It's not about guns...

It's about citizenship


The Potowmack Institute
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eBOOK Politics, Rights, Guns: the Great Political Dysfunction (August, 2012) is available.
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It is also available in PDF.
http://www.potowmack.org/eBOOK2.pdf


The Potowmack Institute's homepage from August, 2010 to August, 2012 is at
http://www.potowmack.org/index3.html.
The previous homepage from May, 2008 to August, 2010 is at
http://www.potowmack.org/index2.html.
The homepage prior to May, 2008 is at
http://www.potowmack.org/gunviol.html
Much more information is on those pages.


Assaulting Jim Zumbo

The NRA on Extremists

NRA scams its members

The Lionel Show
AirAm Radio's ignorant, crude,
ugly, air waves barbarian
Dear John Ashcroft
The armed populace doctrine
at the DOJ
The Washington Post
cultivating ignorance.
"Sixty Minutes"
Failing its Mission
NPR's Diane Rehm
Civilized without Substance.
A longstanding dereliction.
Violence Policy Center
The public health agenda
falls in line with the NRA.
Militia Act of 1792
To enroll— conscript, register
That is, a coerced civic obligation.
Return of Militia
Inventory of private weapons
in the early Republic reported
to the President of the US
History
John Kenneth Rowland
Lawrence Cress
John K. Mahon
Others
Obama's challenge
Going around the NRA leadership
Senate Judiciary Com.
Jan. 30, 2013 hearings Congress fails again.
Pseudohistory
LaPierre's list

The Quotes, the Quotes
Fabricating the armed populace doctrine
Libertarians, Conservatives

Tenn. Law Rev., 1995

What does the NRA want?

August 10, 2014

The gun rights militants, led by the NRA, can have all the guns they want, but not for the purposes proclaimed, ...but not for the purposed claimed.
The greatest danger is a government does not understand what it means to be a government. The "children of [anarchic] darkness" have little to worry about.

On June 30 and July 1, 2014, Foxnews Megan Kelly conducted interviews of the presumed "terrorists" William Ayres:
"Exclusive: Megyn Kelly goes one-on-one with Bill Ayers"
http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/the-kelly-file/transcript/2014/07/01/exclusive-megyn-kelly-goes-one-one-bill-ayers
http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/the-kelly-file/transcript/2014/07/02/exclusive-bill-ayers-life-after-weather-underground
Bill Ayers did not have the political savvy to explain that he was just acting out the National Rifle Association's "armed citizen guerrilla" childish political fantasy. The difference is that Ayres did not claim a civil right. The NRA claims a civil right, but it is a civil right we have as long as we do not exercise it. Ayres exercise it and that was unacceptable.

On August 4, 2014, MSNBC's Ed Schultz devoted the first segment of his program to the sovereign citizen movement.
http://www.nbcnews.com/id/55801179/ns/msnbc-the_ed_show/#.U-ShIqPd9ws
He is very late. The subject matter has been in front of Ed Schultz and other former hosts at Air America Radio for years.
http://www.potowmack.org/05airam.html

Schlutz might begin by explaining that "sovereign citizen" is a contradition in terms. States are sovereign. Citizens are bound by law.
The condescension is only exceeded by the failed political consciousness. Well, maybe better late than never.
The real question is, Will Ed Schultz make any progress that creates the political activism that defends law and government against anarchy? Will he find an audience and energize a constituency. The stakes are very high. The time is very late. There is nothing unusual about the failed performance.

On June 11, 2014, President Obama said that his greatest frustration has been the failure to make effective firearms policy. Obama's frustration, disappointment, and failure have been his own failure to turn a popular majority sentiment into a legislative enactment. Instead of pandering to a malignant constituency by proclaiming meaningless support for Second Amendment rights, he will succeed when he conducts a national civics lesson that changes the context for making firearms policy away from "gun safety" to civic obligation. The Obama/Biden Administration has been well-informed.

Just as the gun rights militants led by the NRA keep the commercial interests under control,
http://www.actionamerica.org/guns/swbetray.html,
the Obama/Biden Administration keeps the gun controllers under control,
http://www.politico.com/story/2013/03/how-white-house-quieted-gun-control-groups-88546.html
The gun controllers' trigger lock agenda has been embraced by the Obama Administration as "gun safety". We can talk about "gun safety", but we cannot talk about the contours of citizenship under constitutional government. The contours of citizenship begin with what James Madison was really describing in Federalist Paper No. 46 and end with what Judge Silberman concluded in Parker. All that is left is public knowledge and political leadership.

The Obama/Biden Administration does not need to worry. There is no political leadership anywhere else. When Senators Leahy and Durbin put advocates of anarchy, insurrention and treason before their committees (See continuation of this page at indexA.html for more on "Patron[s] of Anarchy", David Kopel and Wayne LaPierre.)
and do not ask them to explain themselves, the dereliction and cowardice becomes part of the political culture.

