30 December 2010

Time And Change

My many friends and colleagues who have fought the arms wars, and were in the trenches before me, have told me about the heady, dark days back in 1989.

That is when anti-gun laws swept the nation following a shooting at a McDonald's restaurant in California. In many cities, as in Ohio's capitol city of Columbus, laws were passed that viciously restricted firearms ownership. Or caused outright bans. Columbus city officials twice pushed to ban competition rifles, and twice Peoples Rights Organization filed suit -- and won federal cases both times. Other cities had similar experiences, and local pro-gun groups sprung up all across the United States to do everything they could to stop the push to take away basic freedoms of law abiding Americans. Some states instituted outright bans that withstood court challenges. Or passed registration schemes, simply saying they weren't confiscating, just wanting to know where such firearms were held. Then within a year or two changing their minds (now that they knew who owned such guns) and requiring they be turned in within a few months or the owners (who had registered their guns honestly thinking the government was telling the truth) would have felony charges filed against them.

I know people here in Ohio who in the years following 1989 felt they likely would wind up in prison, for there was no way they were going to give up their firearms. I know of people who bought land in order to bury firearms for the future, for the same reason. I know prominent people in important positions in Ohio, people with names you would recognize, who were convinced they would die in jail. Again, because they had weighed the possibilities and would not comply -- would not give up their firearms -- if ordered to do so.

These are not stereotyped crazy gun wingnut types that the Left likes to scare the general populace with. These were -- are -- doctors, lawyers, realtors, state employees, city employees, blue collar workers, white collar workers, architects, contractors, retirees . . . . you name it!

What would have happened was the ultimate in civil disobedience, no different than a woman who refused to give up her seat on a bus in the deep south. To do the right thing. To make a difference. To teach all Americans what it is to stand up for your rights.....

Fast forward to today. In talking with one colleague yesterday, he is still amazed. Thinking back to 1989, and to today, where we have a court ruling from the Ohio Supreme Court affirming the state's general law putting all firearms regulation in the hands of Ohio lawmakers. The recent victories over draconian gun laws in Chicago, and before that Washington DC. The passage of concealed carry laws in Ohio some years back after 15 years of slow, slow, but steady progress. The very fact that democrats, generally anti-gun across the nation, no longer talk about gun control in elections because it is obvious the argument is a poison pill that in the past decade continually sinks their party.

Time and change. Interestingly, firearms owners who see forward movement tend to quit joining groups, and no longer get fired up. Because they think everything is said and done. Things will be better now. True that, but the question is, for how long? The other side, when it wins (which fortunately for us good guys has not happened for a while), continues to push the fight. Like an army, not content with achieving the current goal, strives to take the next hill.

Pro-freedom, pro-gun advocates and supporters need to keep pushing. To not get complacent. To not be apathetic. For the other side is digging in to continue their fight even though their nose is bloodied and they've got a few broken bones.

The cause for freedom, the fight for freedom is won by sustained campaigns. Coordinated movement, strategies and tactics, proven time and again in certain states can be replicated in others. I only wish that stalwarts like Neil Knox, founder of The Firearms Coalition, who passed several years ago, and Aaron Zellman, the genius behing Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (who passed on 21 December of this year) could have seen what happened yesterday. In Neil's case, he missed the DC and Chicago supreme court victories, too. I know he would have smiled. I hope Neil and Aaron are both smiling today at what has transpired in Ohio. Neil knewmany of the advocates in Ohio, including this author, and came here about 17 years ago to conduct a grassroots training exercises so that we may take back the rights that were being bartered away by politicians seeking votes.

Ladies and gentlemen, keep fighting. Just because the tide has been turned from the very dark days of 1989 and beyond doesn't mean everyone can rest on their laurels. There is still much, MUCH to be done.

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