We have not heard from the NRA on home produced plastic guns.
"Wishful Thinking Is Control Freaks' Last Defense Against 3D-Printed Guns,"
"In the Fight for Freedom, Technology Gives Individuals an Edge Over
3D-Printed 'Liberator' Handgun Successfully Test-Fired"
What Cody Wilson will produce is choas for himself.
"Be careful of your heart's desire. It shall be yours."
Ernest van den Haag (1914-2002), the John M. Olin Professor of Jurisprudence and Public Policy at Fordham University, described the implications in "Libertarians & Conservatives," National Review, 1979:
True liberty is under law and opposed to both tyrannical rule and licentiousness (anarchy, no law).
Also, from vanden Haag:
The leadership has to start at the top.
We do not get leadership. We get more of the same gun control foolishness now characterized
as "gun safety". It is a strategy and approach that has already failed. The gun controllers
for their forty years of failure to educate the public and shape public consciousness
have had no choice but to fall in line.
"President Barack Obama’s gun control agenda is looking more doomed by the day, but gun control advocates still haven’t said a word to complain."
"How the White House silenced gun control groups", Politico, Reid J. Epstein, 3/7/13
There is no issue of vital political concern that is characterized by more ignorance and absurdity. If in their antagonistic exchange on March 14, Senator Feinstein had had any political savvy and if she had any of the constitutional knowledge she claims she would have asked Senator Cruz if he accepted and supported the conclusion of the courts in the Parker/Heller/McDonald cases that we could have "registration ... for militia service if called up"? If he said yes, he would be viciously attacked by the gun rights militants. If not, the next challenge would be, Will he launch a campaign for a constitutional amendment? Then we become seriously political.
What is so difficult to understand?
What the gun rights militants want, the right to be armed outside of the knowledge and reach of
law and government, can never be had under any viable concept of constitutional government. The right
has to be had by demagoguery. The demagoguery proceeds apace.
"NRA’s Keene: Democrats Shocked by Support for Second Amendment"
Newsmax, Thursday, 14 Mar 2013, By Cyrus Afzali and Kathleen Walt
The NRA's Wayne LaPierre has become even more hysterical than usual. He must certainly know if no one else has pointed out that he has already lost in the courts. So we get the diversion: The Chinese and Mexicans will hack a federal data base maintained for militia call up and know who are gun owners. This raises an interesting question. NRA membership, gun owner magazines subscription lists, and even hunting licenses are maintained on computer data bases. Presumably they all have guns. If the NRA has a secure data base that is protected from Chinese and Mexican infiltration and also from state and federal government call up, will the NRA share its privacy techniques with the malignancy of government?
Update March 8, 2013
Senator Rand Paul has raised the comparison of inflation in 1923 Weimar Germany and how this breakdown in the economy led directly to a demand for a new order in the dictatorship of Adolph Hitler and the National Socialist regime ten years later.
Not really. Despite the great inflation, the German economy stabilized in the late 1920s. It was the stock market crash in 1929, the collapse of the banking system in the early 1930s, the US's Smoot-Hawley high tarifs after 1930, and the international financial house of cards created by German reparations payments to Britain and France that cause the crisis most severely manifest in 25 percent unemployment that led to the embrace of a "great" leader who would re-establish order and security.
There was one final event that Rand Paul does not tell us about. Paul is a big supported of gun rights and the gun lobby's anarchic vision of economic, social and political life. The last free election in Germany was on March 5, 1933. The Nazi Party received 44% of the vote. With allied rightwing parties it had a majority in the Reichstag but not enough for a constitutional amendment. To force a constitutional amendment that would enable Hitler to rule by decree Hitler brought his "armed citizen guerrillas", (p. A-40), called "Storm troopers," into the legislative chambers with him to guarantee the vote.
The Weimar Republic was a government that did not have the political will to maintain its
internal sovereignty. There is more than one slippery slope here. There is the slippery
slope to a police state which the gun rights militants fear, but there is also the other
slippery slope to anarchy which also leads to a police state when the people want order
and security. Is that what Rand Paul wants? Is that what any of us want?