The greatest danger is a government that does not understand what it means to be a government.

Retired Supreme Court justice John Paul Stevens has advocated in a recent book and in the Washington Post that words should be added to the Second Amendment to define the right of the people in terms of militia duty. That would require a constitutional amendment. There will be no constitutional amendment.

Justice Stevens should know better— he surely does know better. Justice Stevens can use his prestige and authority to change the context and turn the subject of firearms policy around to constructive policy making based on the civic obligation he has asserted. He has been well-informed. He has not responded. He can bring clarity of mind and purpose to the most vital issues of political life or he can discredit himself after a long distinguised career. If we have a future, history will judge severely. Others can bring the burden of responsibility to his attention:

The NRA member guide states that what gun owners share is a "belief" in a right. Civil rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights are not articles of faith. They are defined in law and constitutional doctrine as decided by the courts and enforce by court orders— that is, by guys with guns.

The NRA does not want gun rights cases in court it does not control. It worked hard to control and sabotage the true believing Cato lawyers pursuit of Parker during 2003.
http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/battle-ban
The NRA is afraid it will win and the fund raising scam it puts over on its members will go bust, “The NRA's Main Target? Its Members' Checkbooks,” Richard Feldman, Wash. Post, December 16, 2007. It is afraid it will lose and its constitutional charade, unchallenged by anyone, will be exposed. It did, however, lose big time in Parker, but there is no public knowledge or political leadership to exploit the loss.

If Justice Stevens, Senators Leahy and Durbin, the "rabidly antigun Washington Post", the gun controllers, and anyone else do not know what the gun rights militiants want, they are dealing in their own illusions. What the gun rights militants want is what the NRA argued to the Supreme Court in Perpich (1990): to maintain the militia as the "armed populace at large", collection of sovereign individual who made a treaty not a government. (The NRA's "armed populace at large" is not very different from V. I. Lenin's "armed masses," "armed workers," and "armed people.") That is where the "belief" in a right is manifest. (Lenin truly believed.) However, there is a difference between Civil Society and the State of Nature which is the state of anarchy. The oath of public office marks the difference and imposes a burden. The Constitution is a frame of government with all that implies not a treaty among sovereign individuals.

The one point of policy the "armed populace at large", also known as "armed citizen guerrillas", cannot accommodate is registration of gun ownership. Registration is the only way gun ownership can be effectively regulated. All else will fail. Registration means specifically accountability to a governing authority, accountability to the very legitimacy of a governing authority. The constitutional authority for registration is right there in the militia clauses of the Constitution, the Second Amendment and how the original civic obligation was expressed in the Militia Act of 1792. Anything else reduces the Constitution from a frame of government to a whimsical notion. The greatest danger is a government that does not understand what it means to be a government.
A government is sovereign and perpetual. Sovereignty is absolute. The rule of law, the state's monopoly on violence, and the state's internal sovereignty all mean the same thing. A bill of rights, separation of powers, regular elections are restraints on sovereignty. The "armed populace at large" is a rival sovereignty.
The great fear and political cynicism of the gun rights militants is that the malignancy of government will go door-to-door confiscating guns. No one explains to whom we turn when the NRA's "armed citizen guerrillas" and others with insurrectionist fantasies go door-to-door confiscating guns. That is what will happen in a genuine struggle for political power not the childish political fantasy the gun lobby maintains now at enormous cost in lives, injury, and public treasure. Lunacy and absurdity, however, are not only on the fringe.

The gun lobby, led by the NRA, cannot win the right it wants in court. It is a right that can never be had under any viable concept of constitutional government. It has to have its right by defeating legislation. It defeats legislation by demagoguery. It makes many demagogic appeals, the greatest present demagogic appeal is to self-defense.

We do not secure civil rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights by defeating legislation. Part of its strategy is that the NRA has to attack viciously anyone who deviates from the political ideology and from the agenda. Any crack in the fallacious constitutional facade and the whole edifice comes crumbling down. The NRA does not have to worry. It succeeds because everyone else fails.
If the gun controllers had any constitutional knowledge and political savvy, they would bypass the gun rights leaders and lobbyists and appeal directly to the members of gun rights organizations to send their financial support solely for the purpose of securing a constitutional right in court, the only place that matters in securing rights.
If legislative committees had any political talent, they would bypass the gun rights lobbyists and bring in the gun safety course instructors to give responsible testimony.

