by Marsha Mohr

(Guns Save Life) – President Obama and gun control advocates have said we must do something to control guns “even if it saves one life.”  At what point did one life become more important than the civil rights of 300 million people?

Gun control advocates would judge a hundred million innocent gun owners guilty for the actions of a few evildoers.

This is the antithesis of justice. William Blackstone said, “It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.”

Marsha Mohr.

This country was founded on the principles of individual responsibility and freedom.

However, freedom-hating leftists (the so-called “progressives”) blame society as a whole for the actions of the criminal.  The criminal was “raised in a broken home”, “raised in poverty”,  “lost in the education system”, as if society didn’t do enough and is to blame for the criminal actions of the individual.

The next step after individual responsibility is gone is the removal of individual rights. This has already started with the Patriot Act. The government no longer needs a warrant for search of your individual information, or to eavesdrop and track you.  If they brand you a terrorist you may be held indefinitely without charges being filed.

We as Americans have let our government do this, eroding our fourth, fifth and sixth amendment rights. Now the government wants to further erode the second amendment rights as well and give us more racist and classist gun control.

Fighting for the second amendment does not make you a gun advocate, as the media would label you.  Fighting for the second amendment makes you an advocate of the Constitution of the United States and individual rights.  Those who join in fighting for the second amendment are today’s civil rights advocates, fighting for the individual rights of all Americans.

2 thoughts on “Marsha Mohr: Defenders of the Constitution are today’s civil rights advocates”
  1. Exactly right, it’s about basic human and civil rights.

    The Second Amendment protects a basic human right.

    I often hear that individuals say that they support the Second Amendment and the right to keep and bear arms, but that we need reasonable restrictions to keep people and society safe as no right is unlimited. Or that no one needs a semi-automatic rifle and/or a magazine capable of holding more than ten rounds.

    The vast majority of these public figures and elected officials who say – “I support the Second Amendment and the right to keep and bear arms, but…” do not in reality support the Second Amendment or the right to keep and bear arms at all. Most would be much happier if there was no Second Amendment or right to keep and bear arms. Many of these same individuals in years past argued publicly on the record that there was no such right. Most are unable or unwilling to delineate or even approximate what is protected by the Second Amendment and the right to keep and bear arms. They refuse to articulate what regulations are ultimately prohibited by it, except perhaps banning all arms save single shot black powder flintlock muskets. The phrase expressly added by the framers – that the right – “shall not be infringed” – is ignored and read as a nullity.

    People who oppose the Second Amendment say that no right is unlimited and that we must have “reasonable restrictions,” as if the right were not regulated at all, when in fact it is more heavily regulated than any other enumerated right in the Bill of Rights. We argue over whether it is constitutional to require ID to vote, or whether felons should be barred from voting. Yet we require background checks, ID, and often waiting periods on the purchase of firearms. (And let us be clear on background checks, no new firearms are sold to any individual without that person having gone through a background check before or during the sale. The only firearms sold without a background check are used firearms sold person to person in legal private sales or by criminals in illegal sales.) Not just felons are banned from owning firearms, but anyone guilty of domestic violence or a crime or misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail, as are individuals addicted to drugs or alcohol and those adjudicated mentally ill.

    A First Amendment example is also often given as a reasonable limitation, that one is not free to yell fire in a crowed theater. Well comparably, one is not free to indiscriminately shoot a firearm in a crowed theater either. But, we don’t practice prior restraint on free speech like we do with firearms. We don’t tape or glue individuals mouths shut because they might yell fire in a theater when there is no fire, because if there were a fire in the theater, it would be legal, responsible, and necessary to yell fire. Yet we commonly ban the carrying of firearms because of what someone might do illegally, leaving the unarmed unable to defend themselves from an armed perpetrator who has ignored the prohibition.

