Gun Rights Require Eternal Vigilance
August 22, 2011
The left-wing media and conservatives generally agree that the First Amendment to the Constitution, which protects freedom of the press, must be preserved. They part company on the Second Amendment to the Constitution. The right to keep and bear arms is as clear and concise as any amendment to the Constitution, yet the liberal media attacks it constantly. It is wrong to restrict the press, but right to restrict the right to bear arms. There is no logic to this argument and it is totally unconstitutional, yet the media assault is relentless. Not only does the media hypocrisy aggressively promote gun restrictions on law abiding American citizens, it gives sensationalistic coverage to every crime committed with a gun. High school and office shootings, armed attacks on police and all gun crimes are treated as if every American citizen who owns a gun is likely to commit one of these horrific acts. The truth is that all of us have the right to own a gun to protect ourselves from these “crazies” who commit these crimes. What is frequently ignored in the press is when private citizens save their own lives, or the lives of others, because they WERE armed and were able to kill or repel the attacker.
A recent story comes to mind about a Wal-Mart employee who thwarted serious injury or death to himself and his colleagues by confronting his attackers with his personal weapon, which he happened to be carrying at the time of the incident. The media did promote this story because, after all, the employee was suspended from his job because it was against Wal-Mart regulations to carry a firearm on the job!
However, there is a much more subtle and dangerous methodology abused by our liberal media friends. When the anti-gun enthusiasts engineer a plan to weaken the Second Amendment, the media give it limited coverage. If a “gun story” is embarrassing to those who support limits on the right to bear arms, the press downplays the event. Pro-gun groups have to bring these stories to the attention of the general populace. George Washington warned us over two centuries ago that “liberty will require eternal vigilance.” While the clutter of other major news stories is out there, will the people of America be able to peer through it all and protect our Second Amendment rights? Some recent examples should be cause for concern by defenders of the right to bear arms.
Recently, under the direction of the Obama administration, the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms implemented a program called “Project Gunrunner.” Under this ill-advised program, a variant of AK-47 assault weapons were provided to Mexican drug cartels so that they could be “tracked” and thus lead authorities to the kingpins. The stated goal was ultimately to “deny these weapons to the drug cartels.” ATF agents and gun dealers, who sold these firearms to criminals, warned their superiors that these weapons would get into the hands of the wrong people and could cost the lives of American law enforcement officers. Their pleadings fell upon deaf ears. As warned, the unthinkable happened. About 15 miles from the Mexican border, in Southern Arizona, Agent Brian Terry of the Border Tactical Unit was ambushed and murdered by criminals using the very guns provided to them by the U.S. Government.
Terry had been a cop in Detroit and an Iraq Marine veteran and knew how to handle trouble. The only problem was that under the “rules of engagement,” he was armed with “non-lethal bean bags,” so as not to harm the attackers, who carried weapons similar to AK-47 assault rifles. This whole episode is an outrage of the highest magnitude. But this was President Obama, the staunch supporter of gun control. The media could not afford to embarrass him with this fiasco. Could you imagine if the President had been named Bush and this had happened? The only reason that we know about this incident is that the Phoenix office of ATF “blew the whistle” to Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) the ranking member of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. Grassley and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) investigated and brought this to the attention of the public. Will there be criminal charges? Not if the current administration has anything to say about it.
As if this episode were not bad enough, Roger Stockton of Western Representation PAC, in a letter to pro-gun supporters, informed them that Governor Rick Scott of Florida signed first-in-the-nation legislation recently that “prevented doctors from asking for and recording information as to whether or not a family had a gun in the house.” Did you hear about this in the media? I was shocked to discover, when reading Stockton’s letter, that many pediatricians across America had included questions regarding gun ownership in their standard patient documentation. Why would this happen? Those defending the action stated that it was “to protect children from accidental death.” Interesting that there are no questions on the forms regarding other causes of accidental death, such as swimming pools, loose fitting screens on high rise apartment buildings, household cleaning materials, adult drugs or elevated decks on houses.
In recent years there has been a push to have physicians record medical information on electronic files, which is not a bad thing on the surface, assuming patients concur. However, ObamaCare directs that these records be stored in central government files, which allows the feds to have access to information on millions of households that own guns. Stockton’s letter points out that the Brady Center for Gun Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics have filed suit in federal court to overturn the Florida law. With the track record of Eric Holder on Second Amendment issues, it is reasonable to expect that the Obama administration will join in this suit. Again, the liberals have framed the argument in such a way that we should be willing to list our guns on the form because it could “save the lives of children.” Stockton concludes by saying, “Why not provide a handout on the safety for not only guns but hot tubs, swimming pools, chemicals, etc?” I think we know the answer to that one.
There is another very troubling example of the absolute hypocrisy of the media in dealing with the issue of guns. Last May in a 5-4 split decision in Brown vs. Plata, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered nearly 46,000 convicted felons to be released in the state of California because of “overcrowding” in the state’s prisons. This decision upheld an earlier court decision to release these prisoners because to keep them in prison would be “cruel and unusual punishment” and thus banned under the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Isn’t it ironic that, when the left wants to give criminals a break, they use the Constitution to support their argument, but when it comes to supporting the Second Amendment, to protect law-abiding citizens, no such argument is made? To their everlasting credit, Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Thomas, Alito and Scalia, in a scathing dissent, labeled the decision a “judicial travesty.” Where did I learn the details of this case? Not from the mainstream media, but rather from an editorial in the August, 2011 edition of “America’s 1st Freedom” by NRA Executive V.P, Wayne LaPierre.
Thousands of felons, many of whom committed violent crimes with guns, released to once again prey on the citizenry, and not a whimper of protest by the media. Suppose the state of California had proposed handing out 46,000 previously confiscated weapons to law-abiding citizens who needed a gun for protection, but could not afford to purchase one? Could you imagine the coverage and the outrage by the left and their cohorts in the media? Which is more dangerous to the public? Releasing criminals back into the population that have the propensity to commit crimes with firearms, or allowing a similar number of honest law-abiding citizens to access a weapon for protection?
George Washington never heard of gun control, but he knew that liberty had to be protected at all costs. If we are to maintain our Second Amendment rights, we had better remember his warning that liberty requires “eternal vigilance.” You can be certain of one thing. Every single day the left is aggressively on the move to weaken this amendment. We better be prepared to defend and protect it.
Former Senator Bob Smith (R-NH), known as “Senator Bob,” has joined Accuracy in Media as a Special Contributor. His columns and commentaries on media and politics will be available on a regular basis on the AIM website at www.aim.org. He can be contacted at email@example.com.