Then there is Justice Stevens. He should know that it is the gun rights militants who need a constitutional amendment. After many pages in which Judge Silberman in Parker (released, March, 2007) sought to disparage the original civic purpose of gun ownership and tried to invent out of the "penumbra" and "emanations" of the Constitution a libertarian privacy right to gun ownership, he then completely contradicted himself and delivered a devastating defeat to the gun rights militiants' core doctrine. He concludes that we can have "registration ... for militia service if called up." That validates the original civic purpose manifest in the Militia Act of 1792, enacted by the same people who wrote and ratified the Second Amendment. There is nothing in subseqent Supreme Court rulings that contradicts Judge Silberman's conclusion. Anyone who does not like the rulings of the courts has the opportunity to launch a campaign for a constitutional amendment that will redefine gun rights— And, redefine constitutional government. Of course, the gun rights militants will not get their constitutional amendment either, but how a proposed constitutional amendment would be handled in the Congress and state legislatures is where we get seriously political on fundamental issues. We might learn something about our political existence.

Judge Silberman has opened the path for policy. All that is missing is public knowledge and political leadership. The formula for a national firearms policy is abundantly clear and readily available. It even has the support of the gun rights militants. See Firearms Freedom Act. Give them their hearts desire. To the states: you keep your guns inside your state boundaries and the Federal Government will leave you alone. Otherwise, the Federal Government will invade your space and do it for you. That is badly needed empowerment policy for state and local jurisdictions.

Will anyone ask Wayne LaPierre if he accepts and supports the conclusion of the courts that we can have "registration...for militia service if called up"? Wayne LaPierre proclaims that there are only two purposes of registration: taxation and confiscation. No, there is a third purpose, the original purpose: Conscription, a coerced civil obligation. The power of conscription is an attribute of nationhood. Military obligation is an attribute of citizenship as Judge Silberman has recognized. The consent to be governed has serious implications for private gun ownership as the Militia Act of 1792 makes clear. Privately owned weapons in the early republic were a public resource subject to public duty. First and Second Amendment rights cannot be conflated. First Amendmnet rights are libertarian rights. The "Right of Militia," the right of the people to participate in the military functions of the state, manifest in the Second Amendment involved a military obligation. Contrary to all of Judge Silberman's misguided efforts, there are no libertarian privacy rights in a conscript military organization.

In the early republic conscription was enforced by the states. In the Selective Service Act of 1917, conscription became NATIONAL, a radical departure from the original design of state based conscription. The NRA has never protested NATIONAL conscription.

The deciding factor in military obligation is public necessity. There is no great public necessity for conscription now but that does not mean there is no constitutional authority for military preparedness. In the Militia Act of 1792 the civic purpose was military preparedness.

David Keene, past president of the NRA, in early 2012 participated in a "conservative" lecture series at Citadel Military Academy. Search "Citadel conservative lectures". He said nothing about the childish political fantasy manifest in the NRA's anarchic, insurrectionist, treasonous doctrine. He does not need to worry about any challenges.

In the midst of the absurdities and the daily horrors, the gun controllers cannot get much past promoting trigger locks. The Obama/Biden Administration has embraced the trigger lock agenda as "gun safety". Our highly politicized courts have entered into the false and ignorant polarization of a progun/antigun culture war, pandered to a malignat constituency, promoted a false concept of citizenship, established a reckless basis for policy, and generally created a constitutional mess. The most irresponsible aspect of the court rulings is that they say nothing about the anarchic, insurrectionist, treasonous proclamations that abound on webpages and internet message boards. Missing is the real polarization between a childish political fantasy and a viable, well-ordered state.

This is all very far removed from public knowledge. Without conceptual foundation for what they are trying to accomplish, without having educated a broad energized constituency, without any capacity to break out of the restrictions of the Obama Aministration's "gun safety" agenda, the gun controllers's success will be marginal at best, counterproductive at worse. They have been well-informed. Meanwhile, the gun rights militants have been hard at work for a hundred years. They know exactly what they want and exactly what they are doing.

When nothing ever changes, civilized humanity has to study how to survive in a political culture and a political system that is this dysfunctional.

The greatest danger is still a government that does not understand what it means to be a government.


Continues at http://www.potowmack.org/indexA.html

There is much elaboration on topics on this page on the jump page. There is discussion on David Kopel, Wayne LaPierre, Cody Wilson's desk top printer, the Senate Judiciary Committee, American Legislative Exchange Council, Zimmerman verdict, and more.

If anyone thinks there is a great momentum toward "gun safety" or any other firearms policy, the jump from index.html to indexA.html is only less than two per day. The gun rights militants, the only ones who show up here, need fear no threat to their childish political fantasy.


II. Sovereignty and the appalling spectacle of anarchic federal judges

III. Failing our history and historical concepts

IV. Civic values and the politics of the modern state

V. Guns and controlling political outcomes

VI. Toward a national firearms policy

VII. Adolescent insolence, insurrectionist fantasies and personal sovereignty


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