    We are told that banning some types of firearms is not an infringement and is a reasonable limitation. If the Second Amendment was written, “A well educated electorate being necessary for the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and read books shall not be infringed.” Would we be fine with people saying, “I support the right to keep and read books but, we’re banning the Bible and the Koran and such because those books have contributed to incidents of massive violence. Or, we are banning books on chemistry and electronics without a license because individuals have used them to make bombs and poison gas. Would we buy the rational that because we could still have lots of books that the right to keep and read books was not seriously compromised or violated?

    The right enumerated in the Second Amendment is not even held to the protections that many un-enumerated rights are given. Routinely individuals are told that unless they can articulate a specific acceptable need to own a particular type of firearm or meet a specifically defined need to carry a firearm for self defense they may not own a particular firearm or carry a firearm. So, why do you need an abortion? Couldn’t you have chosen to use birth control? If you chose to have sex and you weren’t forced to have sex, then why do you need an abortion? Couldn’t you give the child up for adoption surely it not such a great inconvenience or sacrifice? Is there a medical reason you need an abortion, if not why do you need an abortion? If you are going to have an abortion then you must attend a class on abortion on its risks and its effects. After all if it saves one life. So why do you need an AR15 or a magazine that holds over 10 rounds? (the same reason the police do) Couldn’t you use some other means of self defense? (per the National Crime Victimization Survey from the Bureau of Justice Statistics – a firearm is the single most effective means of self defense and the only means of self defense that results in fewer injuries than non-resistance or not defending one’s self – that‘s why police carry them). Couldn’t you call the police and wait for them to arrive? (legally, per the courts, the police are under no obligation to protect you and as any front line officer will tell you – when seconds count the police are only minutes away). Do you carry valuables or do you have a specific credible death threat that you need to carry a firearm? (because your basic right to defend your life should be limited by having to provide acceptable evidence of an acceptable need in the eyes of the state and we should have to provide evidence before we are attacked that we might be attacked). If you are going to carry a firearm you need to attend a class on its risks and how to use it, with a background check – which is the law in a majority of states. If it saves one life, well yes firearms can save lives and actually they often do.

    The Second Amendment was put into the Bill of Rights as an enumerated right specifically to protect it and the framers added as extra emphasis that the right, “shall not be infringed.” It protects the right to defend one’s self and one’s loved ones, and one’s freedom. It was understood that the very adoption of the Constitution, the legal and binding contract between the people and the states was contingent upon the guarantee of the rights protected in the Bill of Rights, so much so that the people and the states would have considered the contract null and void were those rights, including the Second Amendment, not adopted. Explicitly or implicitly voiding parts of the Bill of Rights is a fundamental breach of that contract.

    Yet, the right to keep and bear arms is subjected endlessly to utilitarian arguments of social cost and benefit, ignoring the entire moral and legal basis of our nation and individual rights. As though breaching fundamental tenets of the contract were somehow acceptable for supposed utilitarian reasons, reasons that are often articulated but have never been proven.

    So we hear that England has strict gun control and they have a much lower murder rate than the US. Of course England’s murder rates were much lower than the US before they passed their strict gun ban and their murder rate has remained essentially unchanged in the aggregate of years since the ban, though their rates of violent crime have increased including rates of assault and rape. Their rates of rape and assault are more than double almost triple that of the US. Meanwhile, in the US during the last 20 years there has been significant decreases in violent crime including rape and assault, with the murder rate decreasing by almost half and accidental firearm fatalities falling well over half. Then we are given Australia as an example, after their gun ban their murder rate declined, yes it declined at about the same rate it was declining before the ban at a rate similar to the rate it has declined in US. But unlike the US and like England their violent crime rate has increased such that women are, for example, twice as likely to be raped in Australia as in the US.

    Cross national and cultural comparisons are almost impossible to do on any realistic or useful basis due to the amount of variables that go into the causes of crime and violence as well as differing reporting practices and crime classifications. What we do know, as studies have shown, is that there is no significant correlation between gun control laws, gun ownership rates, and levels of violent crime in or between nations.

    We are told that America is unique among nations in having such frequent and terrible mass shootings. Yet, Europe has two of the four most lethal mass school shootings and in Norway, a country with strict gun control laws, a mass shooting that resulted in 69 deaths just recently occurred.

