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Reader Roy H. writes:

America may soon make one of its greatest heroes a sitting duck for Al-Qaeda with no way to defend himself. In a terrible twist of the unintended consequences of “reasonable” gun laws, the man who shot and killed Osama Bin Laden in a heroic raid has come forward to reveal himself and subsequently may have broken a law that will prevent him from ever owning a gun again. A Navy spokesman has said that if Rob O’Neill, the alleged hero and shooter, comes forward with information on the raid that he can be charged criminally. Any such charges are likely to be a felony offense that, if convicted of, would bar O’Neill from ever owning a gun again . . .

So here we have a hero who shot Osama bin Laden coming forward, is now most likely Al Qaeda’s most wanted man, and his government is contemplating actions that would make him defenseless for the rest of his life. Great.

Felons were automatically blocked from legally owning firearms when congress passed the Gun Control Act of 1968. It was a bipartisan bill that passed overwhelmingly in both the House and the Senate, getting 71% ‘yea’ votes in each chamber. Oddly enough, many more Democrats voted ‘nay’ than Republicans. Congress’s obvious intent was to craft a law that would keep firearms away from people who were a threat to society and whose actions had proven that there was a heightened chance that these people would use firearms in the commission of violent crimes in the future.

Since the passage of the GCA, possibly millions of good-natured (albeit errant) Americans have needlessly been caught up in this forced disarmament due to an overly broad categorization that doesn’t actually differentiate between someone who is likely to commit violence and somebody who is not. Although the felon label carries a connotation of violence and murderous intent, many felons don’t have a mean bone in their body. The term simply means somebody who committed an offense punishable by 1 year or more in prison. It doesn’t automatically mean they are a heartless class of human beings whose lives no longer deserve to be defended with a firearm.

In the case of most violent crimes, we prescribe long jail sentences in an effort to keep them off the streets so they can’t hurt anyone any more. Hopefully in the years they’re in jail they reform themselves and they come back into society willing to live by the rules and not hurt people anymore.

But in the case of many non-violent crimes, the only reason we lock people up for more than one year is to deter others from committing the same crime. We don’t lock a white collar criminal up for a year or more because they’re likely to hurt or kill somebody. That’s just not the case. I challenge anyone to find a link between tax evasion and the propensity to shoot someone. In Texas, you can be a felon for collecting clams outside of the proper season.

Besides Rob O’Neill, there are other recent and highly notable people who have faced losing their gun rights including Dinesh D’Souza and Rick Perry. D’Souza pled guilty to making $20,000 in political contributions using straw donors. How is public safety enhanced by taking away his gun rights for the rest of his life? Rick Perry was indicted for using his veto power to force the resignation of an official who embarrassed her department with a wild and very public DUI arrest. How is public safety enhanced by taking away his gun rights for the rest of his life?

Surely when Congress passed the GCA of 1968, they didn’t mean to arbitrarily restrict the rights of Americans who weren’t an actual risk to others. Actually, we have proof that it wasn’t the intent. The GCA gave authority to the Attorney General to restore gun rights to people who don’t present a threat to public safety. The Attorney General’s office delegated the responsibility of reviewing applications to restore gun rights to the ATF. In this way, the GCA, as a measure of simplicity, barred felons from owning guns, but allowed for a just process by which the the Rob O’Neills, Dinesh D’Souzas, and Texas clam diggers of the world could get relief and have their firearm rights restored.

The problem is that in early 1992, Congress attached stipulations to the ATF’s funding that disallowed the ATF from spending any money reviewing these requests. This is one of the greatest injustices to gun rights we have in America. Now that pro-gun politicians control both the houses of Congress, we have an obligation as 2nd Ammendment supporters to voice our concerns to Congress to restore the ATF’s funding to review civil rights restoration applications. Please contact your representatives in Congress. As NRA members, please push it and other gun rights organizations pressure Congress to release the stipulations keeping the ATF from reviewing civil rights restoration applications. This great injustice to our gun rights can be reversed the next time congress passes a budget or a continuing resolution for spending.

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  1. Even if he had his rights taken….he’s still a former SEAL. I’d like to think he’d have something that goes bang off the books.

  2. “Surely when Congress passed the GCA of 1968, they didn’t mean to arbitrarily restrict the rights of Americans who weren’t an actual risk to others.”

    Bwahahahahahaha!!! If you believe that, I have a bridge that I want to sell to you.

