Women&Guns has been publishing for 30 years. A lot has changed in that time. Women are more respected in the shooting community. Manufactures realize that women are an important market with needs and tastes different from those of men. More women are now carrying guns. Most states have adopted “shall issue” concealed carry handgun permits. A number of states have adopted laws that allow concealed carry without a license. Many states now honor handgun licenses issued by other states. Female gun owners can be proud that they helped make these changes. Women, more than any other group, brought home the fact that self-defense, not target shooting or hunting, is at the heart of the Second Amendment. No longer do judges talk down to gun owners from the bench saying, “The Second Amendment is not an individual right.” The Heller and McDonald Supreme Court cases settled that question in our favor.
Unfortunately, since those two cases were decided, the Supreme Court has not done enough to address courts that ignore the fact that the Second Amendment protects a fundamental right. We have watched liberal judges try to eviscerate the Second Amendment with semantical gymnastics that would make Louis Carroll’s Humpty Dumpty blush. Mr. Dumpty, you might remember, told Alice, “When I use a word, it means just what I chose it to mean” to justify his excessively creative and unorthodox way of defining words.
Federal judges (and some state judges) are political appointees. More and more, the politicians try to make judicial nominees pass a political litmus test in order to have their nomination approved. Such standards destroy the very heart of what a judge should be, which is, impartial. Decisions should be based on the facts of the case and the law, not on the judge’s political bias. Judges are clever people. If they look upon themselves as “activists,” they know how to find “facts” so they can write an opinion that supports their own beliefs. Good judges, who apply the law impartially, are very important to our concept of “ordered liberty.” They are the umpires who should in- sure that the rules (the laws) are applied fairly.
Having a President, a Senate, and, in some cases, a governor, who will appoint and affirm judges who respect the Constitution, not push a political agenda, is important. In the post-Heller world, gun owners have had mixed results trying to advance gun rights though the courts using care- fully selected cases. The Supreme Court, however, has avoided taking most of these cases. Hopefully, with the vacancies on the Supreme Court now filled, the high court will start taking these cases.
We should not, however, rely upon the courts to protect our freedoms. In our government the power to make laws resides in the legislative branch. Gun owners need to focus on that branch. Under the Constitution, the President and the Judiciary are equal partners with Congress. Each branch of government is given specific tasks. Judges should not make law ― that is Congress’s job. The President makes appointments, not Congress, and enforces the law. If Congress does not like a law, it should not castigate the President for enforcing it, it should reform the law.
Elections are very important. Electing good people, not just political hacks, is critical. Learn who the candidates, and potential candidates, are early in the election cycle. Make sure you register to vote and vote in each election, especially in the primaries. Unfortunately, few Congressmen think on their own. They just do as the head of the party tells them to do. Almost as soon as the Democrats took control of the House of Representatives following the 2018 mid-term election, they started to talk about holding hearings with the goal of impeaching President Trump and his judicial nominees. They boasted that they would block the trade deals Trump negotiated, ignoring the fact that those deals seem to be creating jobs in the United States. They have not considered the benefits these deals will produce for American workers, or the failures, and destruction of jobs that their previous policies created. For them, it is all about power and promoting class divisions to help them hold power. It has nothing to do with the public good. The left wing that now controls the Democratic Party is unable to tolerate anyone who disagrees with them.
Our future as a nation of free people depends on a number of things. Electing good representatives is high on the list. Also high on the list is honoring our Constitution. It created a balanced political system which protects the rights of the minority while providing for a popularly elected government. We are not a simple democracy. When prior presidents engaged in “nation building” in other areas of the world using “democracy” as the standard, the majority in some of those nations voted to strip their minorities of all rights.
Our Constitution is a remarkable document. The Bill of Rights, which started as ten amendments, now extends through the first fifteen amendments. Each of the rights stated represents a right essential to maintaining balance in government and our individual right to be free from unwarranted government intrusion. Each of the stated rights reflect on conduct that repressive governments have used to oppress the people.
The First Amendment (freedom of speech and right to petition the government), Second Amendment (right of self defense), Fourth Amendment (right to be free from unreasonable searches), Fifth Amendment (right not to have to testify against yourself or have your property taken by the government without just compensation or to be treated as a criminal without due process of law), and Eighth Amendment (the right to have reasonable bail) are all rights frequently attacked in the name of public safety. The laws about “hate speech,” the no fly lists, and the restrictions on campaign contributions all impact the First Amendment because they are based upon a person’s stated beliefs. Who defines what “hate speech is?” Who is to say who is a “terrorist” if the designation is not based upon someone convicted of a criminal act? Some on the left, in an effort to discredit the NRA, call the NRA a “terrorist” organization because they disagree with its politics.