    We are told that 30 round magazines and semi-auto rifles contribute to these mass shootings and the ease of killing. Yet the most deadly mass shooting in this country at Virginia Tech was done with two pistols with 10 round and some 15 round magazines. The possession of two firearms meant the matter of magazine capacity was moot. The Report of the Virginia Tech. Review Panel appointed by the Governor and charged with examining the shooting and making findings and recommendations reported amongst its findings that a magazine capacity ban would have made no difference.

    Additionally, anyone familiar with firearms also knows that almost all of these mass shootings could have been done just as easily with a revolver and a pump shotgun, as the killers planned their attacks with the express purpose of killing as many defenseless people as possible and thus were in control of the circumstances and situation until armed police or individuals arrived on the scene. The overwhelming majority of these mass shootings, including the most lethal, have been done with handguns. The Sandy Hook shooter had two handguns and could have just as easily killed as many as he did by using them instead of the semi-automatic rifle.

    Why have these shootings recently involved semi-automatic rifles? We know these mass shooters crave fame/infamy and that they read and pay attention to previous mass shootings. We know that the media covers these tragedies 24/7 and reports the number killed and the weapons used. We know that the media focused incessantly on the weapons used in the Aurora shooting – the so called “deadly assault weapon.” Why would a copycat mass shooter not use a so called “assault weapon.” Though, in practical terms they are not the optimum weapon to use in these shootings – pistols are – as they are easier to conceal – may maintain comparable rates of fire – are easier to maneuver and more difficult to grab than a rifle with its longer barrel – and can be operated with one hand.

    Still we are told common sense dictates that gun control laws will reduce violence and violent crime. It only makes sense that fewer guns would result in less violence and murder. Well “common sense” once dictated that the world was flat and that man couldn’t fly, but the world is round and man can fly. And facts are more relevant than feeling or intuitions of so called “common sense.”

    So let’s see the evidence that gun control laws work, a peer reviewed study, an accepted academic study? Perhaps something like this: The National Academy of Sciences issued a 328-page report based on 253 journal articles, 99 books, 43 government publications, a survey of 80 different gun-control laws and some of its own independent study. In short, the panel could find no link between restrictions on gun ownership and lower rates of crime, firearms violence or even accidents with guns. The panel was established during the Clinton administration and all but one of its members were known to favor gun control.

    Show me that the last “Assault Weapons and magazine ban worked” Like this: The previous Assault Weapons and magazine ban per the governments own studies on its effects, (the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Research Council in 2004), concluded that they could find no significant measurable impact on reducing crime.

    Banning guns would make it harder for criminals to get them. Yep, just like banning alcohol worked and just like the war on drugs makes it harder for kids to get drugs. Ask a kid which is harder to get, legal alcohol or illegal drugs like pot? Oh, they can get both easily enough, but illegal drugs are even easier to get than alcohol. So, will it be magically different with guns?

    One would think that if one was going to violate a basic human right of all American citizens that one would have some hard evidence in favor of the proposed laws. Something besides feelings, intuition, or belief. Where is the evidence? Where is the actual proof that we need these laws because they will prevent of reduce violent crime and murder? Is it too much to ask for proof before you deprive individuals of a basic human right as explicitly guaranteed in the Bill of Rights?

    Even if such non-existent proof existed does that mean that the right should still not be respected and other means or solutions attempted that do not violate the right. Is it not incumbent upon us to first seek to exhaust all alternative means of reducing these crimes and violence, before we resort to laws that infringe the basic rights guaranteed within the foundation of our nation? Are proposals being made to ban or restrict news coverage and reporting of these tragedies that lead to copycat killings? If that isn’t even considered, since it would violate the First Amendment, why are we intent on passing laws that violate the Second Amendment?

    Who uses an AR15 for defense? During the LA riots store owners protected their stores and lives with them, during Katrina home owners protected their homes and neighborhoods with them against looters, just this last week a fifteen year old protected himself and his siblings from home invaders and a store owner protected himself from robbers. There are hundreds if not thousands of other instances some reported, most not. The police and border patrol use them when faced by the same criminals as citizens.