    • Also some inland ocean-front property and a huge expanse of premium farmland in the Sahara. And if you buy in the next 30 minutes, we’ll throw in the Eiffel Tower at no extra charge!

  3. I’m sure he can handle himself, and I’m sure he has unregistered guns or could acquire/make illegal ones if he lost his rights.

    That said, if he’d followed the law regarding classified information (name keeping his damn mouth shut), he wouldn’t be in this predicament.

    • I’ve been completely unable to muster any sympathy for this guy. A significant part of his job is keeping secrets, he didn’t. I would tell that to his face, too. He might very well stomp in mud hole in my ****, but I’d still say it.

        • This…. Look, I personally feel betrayed after working with these guys closely for several years, and the majority of them are some of the funniest, friendly most honorable men I’ve ever met. This guys just wants a payday, and everything that follows he ‘richly’ deserves.

          There is an old adage in the Navy: “Loose lips sink ships”.. it is absolutely imperative that if you’re told not to talk about something, you don’t… if for no other reason, than the trust of the guy next to you…

    • And if everyone followed every numbskull law cooked up by every numbsull tyrant, there would be no felons. And there would be no freedom of anything. Like speaking about whatever one darned well pleases, without regard to the wishes of practitioners of jackboot fashion.

  4. Bin Laden is dead thanks to this dude or someone like him, the mission is over. We have more important enemies and problems now. This guy didn’t reveal anything secret OR of consequence to national security. He’s just a shooter. Let him be. Though, I think even non-violent felons should have their 2nd amendment rights restored.

    • Yeah Danny. Former drug dealer, liar and enemy of America Barry Soetoro is a felon. We all are. Google 3 felonies a day…

  5. Life’s rough and maybe you die. Unseemly is a word seldom used nowadays. Keep your mouth shut. I do agree losing your rights over a non-violent “felony” is BS. But everyone needs his 15minutes of fame(and $)…

  6. I don’t think this is a fight worth fighting. At least felons lost their right to own a gun after due process, making their disarmament superficially constitutional (as opposed to blanket bans for all citizens). Furthermore, any politician advocating for this needs to fear the inevitable TV ad: “Congressman Joe thinks murderers, drug dealers and wife beaters have a right to own a gun..” or “gun nuts who read TTAG think pedophiles should have guns…”

    Having said that, I personally believe that if you can’t be trusted with a gun, then you can’t be trusted walking around unsupervised. Therefore, if you aren’t in jail/prison then it shouldn’t matter what inanimate objects you own as long as you didn’t steal it or use it to harm someone.

    • My opinion is that is exactly the fight that is worth fighting. The whole concept of background checks relays on the fact that are “prohibited” persons among free men. Take that away and there is no need for universal background check. and as such no reason for registration.
      The “prohibited” person thing is a trap that many of us fall into, lazy to think beyond what is the immediate consequence.

      • It is shockingly easy to become a “prohibited person”. It will probably be even easier in the future. It seems reasonable that a person “adjudicated mentally defective” should not have firearms. But what does “committed to any mental institution” mean? Does it include involuntary outpatient commitment? If a court orders that a party in a confrontational divorce, say one who has been accused of pedophilia, child abuse, and even murder, see a mental health professional; does that constitute “commitment” and cast that person into the category of prohibited person. I wonder, because this happened to me. I had removed my firearms to a relatives house in a different city in case the sheriff came knocking. Fortunately, all this is behind me now, but I don’t see how I could have prevented it in a rabidly antigun state like California or New York.

        I am of the opinion that any adult who cannot have a firearm cannot be in society without a minder.

        • @Roymond Unfortunately too many people in power don’t trust anyone with a gun, unless its a paid servant protecting them.

  7. The criminal prosecution of Mr. O’Neill is a disgrace. Especially considering the endless prosecuterial discretion being perpetrated at the highest levels of law enforcement today. From what I have heard through the media is that Mr. O’Neill is wearing a scarlet letter among his peers and command which is punishment enough.

    The fact that Obama conducted a press conference all but but claiming that he personally pulled the trigger on Bin Laden mere hours after the raid was conducted is the real criminal act. Anyone remember that press conference? Obama personally instructed the CIA to find bin laden, helped them in analyzing the data, and “directed” the raid. He wrapped up by over emphasizing the point that the United States is not at war with Islam. It was infuriating to me and I can only imagine how infuriated the guys that were on the raid were.

    O’Neill shouldn’t have to worry about defending himself or buying a drink for the rest of his life.