There are those who argue that your right of self-defense only exists in your home even though the Constitution says that the right includes bearing arms. Some are still trying to claim you may not own modern guns.
In order for the people to make informed decisions about their government, they need to base those decisions on facts, not emotions. The political left has engaged in a deliberate campaign of misinformation while pushing its agenda by relying on public fear. Like the National Socialist Party (Nazi) of Germany, they have repeated their big lie about guns and gun owners until many people believe what they are being told. Increasingly you see the NRA, and gun owners in general, blamed for the criminal acts of true terrorists and those with mental health problems.
Every time there is a senseless, multiple shooting, there is a call for new gun laws even if the laws being called for would not have prevented the deaths; even though the criminal responsible for the deaths was in violation of current laws governing gun ownership. Every time there is a multiple shooting, those on the left call for banning “assault rifles” and “AK47s” even if the act was committed with a handgun.
Gun owners need to be well informed. The left will say that all they want are “reasonable” gun laws. That sounds reasonable. We all want to think of ourselves as reasonable people. The left’s idea of a reasonable gun law, however, is one that would allow you to only own a gun if it is stored in the local police station and then only if you had a license for the gun that requires you to prove to the police you have a “need” for the gun.
Requiring each state to recognize the gun license of other states is reasonable. With instant background checks and the new tamper-proof driver’s licenses coming into wide usage, allowing people who are licensed to buy guns interstate would also be reasonable legislation.
That is not what the gun haters mean when they say “reasonable” laws. They do not support any law that would make life easier for lawful gun owners. Their definition of “reasonable” is any law that restricts the citizen’s ability to have a gun for self-defense without regard to the effectiveness of the law. While there are “studies” on “gun crime” by advocates of gun control, no impartial, scientific study, including those conducted by the CDC and the Department of Justice, has ever found that any of the gun laws have “saved” a life or reduced crime. That being the case, none of those laws, or laws being proposed by the left, are reasonable because they harm one segment of the population while providing no benefit to the general public. Do not fall for their line that gun owners should accept their “reasonable” laws.
The facts that destroy their arguments are available if you go to reputable, a-political, statistical sources. For example, the population in the United States at about 325.7 million. According to the FBI, last year the number of homicides by guns of any type is about 10,982 (the balance of firearms related deaths are mostly suicides which is a mental health problem). About 403 are committed with rifles of any kind. Thus deaths by “assault rifles” must be less than 403 per year in a population of 325,000,000. The figure is less than the number of deaths committed by police officers which average 900 per year and less than the 692 people killed last year by being beaten, stomped or strangled. It is less than the 65,000 people who killed themselves with illegal drugs. It is less than the low figure of 2,500, or the higher figure of 250,000 people per year (as stated by a recent Johns Hopkins study) who are estimated to die annually by “medical error.” Given that disparity in the numbers, it is obvious that the medical profession does not have a clue as to how many people it accidently kills. Either way, it is more than the number of people killed by assault rifles. Nor do the anti-gun fanatics consider the estimated 1% of the population (about 325,000 people) that CDC believes used guns to successfully defend themselves from violent crime. Equally frightening is that under federal privacy laws, we no longer have access to the medical records of those who use guns to randomly kill strangers. Prior to the HIPA Act of 1996, every one of the mass killers who used guns, was on Prozac or a Prozac-like drug. Since 1996 we have no way of knowing if the rage leading up to mass killings was drug induced. The public has a right to know that fact.
Being able to carry a gun for self-defense is very important to women as murder is the most common reason for work place deaths among women. Most of us would agree that our own lives are one of the most valuable things we have. The government should not be restricting our right to use any reasonable means of providing for our own safety.
We need to educate ourselves. We need to educate our neighbors. They need to see gun owners as normal people who are good neighbors and good citizens. The first step to oppressing a group of people is to de-humanize them or to make the general public believe that they are an evil subculture. How you behave in your community, how you dress and how you act with your neighbors is important. Even if we have disagreements with other groups supporting gun rights, we, as gun owners, need to remain united in the face of the constant attempts by our enemies to divide us. Don’t get caught up in schemes that claim to help you to “work around” the law. Ultimately they fail and make us look bad. Meet the threat head on in the political arena.
The 2020 election cycle has begun. It will be one of critical importance to gun owners. The left hopes to re-capture the senate and presidency. If they do, they will not be kind to us. Now is the time to organize for political action. Now is the time to find and support good candidates to run for office, even if you have to run yourself.