It's not about guns...
The Potowmack Institute
4423 LeHigh Road, Suite 273
College Park, MD 20740
leave out then's and spaces.
The e-mail address is presented this way to defeat the spam miscreants
[PotomackForum], Interactive Posting
[ARCHIVE], Potowmack Institute files
[RESOURCES], Newspaper, magazine, journal articles, books, links
The Potowmack Institute
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
Gun Policy News
news stories compiled daily.
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
John Kenneth Rowland
John K. Mahon
The Quotes, the Quotes
Fabricating the armed populace doctrine
Tenn. Law Rev., 1995
Chicago-Kent Symposium, 2000
What does the NRA want?
Obama's Challenge to the gun rights crowd, included in the proposal submitted to periodicals starting in November, 2011, and included in the eBOOK published in August, 2012:
There is a competing, widely believed, very antagonistic purpose. It is that the purpose of a right to private gun ownership outside militia service is to maintain an anarchic balance of power between a privately armed populace and any and all government. There is no secret about this claim, but it is a right that can have no place in any viable concept of constitutional government. The people do have a right to take up arms against oppressive government, but it is a right in the State of Nature outside of civil society. It is not a civil right that can be secured by government. The Declaration of Independence is a prime example. It was a charter for revolution. The King rightfully cried treason. I, as President, am under oath of public office to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. Domestic enemies include those who would act out a childish political fantasy about armed insurrection. I have set up a designated post office address for members of gun rights organizations to write to me directly as commander in chief of the militia to explain their positions and convictions on the purposes of gun ownership—whether it is a civic obligation to fulfill a constitutional duty to enforce the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions—Or, on the contrary, to make insurrections.
December 17, 2012
President Barack Obama
Dear President Obama:
Congratulations on winning the second term. This is surely an historic moment. You deserve much credit. Your second term presents and recent events force decisive political leadership that will take us into a new direction for the life of the Republic. This is not a matter of ordinary politics and policy making. What is at stake are the most vital and fundamental issues of political life.
In these terms, the necessity is now for "meaningful action" toward an effective national firearms policy that will significantly reduce the daily body count.. What necessity demands could not be more constitutionally uncontroversial. Progress begins with an appreciation that the greatest obstacle to a national firearms policy is the anarchic doctrine successfully maintained by the gun rights militants led by the National Rifle Association. There is no secret about the doctrine. It basically denies the legitimacy of a governing authority But, the rule of law, the state's monopoly on violence and the state's internal sovereignty all mean the same thing. The Constitution is a frame of government not a treaty among sovereign individuals who give no more than word of honor and promise of good faith.
Unacknowledged by anyone else, however, the recent gun rights cases were a devastating defeat for the gun lobby's core doctrine and open the path for decisive political leadership and effective policy making. After many pages of dubious reasoning to invent a privacy right to gun ownership, Judge Silberman in Parker et al v DC Gov., released March, 2007, arrived at the conclusion that we can have "registration ... for militia service if called up." That conclusion has not been contradicted by the Supreme Court's subsequent cases. Registration that is, accountability to a governing authority is the only way guns can be effectively regulated. Anything else is a foolish waste of time and counterproductive. Judge Silberman's conclusion resurrects the original militia concept of civic obligation and the original purpose of military preparedness. Militia duty was conscript duty. The constitutional authority for registration is right there in the militia clauses of the Constitution, the Second Amendment and the original design and intent manifest in the Militia Act of 1792. The Constitution is still a frame of government. It is not whimsical notion. The real discussion begins very simply with what James Madison was really describing in Federalist Paper No. 46. Policy making ends with Judge Silberman's conclusion.
Meanwhile, the gun rights militants, led by the NRA, would fight VICIOUSLY any legislative attempt to implement Judge Silberman's conclusions. That fight is where policy making has to take place And, that fight has to be taken up at the top. I have proposed that the President of the United States make an end run around the gun lobby's demagoguery with an appeal on fundamental concepts directly to members of gun rights organizations. I lay the proposal before you. Please see enclosures.
When you get into this it is important to understand that there is a larger context. There was much talk in the campaign about a choice between competing visions of political life. The visions, on either side, were not clearly define or articulated. One vision is built on the twentieth century social contract and the function of the United States as a national community with national interests and a governing authority to serve those interests. There is the other vision. Gun rights and the gun vote take their place in pursuing it. Gun rights and the gun vote are not about guns. They are about advancing a malignant vision of economic, political and social life and controlling political outcomes to further that vision. The connection is explicit when we see the American Legislative Exchange Council partner with the NRA to lobby in more than twenty states to enact stand-your-ground self-defense laws. We see it when Grover Norquist, the very personification of the present political cynicism, is on the NRA's National Board. This all part of the same story. Aggressive political leadership on constitutionally uncontroversial questions neutralizes the gun vote in national politics. We can then better get on to other policy making.