    • Agree. The blanket felony rule only passed because the Summer of Love met with The Cities are Burning, causing over reaction to crime on one hand joined to utopian dreamy “we’re not felons!” suburbanite thinking on the other, The 68 Act and the 92 defunding both need to be changed.

  8. The guy, along with the rest of that SEAL Team, are all heroes…and don’t deserve charges… I wonder if the reason some are talking is fear they’ll be killed by “accident” like the others were… You just know the Obama Regime had SOMETHING to do with that helicopter going down.

  9. That said, he should have damn well known better, so it’s hard to get as upset over this as over the wholesale disarmament of millions of Americans as they walk out their doors who have never been convicted.

  10. Um if he looses his rights because he did his job, I will, well, not say here because, well others may see it. Beside what law did O’Neill break?

    • Part of his job was to keep his mouth shut about the missions he went on. That’s something he didn’t do, and that’s what’s going to get him into trouble.

      But you can’t get a book or movie deal by remaining quiet, so what’s a guy to do?

  11. The whole bin Laden death story is so full of holes it boggles the imagination. We’ll never get the straight scoop; the actual guy was probably dead as a doornail many years ago. We’ll also never find out what exactly happened to the helo crash that killed a bunch of Seal team members not long after the alleged killing. And Seals, like other special operators, are coming to realize that they’re worth about as much as the rest of us after we’ve turned in our rifles and come home: less than whale shit. Some of us were on classified ops in SEA back in the day but there’s no point bringing them up or rushing off to the media with our little stories ’cause no one gives a shit. But our modern warriors see a chance to make a buck, off a book, a movie, whatever, and I don’t begrudge them that, so long as it doesn’t genuinely endanger other people, active duty or not.

    This guy signed up, knew the drill, and was aware of the potential consequences if he opened his yap about it. If the Navy goes ahead with anything against him, he will have reaped the whirlwind, but as others have already said, I’m pretty sure he can take care of himself, to a point. While remembering that ANY of us can be taken out like yesterday’s rubbish by a guy with a rifle hiding in the bushes. No matter how many tac drills we run inside our house, no matter the house has steel doors and deadbolts, no matter we’re slicker than snot on a doorknob; we can be taken out and zero recourse unless we stay holed up and somebody delivers food. So if some Taliban or A-Q operator wants to take the dude out, it can be done.

    • You sir have a head on your shoulders…thank you for using it!

      This is all PR/Propaganda BS and its not hard to spot.

  12. Please stop falling for this “Bread and Circus” news BS. This guy’s story is contradicted so many times over it hurts my head. Not to mention this is the exact opposite of the way the Spec Ops Community conducts themselves by claiming “X” or “Y” on National TV no Less. I would know as I have many family members that were/are Green Berets and several that were/are Army Rangers and it’s almost like pulling teeth to hear any war story at all.

    Anyway, no one can lose their Gun Rights…you just willingly allow the State to take them from you.

    Molon Labe or roll over and play dead?

  13. The G can’t prosecute this guy. Who’s going to convict him of a felony? A jury would probably give him a medal. And his prosecutor would be more hated than Angela Corey.

    I’m not saying that O’Neill is a super-hero, or even the shooter. The thing is, if he is prosecuted, then G is thereby admitting that what O’Neill told the media is true, and the G being the G, it will never do that.

  14. News flash, it isnt just “liberals” and “democrats” who want your guns. You’ll find out just how “pro gun” both houses of congress are the next time there’s a mass shooting. The boys with the red labels next to their names have no interest in you, commoner.

    • Really? ‘Cause I’m pretty sure that the last time there was a mass shooting — Newtown — all the Republicans except four voted against any new gun control, and all the Dems except four voted for them.

      But there’s no difference between the parties? Yeah, right.

      • The reds were afraid to vote for it, don’t confuse that with not wanting to vote for it or even thinking they should vote for it.

        • Fear, that’s it in a nutshell. The majority of Republican politicians have no particular love for the Second Amendment, they just know that their constituents will kick their asses if they cross it. There are a few who truly are liberty-minded and “get it”, but most are just as much big-government statist shitheads as their Democrat counterparts.

          Here’s a quick, but not necessarily conclusive, test: if your Republican politician has ever been seen holding a gun other than a double-barrel shotgun, he might be a true 2A believer. If the only time he’s ever been seen near a gun was one of those pathetic, awkward, straight-from-the-package-camo-and-blaze-orange Elmer Fudd photo ops, he probably only cares about your gun rights just enough to get you to vote for him.

