Hunter Gray hunterbadbear at hunterbear.org
Thu Jun 26 09:42:26 MDT 2008


Thanks to today's ruling by the United States Supreme Court in the DC gun
case -- 5-4 -- the Second Amendment's status as a full member of the Bill of
Rights of the U.S. Constitution, and the rights of several million gun
owners in this country, are now relatively assured.

We don't always approve of the current Court's rulings -- but we certainly
do on this one. [And it's good to see the barbaric death penalty take another
judicial hit -- as it did yesterday.]

This specific ruling, widely expected for well over a year, has been a long,
long time coming. What's been surprising is that it's taken the USSC this
long to reach this significant point. It's been inconceivable to many of
us, gun owners and many students of history [and law], that the framers of
the Constitution would install any Right in the Bill of Rights on a
second-class basis.

But for generations, the Court has been ambivalent on this. The Second
contains the one word, "militia," which has served until now as a major
snag, and has been used by many liberals and law enforcement officials to
demean the full individual rights status of the Amendment -- even as these
forces ignored the most critical phrase, "the right of the people to keep
and bear Arms shall not be infringed."

No longer. The Second's real status is now secure. The Court recognizes
that, among other dimensions, "militia" in the early days meant a generally
well armed citizenry. This does not mean that the "slippery slope" problems
will disappear. The First and the Fourth and the Fourteenth Amendments,
among others, have always been recognized as as full individual rights -- 
but they continue to require "eternal vigilance" with respect to their

From, among other things, a political perspective, this ruling will
significantly reduce the "earned paranoia" felt by most American gun
owners [including this writer.] We well remember the systematic and
often vicious attacks on gun owners, firearms in general, and the
Second. Much of this occurred, year after year, during the Bill Clinton
administration. Civil liberties groups, such as the ACLU, and many
generally committed civil libertarians, remained "discreetly" silent. The
NRA did yeoman service in protecting the rights of gun owners -- often
incurring denigrating attacks of the worst sort [e.g., accused of supporting
para-militarism -- which NRA has consistently and explicitly opposed.]
In the midst of this, NRA membership grew from about 2.5 million to the
well over 4 million of today.

The Court obviously recognizes that various jurisdictional settings will
wish measures of "gun control" based on respective exceptionalism. But these
will now have to be measured against the formal recognition that the Second
is now rooted in hard-rock, now and forever.

>From age seven on, I personally have been an avid gun owner. At 15, I was a
founder of our Junior National Rifle Association club at Flagstaff [Arizona]
High [Northern Arizona junior marksmanship champs] and served as its
president. In those days, we opposed J. Edgar Hoover's "gun registration"
proposals with zeal [and later at least I had many more reasons to oppose
Hoover and his nefarious agency.] I've been an NRA member from that time
onward and a Life member for most of my life, presently holding the highest
grade of NRA Life membership.

The NRA was founded in 1871 by Union Army veterans. Its primary focus
has always been the defense of the rights of gun owners -- and the integrity
of the Second Amendment. And it traditionally sponsors firearms safety
courses and is active in conservation causes. Politically, it's

>From those high school days onward, through the Army and far beyond to this
present moment, I've spoken and written and published widely on the critical
importance of the individual's right to keep and bear firearms. Early on,
my emphasis shifted somewhat from hunting [which I certainly support] to
principled individual self-defense. This has included self-defense against
armed adversaries of social justice [e.g., the Ku Klux Klan and company
goons and comparable elements] as well as criminals. [This position has
certainly engendered flak from openly frightened as well as stealthy
proponents of gun control measures -- but flak, verbal or physical, has
certainly never stopped me from pursuing that which I believe is right.]

Nor has it stopped a great multitude of others. And we all now stand at the
top of a most significant mountain peak.

I have, close at hand here in Idaho, a loaded Marlin 45/70 lever action
rifle and a loaded .22 Magnum Ruger revolver. [I also have the
impressive and rather archaic Family Tomahawk in my possession.]
Since we moved to Idaho eleven years ago, it's clear that at least
a few locals are hostile. There have been a number of disturbing
night-time things.

As I have previously written:

The causes of crime are complex and involved: racism and ethnocentrism, 
economic deprivation, urban congestion -- and, in that context, 
inter-personal and value alienation. They can't be effectively touched by 
diversionary and gimmicky (e.g., "gun control") legislation. But 
diversionary and gimmicky legislation can hurt good people and profoundly 
damage the foundation stones of any good society. 

For much more on this, see this representative essay of mine, "Civil Rights
and Self-Defense" from Against the Current [excellent socialist journal]

And for much very contemporary comment,

Yours, Hunter [Hunter Bear]

Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
and Ohkwari'

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