We can hope for a national firearms policy that will make a difference in the daily body count. We can also hope that we can have the substantive public discourse on the most vital and fundamental issues of political life that has been so far absent.
It illustrates more than anything else how far removed any of this is from public consciousness that the eBOOK I published in August under the title Political, Rights, Gun: The Great Political Dysfunction has had only two purchases. I purposefully priced it low at $2.99. More of the story is there. If you don't want to or can't work through the eBOOK software and hardware requirements, the manuscript is at http://www.potowmack.org/eBOOK2.pdf.
December 22, 2012
The Honorable Joseph Biden
Vice President of the United States
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20501
I hope for great success for your gun violence task force. This is serious business. It demands serious attention. There have not been hopeful responses from my representatives in Congress. Your task force has the opportunity to provide a new, hopeful direction. The new but neglected direction has been available for a long time. The new direction is much broader than simply gun rights and the gun vote. It is a new direction for the life of the Republic. Gun rights and the gun vote are not about guns. They are about very fundamental values and concepts. My greater hope is that we can eventually get to the broader discussion.
For the immediate issue I make two proposals. One is that the task force recommend to President Obama that he go public over the heads of the gun lobby leadership and take vital and fundamental values and concept directly to gun owners and the members of gun rights organizations. Please see enclosures. Getting their responses and convictions will change the whole context of public consciousness. There is so much ignorance and absurdity on this issue that leadership has to start at the top. That can start with gun owners and gun rights activists themselves.
The other proposal is that a congressional committee undertake a wide ranging and penetrating
hearing on gun rights and gun violence with a larger and more thorough inquiry than is possible
with your task force. This is not a new proposal,
It is about time someone take it seriously. It is necessary to bring in all players in and get them to explain their goals, strategies and convictions. Subpoena them if necessary.
A major concern for where your task force starts needs to be what the gun lobby, led by the NRA, wants. If you do not know what your opponent wants, you are dealing in your own illusions. What the NRA wants is to maintain “the armed populace at large,” a collection of sovereign individuals who made a treaty not a government. Please see enclosures. They give no more than word of honor and promise of good faith. They will also through vigilante policing maintain public order and protect us from all evil including the greeat evil of tyrannically encroaching government. The instant gun check system, the NRA’s Eddie Eagle program, regardless of their merits, ultimately serve the purpose to protect the “armed populace at large.” The NRA’s proposal on December 21 for armed guards in schools is more of the same. The enormous expense of these policies and the frightful tragedies we suffer are the price we pay for the “armed populace at large”.
What is most interesting is that the courts have settled the issue and delivered the “armed populace at large” doctrine a devastating defeat. After many pages in which Judge Silberman in Parker et al. v. DC Gov. sought to disparage the original civil purpose in the militia concept and institution and invent out of the "penumbra" and "emanations" of the Constitution a private right, he, nevertheless, arrives at the conclusion that we can have "registration ... for militia service if called up." Registration is the only way firearms can be effectively regulated. Registration means accountability to a governing authority, accountability to the very legitimacy of a governing authority. What is important is that Judge Silberman’s conclusion resurrects the original civic obligation in the original civic purpose. Militia duty in the colonial period and in the early republic was conscript duty. The path for policy making is opened. The Constitution is still a frame of government. Policy making begins with civic obligation not with gun safety, mental health, prayer etc. that we hear so much about. Introducing civic obligation into public knowledge is the greatest challenge to your task force, but everything else follows from there. It won’t be easy, but without a basis in civic obligation the recommendations your task force will make will be more of the same policies that are marginal and ineffective at best and foolish and counterproductive at worst. The gun lobby wins again.
I have made a long standing proposal for a national firearms policy that is completely consistent with original design and intent as manifest not just in the militia clauses of the Constitution, the Second Amendment, and the Militia Act of 1792, but also in the recent conclusions of the courts, http://www.potowmack.org/schumer.html. (The CSGV’s President, Michael Beard, now retired, put the proposal on his web page. Please see enclosure.)
Albert Einstein once said, It only takes one to be right. There is something in this life called being absolutely right. I will be so immodest as to say I am the only one who has this right. Getting this right is very frightening across the political spectrum. The fright and hostility to enlightenment cannot deter you. Some of the most hostile reactions I get are from the gun controllers. They are as addicted to their trigger lock strategy as the gun rights militants are to their guns. That reaction is very important to understanding the political culture you seek to influence and shape. You will not see any better example of the failure of the political culture and failed knowledge in the public and media in recent days than that there has been no mention in all the news reporting and comment that Judge Silberman has settled the issue as a matter of policy making. Despite his conclusion, some otherwise intellectually competent people still proclaim that registration is constitutional impermissible. All that is left is political leadership. If you need help, ask for it. I am in the neighborhood.
[PotowmackForum] interactive posting