has brought us to the state we are in. We’ve tried to be rational and reasonable when dealing with the mentally unbalanced forces allied against us. Yes, mentally unbalanced. How else do you describe humans who are completely governed by emotion and act contrary to facts and historical precedent? I won’t waste time quoting the hate-filled, vile rhetoric spouted during the last two weeks by the anti-gun zealots; you can find ample evidence of their imbalance online.

No Evidence to Support their Position

No nation on planet Earth has ever successfully disarmed its population and eliminated or even reduced violent crime. To the contrary, pure, raw data and facts demonstrate quite the opposite. Both Great Britain and Australia have effectively stripped away the privilege of owning firearms from their subjects. In both examples, all out gun bans and confiscation occurred after a madman had used a firearm to kill children.

Decades later, neither Great Britain nor Australia is “crime- or violence-free. To the contrary, criminals in major metropolitan areas have become emboldened and have no fear of the private subject or home owner. In Great Britain, violent home invasions have increased dramatically since the sweeping gun ban went into effect. But, this is all old news and completely immaterial to those ruled by emotion.

Far more sinister examples of civilian disarmament have played out and continue to play out in North Korea, China, Nazi Germany, and the Soviet Union. Of course, void of any historical perspective, today’s “ban all guns” crowd pay no heed to the mass genocide orchestrated against helpless populations.

In the end, those in favor of civilian disarmament — and make no mistake, that’s what it is — don’t hide behind or even acknowledge ‘gun control’ as a legitimate term. They fall into two categories; useful idiots living in a world void of reality and sinister elitists who wish to disarm their political opponents in order to secure absolute power. Hundreds and thousands of restrictive gun laws, statutes, and regulations have not been able to sterilize the nation and rid us of violence, crime or evil, and they never will.

Again, a quick review of our nation’s history will demonstrate that as restrictive gun laws have increased so has the level and frequency of mass murder-style violence.  Eighty years ago when American citizens were free to own any type of firearm they could afford, regardless of caliber, action, or ammunition capacity, the instances of mass murder, outside of organized crime, were practically unheard of.

Is it really any wonder that as we have shifted responsibility away from the individual human and onto inanimate objects, that human behavior becomes more and more brazen?  At this writing it’s been over three years since a Muslim jihadist killed 13 and wounded 29 soldiers at Ft. Hood.  The killer has yet to be tried, much less convicted.  What does that say about our willingness as a nation to stand up to evil behavior?

Wilt and Fade Away

Surely the trying times that we have experienced during the last four to five years are only magnifying and becoming more intense.  We now have no other recourse but to face the threats and assaults on the lawful citizen of this nation.  Recommendations against inflaming or provoking an internal enemy that calls out for our destruction are both naïve and childishly unrealistic.  That kind of thinking is akin to petting a rabid dog to keep it from biting you.  Unless you deal with the dog directly and forcefully, sooner or later you are going to get bitten.

I fear that Paine’s admonition about the summer soldier and sunshine patriot will ring all too true in the upcoming year.  Those who once claimed to be on our side will wilt and fade away as their mettle is put to the test.  For those entrenched in the camp personal responsibility and constitutionally affirmed liberty, we must be ever on guard not only for the enemy without, but for the enemy within.

Paul Markel © 2012

Paul Markel has been a firearms industry writer for twenty years and now hosts and produces “Student of the Gun” a show dedicated to education, experience, and enjoyment of firearms. 

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  1. Well said.

    And unless America’s gun owners want to see more of this kind of behavior, we need to make sure we don’t reward it with our wallets, our approval, or even our silence.

    Any “reasons” that can be used to ban one type of firearm, can be used to ban them all. You’re either a gun-rights supporter, or you’re not.

  2. The incident in Scotland Dunblane was as the records can easily show one serial child molester murdering recent and or prior victims & witnesses to his crimes, he then took his own life and his deeds to the grave. The reports on this incident are somewhat vague and the need for ‘happy endings’ in order to heal the psyche of the population are far from subliminal.

    I must stress, the man was not insane,yet a child molester most probably. It was the hysteria and ‘plan of action’ following the crimes that gave off that familiar antiseptic smell of hopsital wards, in effort of mental hygiene.

    This article is one fantastic read and absolute horror to behold. Hats off.

  3. Paul brings up many solid points and observations. It’s not hard to understand many of their motivations. My hope is that we retain in this country a sufficient critical mass of rational, hard-nosed patriots able to repel their foolish aspirations. Time will tell.

  4. Great article. You nailed it!! Now, if we, as pro gunners, attempt to NOT fall in the “trap” the gun grabbers are busily constructing.

    Avoid the over the top, emotion and stupid ranting. Leave that to Bloomberg. Those that are on the fence are listening. THAT is the group we must convince. Common sense, use the facts (like this article).

    I would like someone to pay to have the video of Suzanna Hupp aired on TV every day. The one where she is in front of a Senate committee, discussing how her parents were killed in the Luby’s In Killeen, Texas.