        • Exactly…and for the same reason this brave SEAL felt compelled to tell tales in public knowing he was sworn not to…follow the MONEY. Politicians vote where/how their money sources compell them to. It’s the Ameican way.

  15. How could he have shot and killed bin Laden? I thought Barry himself flew the chopper, busted the door down, took out 3 bodyguards, then finished off bin Laden himself, or so he wanted everyone to believe with all the credit he claimed. You don’t embarrass the emperor, that’s why O’Neill has to be charged.

    Where are my sarcasm pills?

  16. The entire premise of this article is nonsense because Bin Laden died of natural causes. The incident in Pakistan was staged by the Obama administration in collusion with DOD.

    My father ferried SEALs about during the Vietnam conflict as a component of MACVSOG. He had an extremely low opinion of the SEALs he worked with. They were constantly drunk and took pot shots at civilians from the boat for fun on more than once occasion, enraging the crew who took great care to win the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese people. My father claimed one of them shot an old man while he defecated on the river bank. It was despicable behavior no matter how you slice it and my father had no reason to lie to me about it.

    He really, truly hated the individual SEALs he had to work with and was not afraid to speak openly about it. I don’t think SEAL culture has changed all that much if it is still associated with the likes of Jesse Ventura and Dan Bilzerian, who are both certified scumbags. I’m not going to say all SEALs are like this but the group has an undeniable reputation. I respect men and women who serve their country, but not glory boys and boisterous hot shots. I also hate liars.

    If you believe a SEAL shot Bin Laden I think you need to do a little soul searching and research what happened in Pakistan that night. Your government lies to you and it always has, but the lies have become much uglier lately under President Obama. Continue to accept them at your own risk.

    • At first I wasn’t going to believe anything you said, but when you mentioned that your father drove SEALS around in boats in Vietnam, I had to accept what you said as the complete unvarnished truth. Thank you for your father’s service.

    • Interestingly, this is exactly what Jessie V is saying these days…that the government lies to us daily. Maybe he really is not that bad a guy.

  17. If one who has control of their faculties cannot be trusted with a firearm, then they should be incarcerated or executed. Since this man deserves neither, he can be trusted with a firearm. He should not lose his rights. NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO TAKE HIS AWAY FOR WHAT HE’S BEING ACCUSED OF.

  18. O’Neill hasn’t revealed anything that was still secret. Indeed, I think Panetta’s revelation of the aviation transponder spoofing is the most offensive leak I’ve come across. O’Neill? We figured out that somebody landed, made his way into the compound, up the stairs, and shot the guy. No secrets there.

    I have to laugh. I wouldn’t be surprised if the entire O’Neill publicity tour isn’t just a black op by the Navy to put a face on DEVGRU heroics, essentially a recruiting tool and budget booster.

  19. The only people who should any of their rights restricted or revoked are those who are necessarily isolated away from society. Upon release, if ever, they should have their rights restored.

    All of them.


    That is all.

  20. What in the world is going on in that picture? It looks like a kick ass military beach party. That guy behind and to the left looks like he’s doing The Robot, aka popping and locking.

  21. In order to prosecute, the government would need to admit to things that they officially deny. There won’t be any witnesses who can substantiate his claim. No case here.

  22. “Hopefully in the years they’re in jail they reform themselves and they come back into society willing to live by the rules and not hurt people anymore.”

    That right there is some funny shit. Are you a professional comedian, or just naturally hilarious?

    • Actually, most criminals that survive the stupid testosterone years,; (early teens to thirties) actually do give up the criminal life and go straight.

      This is why a life time of enslavement by forced disarmament is an abomination.

      As it is, if the ex-con is kicked out into the world with out the right to KABA, then we as a society are treating the man with greater savagery than any criminal might do to his prey.

  23. typical for the liberal lawmakers in this country that hate and loath FREEDOM and LIBERTY and the US ARMED FORCES…may they all share the same fate as osama ,as well as any enemy of this countries CONSTITUTION………..mho

  24. If he broke his oath I hope he gets charged. The first rule of fight club is you don’t talk about fight club.

    And since when does doing something positive one day absolve you of a crime you commit tomorrow?

    Why can’t people just STFU, do their jobs and serve in silence like they’re supposed too.

  25. Sorry. He signed a nondisclosure agreement. Violating it is a felony. The whole point is that if you violate it, your life will suck. So, don’t talk. Pretty simple. Should you lose your rights? Well, if they did not take something of value as punishment, too many people would talk.

    Frankly, killing UBL was a team effort not a one man job anyway.