The courts have opened the path for firearms policy. Judge Silberman in Parker v. DC Gov.
(released March, 2007)
concluded, p. 54, that we can have "registration ... for militia service if called up."
There is nothing in the subsequent Supreme Court cases that contradicts that conclusion. Judge Silberman has resurrected the original militia concepts of civic obligation and military preparedness. That is where policy making begins. Registration is the only way firearms can be effectively regulated.
Doesn't anyone understand gun rights? Registration, accountability to a governing authority, is the one point of policy the gun rights militants' childish political fantasy cannot accommodate. Anyone who does not accept the rulings of the courts has only one choice: To launch a campaign for a constitutional amemdment that would redefine gun rights And, redefine constitutional government. There are simple solution which we have not gotten to yet.
The Firearms Freedom Act. Give them their hearts desire. The only goal of national policy is to tell the states, You keep your guns within your state boundaries and the Feds will leave you alone. That can only be accomplished with registration and reporting of private sales and transfers. That is empowerment policy for local jurisdictions.
There is a burden of historic responsibility. This is all very simple and it
is not as if VP Biden and the Obama Administration have not
We still have the embrasure of a "gun safety" strategy that evades the original fundamental concepts of civic obligation and military preparedness and has already failed.
Part of story has been long since told in the news media:
Nicholas Confessore, "Control Freaks," March 20, 2002, The American Prospect.
The failed strategy still receives credibility:
Molly Ball, "How the Gun-Control Movement Got Smart," The Atlantic, February, 2013.
Biden would be far more credible if he started by talking about his oath of office.
The best result will be that the "gun safety" strategy fails again and is defeated in Congress and then we might have serious political leadership on the most vital and fundamental issues of political life.
Dan Baum's recent book A Road Trip: Gun Guys makes important points illustrating
the ignorance and absurdity of the whole liberal/conservative, gun rights/gun control
antagonism but he misses Judge Silberman's conclusion and only hints at
the main point: Gun rights and the gun vote are not about guns. They are about
the cynical control of political outcomes in a much larger struggle over the modern
state, the twentieth century social contract and the political economy of capitalism.
We pay an enormous price to maintain the childish political fantasy and to further the political agenda.
Hope Reese, The Atlantic, March, 2013, "What Liberals Need to Understand About 'Gun Guys'.".
It is not as if members of Congress are not well informed.
Despite the sincere efforts and concerns of the victims and interested parties, the best outcome for the present "gun control" and "gun safety" proposals is that they will fail in Congress. We can then hope that that failure will provoke serious political leadership in the derelict Obama Administration that will lead to a credible, effective, and meaningful national firearms policy. That leadership can begin with President Obama going around the gun lobby leadership and making a challenge directly to gun owners and members of gun rights organizations. The larger context and the long overdue discussion can then be about the contours of citizenship under constitutional government.
The Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on January 30 was a spectacle in appalling dereliction. The NRA's Wayne LaPierre was on the panel giving comment and testimony. He does not have to worry about any inquiry into his methods and his real purposes. There is no mystery. LaPierre wrote (or, rather, someone wrote for him) in his book Guns, Crime and Freedom (1994), p. 7:
LaPierre pushes the envelop of the Smith Act. He is not talking about the people and government of Uzbehkistan. There are small cracks in the LaPierre's postering as the Washington Post's Dana Milbank reports. (Milbank has the real story, personally delivered.) Whether there will be public momentum that opens the cracks further remains to be seen. It is too optimistic to think that the leadership will start with "the rabidly antigun Washington Post", the gun lobby's most reliable asset.
David Kopel was also on the panel. He has less public recognition than LaPierre but is equally as anarchic. What he was doing there is something of a mystery, but he does not have to worry either. Kopel wrote in "Trust the People: The Case Against Gun Control," Cato Institute Policy Analysis No. 109, July 11, 1988, p. 25, explicitly in the context of gun ownership:
Doesn't armed political dissent satisfy the constitutional definition of treason? The SJC fails us miserably.