    • JPD, we cannot convince the ones on the fence. The gungrabbers control the media, and the media controls the message. When the Big Lie is repeated time and time and time again, the fence-sitters will be persuaded.

      “[I]t is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.

      “Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”
      Hermann Goering

      That’s exactly what’s going on today. The message is that the country is being attacked by gun owners and the NRA. Politicians who don’t want to grab guns are the pacificists who are being attacked for doing nothing when we must do something. The media is the tool by which the people are brought to the bidding of their masters.

      History repeats more than last night’s radishes.

  5. We lost the election last month, we will soon lose Constitutionaly itemized Rights.
    Once one right has been abridged, ALL other rights follow and the nation will be plunged into a Stalinistic Dark Age in VERY short order

  6. Right-on DJ! Remember, if you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything. This is going to be a huge debate in our country, lead by the statesman Joe Biden (excuse me while I regurgitate). It is time for all 2A proponents to stand up and voice their opinion. The right to defend our personal liberty dates back to the founding of our country. It’s what we were founded on for Gods sake. Want to end up defenseless like the British, then just sit in your armchair and say nothing…

    • That first sentence is great. Will have to remember that for later.

      One place to voice your opinions is to check out change. org. They allow you to sign the petitions sent to POTUS, Senators, Representatives etc.

      Handy to see the ones being set up by the gun grabbers too!!

  7. We need to make it simple for our fellow 2A supporters and friends of the AR platform. A list of all the senators who we can expect to support 2A, and their contact information. A grass roots effort and people willing to donate time to campaigns will show we can turn out votes in 2014; and that we will. Perhaps a tab of approved senators and stores here on TTAG? We also need to make sure we drive sales away from fair weather businesses. Perhaps work with the NRA to develop a logo/decal that can be posted on online gun/ammo retailers that we consider 2A friendly. It’s time to do something more tangible and real, with objectives and goals.

    I also think, we shouldn’t shy away from discussing current gun laws, and discussing ways to improve responsible gun ownership in this country. Ideally through education; but we shouldn’t shy away from at least talking about new laws as well. Far too many gun owners demonstrate poor decision making and safety practices at the range and in the public eye.

    • we shouldn’t shy away from at least talking about new laws as well

      Coyote Gray, I must respectfully disagree. There are so many gun laws on the books now that nobody knows them all or can know them all. I’m an experienced lawyer and I don’t. I can’t. The scheme is more complex than the Internal Revenue Code.

      Please, no more gun laws until a whole bunch of old ones are repealed, okay? Besides, new gun laws will be confiscatory, not salutary.

      • Perhaps then, we can stress funding for any relevant laws on the books now? Perhaps greater funding that would benefit our position and placate? 7 months to wait for my Class III is unacceptable.

        I think it would also be interesting to learn about any laws on the books now, that are underfunded and subsequently poorly enforced; Laws that can make a difference. This seems to be an argument made by the NRA.

    • I completely agree with Coyote. We also need a list of true gun rights/2A groups such as NAGR, Firearms Policy Coalition, SAF, or the like, and wether or not they deserve funding (like the article written about the Wounded Warrior Project).

  8. The Bill of Rights, does not grant the freedoms expressed within it’s writing. It merely recognizes that those rights are basic human rights, the only true entitlements, that the government should not have the power to take away. Only thug governments infringe on their peoples civil liberties. The government is there to insure these rights are available to everyone under it’s domain. Any gun control law, including the existing ones, constitute infringement of that right, the same as the voting laws that were long ago struck down. There is a much deeper reason for this gun grab. You may speculate at will.

    • **TOP SECRET**
      Obviously they desire the republic to improvise and build a better main battle rifle through research and development replete with NDA clauses.

      Yet seriously, Government will attack for the heart rather than the limb when it comes down to this 2A issue. Munition power sources are the key to retarding/protecting the civilian defensive sector. They cant make it a crime to trap O2 in a confined space, yet…

      Whatsan Ozone Layer anyway?

  9. I noticed today that Cheaper Than Dirt now has a flag that says they don’t sell guns next to the description of whatever gun you just looked up.

    Maybe I’m behind the curve, but didn’t they say a week or so ago they were just reviewing something or other and would resume gun sales soon?

  10. I signed up for a five year NRA membership last night. I disagree with pretty much everything the candidates the NRA generally helps to elect, but I want to keep my gun rights and the Democrats forced me to choose. Ultimately, without the Constitution, the US is nothing, so I’ve made my choice.

    • I am an independent, who has voted for both Republicans and Democrats in the past. Honestly, I get the impression that more then a few gun owners would have been at least susceptible to listening to what ever nonsense anti-2A proponents would have suggested in the aftermath of Sandyhook.

      But after being villainized nonstop in the media for weeks, I think the anti-gun movement has created a backlash and coalesced ALL gun owners across the board. It forced us to have closed off discussions amongst ourselves, and as indicated by a dramatic increase in gun sales and NRA memberships, forced us to double down on our positions.