    But might they not just as well have defended themselves with other firearms, with shotguns, or other rifles, or pistols? Mostly the answer would be yes, yes they could, and that same exact answer applies to the mass shooters who chose to use that same weapon.
    There are circumstances, related to the Second Amendment, that would make these semi-automatic rifles more suitable than pistols or shotguns due to considerations of range but those remain unrelated to their use either in self defense or crime.

    Still people who carry or want to carry a firearm for self defense must be paranoid and fear ridden as the odds are they won’t need to use it. Just like people who have smoke alarms, wear seat-belts, buy home owners insurance, or wear a motorcycle helmet are paranoid and live in fear. As the old saying goes, “better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.”

    But not that many people actually use a firearm in self-defense. Well not exactly – surveys consistently show that hundreds of thousands of people if not millions use a gun to defend themselves every year. Thirteen surveys by researchers, (none of whom were affiliated with the NRA or other pro-gun organizations but some of whom were affiliated with gun control organizations), have found the anywhere from 800,000 to 2.5 million people use a gun in self-defense each year. The federal governments own survey for the Department of Justice resulted in an estimate of 1.5 million defensive gun uses per year.

    But only highly trained professionals are capable of using a gun in self defense. Well leaving aside the immediately above statistics that argue otherwise, the National Crime Victim Survey (NCVS) also as referenced further above says otherwise. Individuals who use firearms as a means of self defense have fewer injuries than those who use any other means of self defense and are most successful at preventing the criminal from completing their crime – which is especially important if that crime is assault, rape, or murder.

    That is why the right to carry a firearm outside the home for self defense is something that right to keep and bear arms activists have worked hard to regain and re-establish throughout the country. But, allowing people to carry guns outside the home will make, “blood run in the streets” make our towns and cities “the wild west” and “turn common traffic accidents into shoot outs.” Those were the “common sense” warnings of individuals, experts, and gun control activists and groups – and they never came true. Individuals licensed to carry have been shown on average to be as law abiding as the police. The have also been shown to be even less likely than police to accidentally shoot or injure an innocent person, as they are at the scene and don’t have to react and determine who the bad guy is unlike the police when they arrive. In the over twenty years that right to carry has grown to become the law of the land the rate of violent crime and murder have all continued to decline. Per the research of John Lott the argument has not become whether right to carry increases violent crime, but rather whether it reduces crime of not. This was verified by the National Academy of Sciences report as begun under the Clinton administration which found no significant negative impact from right to carry laws.

    But the heart of the issue over firearms in this country, one that is rarely addressed by gun control advocates or proponents of gun control laws, is the issue of a basic human right or in law, a civil right. It is encapsulated in this simple quote in response to the question of why do you “need” an AR15? “I don’t ‘need’ an AR15 any more than Rosa Parks ‘needed’ to sit in the front of that bus.”

    The NRA and the right to keep and bear arms movement was for many years moribund in the face of few national changes in firearms laws except for the National Firearms Act of 1934 which regulated rarely owned or used firearms such as machine guns. The 1934 act was originally passed in a response to gangland violence related to Prohibition such as the St. Valentines Day Massacre. Many Jim Crow laws and anti-immigrant firearms laws and restrictions also remained in place and most gun owners thought little of the laws or restrictions. Most NRA members were hunters or sport shooters.

    Two things happened in the decade of the 60’s that changed all that forever. The Civil Rights movement to create in reality equality under the law for black Americans, a movement that had been growing for decades and finally blossomed to fruition. The second was the National Firearms Act of 1968.

    The Civil Rights movement created a national awareness of civil rights, including the right to keep and bear arms. Black civil rights groups such as the Deacons for Defense, the Congress for Racial Equality (CORE), and the Black Panthers all embraced the right to keep and bear arms as a small part of their struggle for equal rights, sparking the nascent flame of the right to keep and bear arms.