    Chances are pretty good he wont reveal classified info, so its a moot point. But if he did and put other lives at risk, I’d say hell yeah punish him to the fullest extent of the law.

  26. Sorry y’all but “NON DISCLOSURE” forms are a way of life He know it when he Volunteered to Join the Navy then again when he Volunteered to join the SEALS and if he re-upped during his tour’s again. They hold the briefings and make to following statements for record “TOP SECRETE/NOFORN/SENSITIVE MATTERS OR SOURCES” for a reason NOT to cramp your book deal or cut into your future earnings possibilities! Lives are at stake other that your own. What where your first thoughts when the Wiki leaks guy started spilling the beans or when Bergdal was traded for. I was in the service and by no stretch of the imagination involved in situations such as the SEALS are. But this is NOT the time for a item like this to surface (hence Time limits on some missions release of information rules) Just because some Washington suit’s yapped about who did what where when does not release the players.
    He wants to put his brothers and sisters at risk, do it then he pays the price so sorry he still has his hand to hand and knife skills but just because he wants to shoot off his mouth through a pen (and that has been don way to much during this administration) He as well as the others that talked about reveled provided information even as simple as SEAL TEAM (redacted) should have been brought up on federal charges and just because some bad suits get away with it (like the Justice Department was going to pursue that case) DOES NOT give him or any others military/civilian involved in any mission with those sorts of classifications free reign.
    sorry may not be a popular response why should he pay when others did not. Sorry that reasoning changes nothing YOU sign the paper you hear the briefings you shut your mouth (as long as it is a legal order and authorized mission).
    Dang when someone dropped the name of a pseudo operative they screamed the heavens were falling, but this administration blabs about OUR military forces no matter what kind ON THE CANAPES AND SCOTCH CIRCUIT LIKE THEY CAN’T WAIT TO SHOW HOW RAMBO THEY ARE AND NO ONE SAYS A THING NOBODIES PANTIES GOT IN A WAD AND THE SO CALLED NEWS is front and center headlines the only thing missing was a photo op.
    Well sorry brother you yap you get charged I feel no remorse for your loss you bring it upon yourself in full knowledge of what can happen.
    Thank you for your service! But keep you trap shut and pen/word possessor off paper and out of the headlines.
    Yours in service
    James Acerra

  27. Being stripped of the right to bear arms should not prevent anyone from using arms to protect himself or family from attack by criminal elements. When the choice is death or a trial by jury, its obvious what the choice would be.

  28. The guy in my book is an American hero and should of course not have his 2nd amendment rights taken away, but I dont agree with what he did when he came out. They took an oath of secret and should have kept it that way.

  29. If Obama can unilaterally decide not to deport illegal aliens, then surely he can decide not to prosecute this guy.

  30. Reading the posts above it sound like Mr. Acerra has, or had, a security clearance of one form or another.

    Most of the other posts … not so much.

    Security clearances are like silencers. It really doesn’t work like it does on TV or in the movies.

    A bit of trivia, folks .. Did you know that if you know a bit of information is classified you cannot confirm nor deny it even if you see it on the 6 o’clock news? Someone else talking about it in public does not release you to do so. Only declassification of the info does that.

  31. I have not read too much from the Navy Seals books and magazine articles that I thought was that super top secret for USA security. Snowden probably has stuff much more interesting to the enemy.

  32. Set aside the substance of the law for a moment. The facts are that he volunteered, twice, to be subjected to it, worked his ever loving butt off to be subjected to it, and risked his life, repeatedly, to be subjected to it.

    It strikes me as intellectually dishonest to characterize as a “twist” in the law what he apparently willfully and knowingly violated and what he went through all of that to be subjected to.

    That said, “felony creep” is a real issue and should be addressed by Congress, but this guy is probably not the best poster boy for that effort.

  33. Funny the dunce in chief had no problem spilling all the beans about what was found and what could be used hell why not call the enemy and send photos…….how many books were written by people that were on the mission….there was a movie authorized by the Navy and the dunce in chief… why all of a sudden is this guy getting picked on???? Kind of makes you wonder.
    This act will make people think twice about serving in these units…….oh ya….how is the doctor who gave the United States the location of Bin Ladin…..oh ya he is still in jail in Pakistan……more great work from the dunce in chief.

  34. So this is the guy who killed Osama Bin Laden. If I meet this man, I shall buy him a drink, or more, or a dozen. Well done on putting that evil monster in the ground. Slava Allahu!

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