      Like you, I NEVER approved of the NRA’s position on many matters and the reps they backed. Now, I am an NRA member and looking to support ANY rep they recommend: no questions asked.

  11. Damn straight. I have been fighting the anti-freedom forces of “reasonable gun control” since 1968, and their only idea of “reasonable” is to ban just a few more types of guns each year. You CANNOT compromise with people who want to take away your basic human right of self-defense. ANY compromise only means you will fight the next battle from a worse position, because you have already surrender strategic high ground – you have admitted that your 2nd Amendment rights are negotiable. No compromise, no surrender.

  12. Paul Markel, yours is a well stated article that comprehensively frames my views of the current litany of horse soot that is being compiled by all those chiming in (or tucking tail) on the gun ownership discussion and our 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution rights. Can there be restrictions? Yes, but not oppressive disabling restrictions any more so than there are to the 1st Amendment rights we hold so dear.

    I hope the Media is listening…because they are next!

  13. Lets see, everything is going good politically for us, what to do, what to do. I know, lets fracture our party down the middle, mobilize the right like never before, yeah that sounds good + that will pay big dividends come the mid terms. Brilliant!, I wished I would have thought of that, Randy

  14. “In Great Britain, violent home invasions have increased dramatically since the sweeping gun ban went into effect”

    That little gem could be taken straight out of “How to lie with statistics”, and is just the kind of weasel worded tripe I expect from somebody who doesn’t want to deal with the facts, because the facts do not agree with his position. Just straight off the bat the UK population has increased around 15% since the ban, so automatically you would expect a 15% increase in home invasions, all else being equal. Add in to that the dramatic rise in both illegal and undesirable legal migrants to the country in that period and you have REAL reasons for the increase in home invasions.

    Correlation != Causation

    Anybody with even a GED level education should know that – so why don’t you?

    The rest of your post was about as laughable to be honest, although I really choked when I read this:

    “We’ve tried to be rational and reasonable when dealing with the mentally unbalanced forces allied against us”

    LOL – are you serious? Your idea of being rational and reasonable in the face of ANY attempt to alter gun laws is to stamp your feet like a spoiled child and refuse to make ANY concessions. Just look at how you cannot even bring yourself to accept something so small as a hi-cap mag ban – and yet you talk about how hard you try to be reasonable? I guess we can add “delusional” to your list of qualities too, along with your preponderance to lie with statistics.

    Given the name of this blog I expect much better than this tripe – there wasn’t a shred of “truth” in this entire post.

    • Hmmmmmmm,

      Your arguments do not help the gun grabbers … especially your comment that, “Correlation != Causation”. That alone sinks most gun grabbers’ arguments.

      I’ll keep it simple for you. No one (whether an individual, group, or government) has legitimate authority to interfere with the rights of other citizens. One of my rights includes making, trading, or purchasing mechanical contraptions of my choosing such as Swiss watches, whistles, or firearms. It is no more legitimate for government to tell me I cannot have a 13 round magazine for a handgun or rifle than it is for government to tell me I cannot have a second hand on a Swiss watch or a cork ball in a whistle.

    • “Just look at how you cannot even bring yourself to accept something so small as a hi-cap mag ban”

      Well… considering the ability to operate automobiles on public roads isn’t even a right protected by the bill of rights I’m sure you wouldn’t be against accepting something so simple as mechanical speed governors being required on all automobiles. Or how about a “reasonable” restriction on all vehicle performance enhancing aftermarket parts? I mean we all know no one needs to exceed the speed limit.

      See how that works? Why should I or anyone else be able to dictate what type of car you can own even though it’s a device involved in far more deaths annually?

    • Your such a hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm job. Incremental gun grabbing doesn’t sit well with those who have any sense of awareness, GED or not. And why are you equating GED with low intellect? I know high school drop outs far smarter than most with equal gifts of common sense. At lest they understand infringement when they see it.

  15. Today at a gun show I saw STANDARD cap pistol mags for $50, 30+ round giggle sticks for $100, and a POLY ar lower for $600! Across the floor, I grabbed 2 AK mags for $25 each, a 32 round cz75 mag and a 20 round hi power mag for $25 each. I made sure to thank the vendors I patronized for keeping it reasonable. The suppliers are nailing some retailers, and it is natural to see that in the prices, but the opportunists are using the joys of the free market. They just aren’t getting MY money!

  16. In the end, the second amendment is for ‘the enemy within’ (as in a future corrupt ‘Big Gov’). The semiauto rifle is the backbone of any future asymetrical resistance against authoritarionism. When you hear anybody talk about not wanting to remove the citizens ability to hunt or engage in target sports, you are listening to an enemy of freedom and/or a fool. We ARE the militia. Protecting oneself, family, country from enemies without and within (and all the other amendments) is the reason for 2A’s existence.


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