    That flame began to burn with the NFA of 1968 when gun owners found themselves stuck suddenly with a new layer of federal gun control laws and restrictions. Anger grew over the laws and led to strife within the NRA the largest national gun rights organization, as many gun owners felt their rights had been betrayed by the old school leadership of hunters, sport shooters, and hobbyists. Led by Right to Keep and Bear Arms activists, (I think the current code word for derision is Second Amendment absolutists), the old leadership was voted out and a new leadership devoted to the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, (RKBA), as a civil right was installed. Continuing dissatisfaction with the perceived moderation of the NRA led to the birth and/or growth of many more national organizations such as Gun Owners of America (GOA), The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), and many more; much as the Civil Rights movement in the 60’s led to the birth of many Civil Rights organizations.

    With a renewed purpose to repeal many discriminatory gun control laws, the NRA and like organizations began to wage the war to restore the RKBA. One of the first battle fields was stopping the gun control movement and repealing as much of the 1968 NFA as possible. Eventually that battle, with some defeats, was mostly won by the late 80’s. The focus then became offensive and changed to the right to carry a firearm for self defense. A right that had been lost piecemeal through Jim Crow laws and laws like New York’s Sullivan law.

    For more than twenty years the fight for the right to carry a firearm for self defense and non-discriminatory gun laws has been going on – from one state that allowed carry with no license, eight states that were shall issue (all lawful citizens could get a carry license by completing standard background and/or training requirements), twenty-six states that were may issue (lawful citizens might or might not get a license depending on the laws – some were fairly easy and some were highly restrictive and discriminatory), and fifteen were right denied (no lawful carry allowed). By 2012 that had changed to four states unrestricted, thirty-seven shall issue, eight may issue, and one (Illinois) right denied.

    Today there are over 8 million individuals licensed to carry a firearm in self defense. That does not include those individuals who reside in states where no license is required. Today only 8 states restrict through may issue laws who may carry a firearm for self defense and only one – Illinois, bans carrying a firearm in self defense. The fight for the right to self defense and against discriminatory “may issue” laws has been the work of state by state legislative battles waged by the NRA and other national and state level Right to Keep and Bear Arms (RKBA) organizations.

    Those decades of battle reinforced by the imposition of the 1994 Assault Weapons and magazine ban forged a national RKBA civil rights movement. That RKBA movement was further reinforced by the Supreme Courts eventual explicit recognition of an individual right to keep and bear arms, through Heller 2008 and later the McDonald case 2010 that established that the RKBA was a fundamental right that applied to all citizens and all states.

    The NRA sits on the tip of the ice-berg of the RKBA movement. It’s over 4.5 million paid members makes it by far the largest civil rights lobbyist group – but there are multiple millions of more in the RKBA movement who do not belong to any formal organization but who none the less vote and follow the RKBA movement. Though characterized by many politicians who oppose the RKBA and the media as extremist – within the RKBA movement the NRA is seen as moderate and often too willing to compromise. Many past NRA members have left over this perceived weakness or lack of principle and joined more hard line organizations like Gun Owners of America (GOA). Together these other national organizations total another one to two million more affiliated members. The core of the RKBA movement however resides in the State and local RKBA organizations who were the real muscle to get right to carry passed in state after state.

    These organized groups of millions of RKBA activists are supported by even more millions of American gun owners who believe the there is a “Right to Keep and Bear Arms” and that that right embodies the right to self defense and the right to bear arms if necessary in defense of liberty against tyranny, foreign or domestic.

    And this is were the RKBA movement is totally misunderstood by most of its opponents to their detriment and folly. Most opponents give lip service to the RKBA and its supporters but do not really see it as a true right essential to freedom but rather as an anarchic vestige from a barbaric past. Whilst those in the RKBA movement understand themselves as part of a vibrant civil rights movement, protecting a basic human right as essential to freedom as the right to life. For as black American’s rightly understood that the written promise of equality under the law was empty without the ability to actually live equally; so RKBA activists recognize that written freedoms and the right to life are meaningless without the concomitant means and ability to defend that life and those freedoms. Thus, they fight tenaciously to not only keep arms but to bear them. They resist with ferocity any attempts of derail or neuter the RKBA into the legal fiction of a government granted privilege.

