6/08 Preparing For Battles To Come

The Uncompromisable Right To Keep And Bear Arms:
Preparing Now for the Battles that are Sure to Come
by Larry Pratt, Executive Director, Gun Owners of America

For years Gun Owners of America (GOA) and its sister organization Gun Owners’ Foundation (GOF) have worked tirelessly in support of a robust Second Amendment guarantee of the right of individual Americans to keep and bear arms. Fighting against gun control in the trenches — in the state and federal courts, in the court of public opinion, in state legislatures, city councils and Congress — every step of the way is a dog fight. And GOA has become known as the “no compromise” gun lobby.

Our Supreme Court brief in the Heller case was recognized by USA Today as so distinctive that our GOF legal team was invited recently to write the counter-point to that paper’s pro-gun control position.

In our battle to defend the Second Amendment, we have encountered opposition of two types.

The first is the open enemy — militant foes of guns bent on reading the Second Amendment out of the Constitution as a historic anachronism. I have always thought that these people have their values exactly backward — they put their faith in the government, and they fear the people. They support gun control despite the Second Amendment.

The second type of opposition comes from an unexpected source — those who seem to be on our side. They believe the Second Amendment protects an individual right, and that it prohibits outright bans on firearms, but they then turn around and concede government’s authority to establish “reasonable” gun control. They accept gun control under the Second Amendment.

Either way, both groups would allow gun control, which has been slowly sucking the life out of our constitutional rights.

Today, however, we stand on the threshold of an opportunity to breathe new life into the Second Amendment. On March 18, 2008, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments as to whether Washington, D.C.’s draconian handgun ban violated the Second Amendment. Political pundits on both sides of the issue appear to agree that the Court is going to rule that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms, not the right of a state to arm its militia. This is the good news.

But the bad news is that no one really knows what judicial protection of that individual right will emerge out of the High Court. Some experts are predicting that the justices will rule in favor of a relatively anemic right, one subject to “reasonable” gun control regulations in the interests of “public safety.” Others are forecasting that the Court will rule that the Second Amendment right is a fundamental one, subject to “heightened” or even “strict” judicial scrutiny — whatever that means.

As many of you already have observed, we dare not wait for the Court’s ruling before planning our next step, lest those who support a watered-down individual right to keep and bear arms snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory.

To that end, we at Gun Owners Foundation are establishing a special Defend Our Guns (DOG) fund to allow our committed and courageous legal team to lay the groundwork for the next battle in the Second Amendment war between those of us who love liberty and those who would allow the government to disarm us as the first step to our own enslavement.

If you believe that we must compromise to gain favor with those in government, and be pragmatic, you should not support the DOG fund.

If you believe that we have already lost, and the best we can do is trim our sails so as to avoid a total ban, you will not agree with what we are doing.

If you are fearful of telling the government that the main reason the Second Amendment was written was to control THEM, you will need to find a pro-compromise group you can join. That will be easy to find.

But if you believe that the Second Amendment recognizes a pre-existing God-given right, you need to stand with us.

If you believe that compromise on the Second Amendment is a dirty word, you are our kind of people.

Pardon the phrase, but, if you have a dog in this fight, we need you to join with us.

We dare not leave the battle up to the compromisers. We are asking you to donate as much as you can as often as you can to prepare our legal attack DOGs for the next court fight.

You can join this effort by making a tax deductible contribution to Gun Owners Foundation’s DOG fund by going here: www.gunowners.com/dogfund.htm

To achieve victory, first we must seek it.