It is a very nice thing that we choose to consider the year ending and beginning during winter, especially for those of us in the north. There is always so much to do during the other seasons, but when it is cold out, and particularly if there is snow, we can take time to contemplate life, the universe, and everything. We can sit quietly and think of things we have accomplished, or not; things we might want to fit into our lives in the future.
We enjoy the idea of ending one time frame, and anticipate making a new beginning. Many of us create “New Year’s Resolutions.” This might be a mental or physical list of tasks that we hope will make us a better or happier person. I have a notebook of projects that need to be accomplished. My daughter has a long list, but she includes a lot of enjoyable things to do.
Several times in the year’s first issue I have suggested some or all of the previous fall’s Gun Rights Policy Conference’s Resolutions as possible issues to tackle. The Resolutions are submitted by individuals who attend the conference, reviewed by the Resolutions Committee, and discussed and accepted or rejected by the people who attend. I keep only those that are accepted by the delegates.
Today, I would like to share with you some of my favorites. Hopefully, if something strikes you, it can become a goal for you during this new year.
In 1986 at the first GRPC, Linda Farmer of Georgia introduced a resolution that has been approved at every GRPC that “an attack on one class of firearm is an attack on all classes of firearms.”
The Second Amendment prohibits the government from infringing on the people’s right to keep and bear arms, not firearms. This distinction is quite important as technologies change. Our founders understood two principles. First, that free people need to be able to defend themselves, and, second, that a government of the people has no reason to fear an armed population. The Farmer Resolution has been amended over time to include not only firearms but knives and by extension any form of arms, and, also to include any parts and accessories of those arms. It now reads, “an attack on any class of arms or components thereof is an attack on all classes of arms.”
Over a decade ago, as national spokeswoman for the Second Amendment Sisters, I introduced the following resolution, which was approved at that and every consequent GRPC. “Whereas: We have a right to life; we have a right to protect that life and the lives of those around us; we, therefore, have a right to the means to do so; and Whereas: ‘gun-free zones’ deny us the means to protect our lives, and thereby put our lives at risk, Now, therefore, be it resolved that: ‘gun-free zones’ be eliminated wherever they exist.”
In 2017, Laura Carno of Colorado submitted this resolution:
“Whereas: Children deserve our protection, and it is our duty to provide that protection; and Whereas: The response time for law enforcement to an active killer event often exceeds 10 minutes, wherein countless innocent lives can be lost; and Whereas: A uniform, whether that of sworn law enforcement or security guard, does not endow special ability to protect the innocent; and Whereas: Responsible school personnel are capable of being trained to act to save lives; and Whereas: teachers and school staff are the true first responders at the school; and Whereas: there are programs such as Faculty Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response (FASTER) which provide such training to save lives; Now, therefore, be it resolved that we will implement such programs in our local school systems.”
Information on this program is available at fastersaveslives.orgfastersaveslives.orgfastersaveslives.org. FASTER does more than simply eliminating ‘gun free zones’ around our schools. (Every school shooting demonstrates the failure of that concept to protect our children.) FASTER trains school personnel not only how to defend against an assailant, it teaches how to perform life-saving procedures. The majority of fatalities in multiple-victim assaults are not from gunfire, or knife wounds, but from bleeding. There are products and techniques available that can prevent those deaths.
Also in 2017, from Jeff Knox of Arizona and director of The Firearms Coalition. “Whereas: The future of recognition of the right to arms is at extreme risk if those rights do not receive greater support from minority communities; and Whereas: political partisanship drives a wedge between the gun rights community and minority communities; Now, therefore, be it resolved that we should all make every effort to refrain from engaging in divisive, partisan rhetoric when talking about these issues; and It is further resolved that we declare our unwavering commitment to support the right to arms of all persons, regardless of race, heritage, political ideology, or other factors unrelated to arms rights; and (added by the Resolutions Committee)It is further resolved that we each will take the Tiffany Challenge by: 1. Finding someone in our area or workplace who is different from us, and having a conversation. 2. Finding the common ground between us. 3. Understanding that language and jokes that are meant to be benign can be hurtful and/or offensive to others.”
This past fall, Willes Lee of Hawaii, NRA Board of Directors, stated it a bit differently. “Whereas: We want our Second Amendment rights in the future, and Whereas: we need to grow the base of people who support the Second Amendment, Now, therefore, be it resolved that: we will get out of our comfort zones and invite newcomers to the gun community and non-gun owners to a competition, to the range, on a hunt, or to GRPC next year.”
A few years ago, one of the people who is a member of the NGO protecting our Second Amendment rights at the United Nations mentioned in his report to the conference that a member of one of the other delegations told him, “You Americans are irrationally self-reliant.” I believe the phrase is a perfect description of the difference between Americans and the rest of the world. At least some Americans. Historically, we are self-reliant. The people who came here from other lands did so at great personal risk. The people who set out across the frontier did the same. We are a nation of second sons, the ones who would not inherit, the ones who must do for themselves. Every family now living here in the United States has someone in their heritage who took that risk. For some of us, that person is not far removed. For some that person is us.
So, I give you one last candidate for what you might like to do in the coming year. My resolution submitted in 2015.
“Whereas, the formation of the government of the United States is unique; and Whereas, our Founding Documents proclaim that all individuals are endowed by their Creator with certain rights; and Whereas, these rights are by definition innate and not a product of deliberative thought; Therefore, be it resolved that we will go forth from this meeting and joyously act in what an outsider might describe as “irrational self-reliance” and encourage all our friends and colleagues to do the same.”
Go forth with joy!