Members of Congress only think in terms of how many votes their actions will get in the next election and how many votes there are in Congress for the lastest lame-brained bill that gives them opportunity to grandstand.
We did not learn in the hearing that the only business of the Federal Government in firearms policy is to control and shut down the illegal traffic between and among jurisdictions. That is empowerment policy for local jurisdictions. The constitutional authority is not the much overused and misused commerce clause but the militia clauses and the Second Amendment and how these were expressed in the Militia Act of 1792, a national conscription law. The conscription was then state based. Conscription became national in the Selective Service Act of 1917, a defining moment in evolving modern nationhood. Conscription is a coerced civic obligation. Civic obligation is where policy making begins.
If we are to talk with original design and intent we can make the civic obligation the business of the
states as did the Militia Act of 1792. The
Firearms Freedom Act, originating in Montana
declares as its objective:
Other states have join this objective. Give them their hearts' desire.
Consistent with the Firearms Freedom Act, the courts have now resurrected the original concept and opened the path for political leadership toward a national policy. In Parker et al. v. DC Government (released, US Court of Appeals, DC Circuit, March, 2007), after many pages in which Judge Silberman sought to disparage the original civic purpose and attempted to invent out of the "penumbra" and "emanations" of the Constitution a libertarian privacy right to gun ownership, he arrived at the conclusion that we could have "registration ... for militia service if called up." This is the original civic purpose. Militia duty in the early Republic, carried over from the colonial period, was conscript duty. There are no libertarian privacy rights in a conscript military organization.
None of this simple and obvious context was part of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on January 30. It is not as if the Senators are not well informed.. It is not as if other members of Congress are not well informed.
We hear much meaningless drivel about respect for Second Amendment rights, support for the Second Amendment, etc. This is pandering to a malignant constituency. It might be helpful to have a little civic lesson. There is a civil right secured by government when a defendant stands before a judge charged with a crime. The prosecutor reads the charge. The judge turns to the defendant and asks, How do you plea, guilty or not guilty? The defendant has the opportunity to say, I plea not guilty, your honor, on the grounds that the law is unconstituional. If the judge and the higher courts agree, there is a constitutional right secured by government. If not, the defendant goes to trial. At the January 30 Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, no one asked, Do you accept and support the conclusion of the courts that we can have "registration ... for militia service if called up"? If not, will you launch a campaign for a constitutional amendment that redefines gun rights and, redefines constitutional government. We need to know how this will be handled in the Congress and in 38 state legislatures.
Much else was missing from the SJC hearings. What the gun rights militants, led by the NRA, want is what the NRA argued to the Supreme Court in Perpich v. DOD (1990): the right to maintain the militia as the "armed populace at large," a collection of sovereign inviduals who made a treaty not a government. These are known in other places as "armed citizen guerrillas". The Smith Act outlaws advocacy of armed resistance to governmental authority. The right, with all of its insurrectionist and treasonous implications, cannot be had under any viable concept of constitutional government. It has to be had by defeating legislation. The method is demagoguery. It succeeds because everyone else fails. The Judiciary Committee is no different from anyone else.
The greatest demagogic appeal is to self-defense. The way we defend ourselves as citizens under law and government is to create legal categories for gun ownership that can be applied against the lawless. The only reason we cannot have laws that apply against the lawless is that the same laws would apply against "armed citizen guerrillas" and others with insurrectionist fantasies.
Present firearms regulation proposals are more of the same "gun control" and "gun safety" that have failed to make a difference for more than forty years. When they fail this time, we can hope for genuine, aggressive political leadership on the contours of citizenship under a viable concept of constitutional government.
"How the NRA Became an Organization for Aspiring Vigilantes (Part 1)",
The turn in American firearms culture from the province of sportsman to one of macho revenge fantasies started in the 1960s.
"How the NRA Became an Organization for Aspiring Vigilantes (Part 2)",
Ronald Reagan was an early adopter of, and key propagandist for, gun culture's vigilante turn.