    Gun control advocates abetted by the main stream media with few exceptions, ridicule the RKBA movement. And make claims to a right to feel safe or to feel secure that trumps the RKBA which provides an actual measure of real safety and security. There is of course no right to feel safe or feel secure. Feelings are a state of mind that cannot be legislated or codified into law, because feeling are a function of individual belief. I am sure many white southerners and more white northerners than many would admit would have felt safer if black Americans would have just stayed in their place. Many would have felt more secure if blacks stayed on the back of the bus and just did as they were permitted and not frighteningly as they demanded, true freedom and equality.

    Of course gun control advocates are in deep denial of this truth. That they are the one’s putting up signs and endorsing laws that say – no colored/no guns allowed. Laws that seek to restrict the rights of their fellow Americans because they cannot conceive of living with the freedom and concomitant responsibility of providing for their security and liberty.

    Their solution to gun violence in schools and elsewhere are legal fictions with signs, called Gun Free Zones with no armed security. Their solution when that proves illusionary is to make even larger Gun Free Zones, as in the city of Chicago, and when that fails they call for a statewide and finally a nationwide Gun Free Zone. Hoping that banning one hundred year old technology will make them “feel” safe.

    They fear black military looking rifles and in ignorance seek to ban them to feel safe and to feel secure, when such firearms are no more deadly in such recent close range mass shootings as a pistol.

    RKBA advocates push for an end to Gun Free Zones – Second Amendment Free Zones – wanting at minimum only Gun Free Zones with armed security that would provide a measure of real security and protection for people.

    RKBA advocates see a safer society as being a society of sheepdogs and not sheep.
    And God forbid that we actually discuss the RKBA as a guard against the tyranny in this country. The eye rolls of the press and the gun control advocates and many politicians would cause a breeze. The smirks and snaky comments would cover the floor, walls, and ceiling.

    The truth is that more than 100 million citizens were enslaved and killed by their own governments this past century and the slaughter continues. Yet the civilized world according to some has moved past this danger, modern mankind is immune. Ironic that many of those in the Gun Control movement who mock American Exceptionalism none the less practice their own brand of myopic exceptionalism with their naïve belief that it can’t ever happen here.

    Of course if the conversation can continue past that hurdle of denial, the next statement meant to end all serious consideration and discussion is: “Bubba and his shotgun isn’t going to stand up to F-16’s, drones, tanks, nuclear missiles and the most powerful military in the modern world.”

    Of course this betrays a superficial understanding of resistance and the real world application and consequences of force: ignorance of asymmetrical warfare as practiced by insurgencies throughout the world, presumes a military force that would retain monolithic cohesion if ordered to fire on American citizens, a citizenry unaware and totally reactive without the experience of the millions of recently retired military among them, no disruption of supply and secure bases when surrounded by insurgents. No dependence for re-supply from civilian contractors honeycombed with spies and saboteurs, no significant military defections, loss of public support for using bombs and heavy ordinance on American cities and populations, and etc….

    That is a hypothetical yet potential future and one devoutly to be avoided at all costs, all but the cost of the loss of freedom. What is happening today is that a civil rights movement (whether the media or politicians or a segment of the population wish to acknowledge it or not) has grown up through years of struggle for right to carry and the 1994 ban and it has reached the point of mass where they aren’t going to go back to the back of the bus. There will be massive civil disobedience when it comes to new laws state and federal. All the laws, police lines, or Bull Connor’s like Andrew Cuomo will fall.

    But the opponents of the RKBA are blind, they have no clue and many otherwise good people will be the victim of their blindness. They believe they are the future when they are the past holding on to power while the train of freedom, of the future, bears down upon them. They follow on in the footsteps of Lester Maddox, Bull Connor, and Orval Faubus, intent on using the power of the state to deny the most basic of human rights.

  2. Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem.

    I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude.

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