Potowmack rejects the argument that the NRA has shifted between a sportsman's organization and advocate for insurrection and anarchy. Anyone who has ever been on the NRA's mailing list knows that the NRA has always had the same policy objective to maintain the "armed populace at large."
The Potowmack Institute submitted for publication starting in November, 2011, early in the 2012 campaign, a 6000 word manuscript to a succession of national circulation periodicals for publication. Not one responded or even opened the file to the manuscript. The manuscript was expanded to 33,000 words and published in August, 2012, as an eBOOK, linked to vendors below. The objective was to stimulate public interest that would create a cause to expand the discussion even further.
We come to the political culture. The National Rifle Association campaigned very hard in 2012 to defeat the re-election of President Obama even though Obama had taken no action to restrict gun rights or gun ownership. It should be clear that gun rights and the gun vote are not about guns. They are about controlling political outcomes in a much larger struggle over fundamental political values and concepts manifest in the modern state, the twentieth century social contract and political economy of capitalism that is, the dreaded socialism or, if we take Jonah Goldberg seriously, the “liberal fascism”. Somewhere back there in the eighteenth century and the Constitution and the Bill of Rights there was true libertarian individual liberty and, as we have departed from those true principles, we have been, ever since, on a steady descent into the abyss of socialism and statism.
Despite its efforts, the NRA lost its campaign and now after the Newton, Ct., horrors, public necessity has forced the NRA’s worst firearms policy nightmares on the previously derelict Obama Administration. We now hear of impeachment, secession, nullification, even armed insurrection that is, treason.
We hear that the NRA is a front for the gun manufacturers. The NRA certainly needs the money from the gun industry and the gun industry needs the NRA promoting its doctrine to sell guns. The real issue, nevertheless, is the anarchic doctrine. We don’t hear much about the doctrine manifest as the “armed populace at large” and “armed citizen guerrillas” with their insurrectionist implications. We certainly don’t hear that the doctrine is hostile to any notion of the “just liberties” of the people and the “just powers” of government consistent with a viable concept of constitution government. The Constitution is reduced from a frame of government with all that that implies to a treaty among sovereign individuals with all the insurrectionist and treasonous purposes of that implied.
Completely unmentioned in all the news reporting and comment, however, is that Judge Silberman in the Parker case (US Court of Appeals, DC Circuit, released March, 2007) resurrected the original militia concepts of civic obligation and military preparedness manifest in the colonial milita acts, militia clauses of the Constitution, the Second Amendment, the Militia Act of 1792, and the early Republic's state militia acts with his conclusion that we can have “registration ... for militia service if called up.” Judge Silberman has rendered the contension individual versus collective right meaningless for policy making purposes. Nothing in the Supreme Court rulings in Heller and McDonald contradicts that conclusion. All that is missing is the decisive, aggressive political leadership that starts with Judge Silberman's conclusion.
The Potowmack Institute proposes that President Obama circumvent the gun lobby leaders and their promotion of the anarchic doctrine and take the issue directly to members of gun rights organizations of where they stand on civic purpose and military preparedness and, also, of course, a constitutional right to insurrection and treason.. That is, do you fulfill a civic duty or do you entertain a childish political fantasy? Do you serve the constitutional purpose of the militia to “suppress insurrections” or do you entertain a childish political fantasy about making insurrections?
President Obama can also take the issue to anyone under oath of public office and any candidate running for public office: “Do you support and accept the conclusion of the courts that we can have 'Registration ... for militia service is called up'?” Anyone who said "yes" would be viciously attacked by the gun rights militants led by the NRA. Anyone who does not accept the conclusion of the courts has only one choice: to launch a campaign for a constitutional amendment that negates the conclusion of the courts that is, defines gun rights and redefines constitutional government itself. Where we become seriously political is how this will be handled in the Congress and in 38 state legislatures. It is not within the powers of a constitutional republic to amend itself out of existence.
There was a concern in the ratification period that the new super that is, federal, government with a mercenary army at its disposal would be a threat to liberty. In response to the perceived threat, the state conscript militias were constitutionally protected in the Second Amendment. That was the original collective right. It is an anachronism now. Nevertheless, militia duty was conscript duty that is, a coerced civic obligation. The Militia Act required gun ownership. Militia officers inspected the guns once acquired for compliance. The guns were maintained on inventories and reported to the state governors and the president of the United States. The purpose was beyond question military preparedness. There was no right to privacy to gun ownership in the early Republic’s conscript militias as the gun lobby’s own libertarian ideologues have recognized when they are being intellectually honest. The civic obligation became national in the twentieth century selective service acts.
The “belief” in and “support” for the Second Amendment, heard ubiquitously, is so much pandering to a malignant constituency. Highly politically motivated federal judges have discovered the right to privacy in the “penumbra” and “emanations” of the Constitution. They can change the law. They cannot change historical fact.
The NRA can believe in its right, proclaim its right loudly, build an alter to it and bow down and worship it, but it has nothing to with the Second Amendment. Federal judges, meanwhile, are under oath of public office. The Constitution is still a frame of government. The courts have said that the gun lobby cannot have the right it wants as a civil right the right to be armed outside of the knowledge and reach of a governing authority. It has to have the right by defeating legislation. It defeats legislation through demagoguery and deceiving gun owners and a great many others into a false definition of the realities of political life.
The great challenge now is not to pursue more of the same gun safety regulations, as much marginal benefits as those might achieve, but to have what some people say they want for a “national conversation”. The national conversation has to be on fundamental concepts manifest in the original militia concept.
Washington Post's Richard Cohen in his column, January 14, 2013, "The Debacle of Gun Control," describes the political dysfunction which dates back 40 years.
The problem is that Richard Cohen and the gun lobby’s most reliable asset in the news media, the one the NRA calls the "rabidly anti-gun Washington Post" have been part of the problem for the same 40 years. Cohen writes:
Politics, Rights, Guns: The Great Political Dysfunction
33,000 words, $2.99.
is available on Amazon Kindle.
If you have Kindle you can download for $2.99. If not, the Kindle costs $79.00. Purchase link is provided by Amazon.
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Readers can view the first few pages for free by clicking on the title page.
eBook available through Barnes&Nobel for purchase price of $2.99:
Viewing formats available.
Go to Amazon above to view introductory pages.
eBOOK available through Kobobooks for purchase price of $2.99.
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eBook available through ebookpie for purchase price of $2.69
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American Conservative Union
American Legislative Exchange Council
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Citizens United v. FEC
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Constitution in Exile
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Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938
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Federalist, Federalist Papers
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Foundation for Free Expression
Friedman, George, 28
Grant, Pres. Ulysses
Green v. Biddle (1823)
Griswold v. Connecticut
Haag, Ernest van den
Halbrook, Stephen P.
Harrington, Michael, The Other America
Heller v. DC Gov.
John Birch Society, JBS
Keene, David, NRA Pres.
Keynes, John M.
Koch, David, Charles, Frederick
Ku Klux Klan
Lenin, V. I.
Liddy, G. Gordon
Locke, John, The Second Treatise
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Luther v. Borden (1849)
McDonald v. Chicago (2011)
Militia Act of 1792 Miller, Bryan
Mullen, Ms. Martha
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National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, NAACP
National Rifle Association, NRA
National Public Radio, NPR
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New York Times
Nock, Albert Jay
National Center for Responsive Politics
Nordyke v. King (2003)
Parker et al. v. DC Gov. (2007)
Pennsylvania Constitution (1776)
Perpich v. DOD (1990)
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Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)
Rehm, Diane, NPR
Roe v. Wade (1973)
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Second Treatise, John Locke
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Tyler, Pres. John
US v. Darby (1941)
US v. Emerson (2001)
US v. Miller et al. (1939)
Washington, Booker T.
Wilson, Pres. Woodrow
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
[PotowmackForum] interactive posting