Second Amendment Rights Under Fire After Charlottesville

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Second Amendment Rights Under Fire After Charlottesville

After White Nation­al­ists and their coun­ter­parts caused vio­lence to erupt in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia back in August, Amer­i­cans wit­nessed a very odd occur­rence. Sud­denly, Vir­ginia bureau­crats sought to impinge on our con­sti­tu­tional right to bear arms.

First, Va gov­er­nor Terry McAu­li­ffe very pub­licly and very falsely alleged that “eighty per­cent of the peo­ple here had semi­au­to­matic weapons,” and even went so far as to say that the white suprema­cists in atten­dance “had bet­ter equip­ment than our state police.”

As if all of that wasn’t exag­ger­a­tion enough, Gov­er­nor McAu­li­ffe claimed that these suprema­cists had weapons “stashed around the city.”

Not only was his alle­ga­tion of city­wide con­spir­acy the stuff of comic books but his entire speech missed the mark com­pletely in terms of bedrock real­ity. As a mat­ter of cold, hard fact, the white suprema­cists in the Char­lottesville inci­dent uti­lized nearly every form of weapon imaginable…save for guns.

As any­one who’s fol­lowed the news can tell you, the chief offender at the Unite the Right rally imple­mented a motor vehi­cle as his assault weapon. One wit­ness at the rally was Hunter Wal­lace, a Right wing blog­ger at Occi­den­tal Dis­sent who reported being attacked with “mace, pep­per spray, bricks, sticks and foul liq­uids.” But nowhere does he men­tion firearms.

Much of the anti-​gun rhetoric sur­round­ing the inci­dent has to do with a para­mil­i­tary group that was pho­tographed at the scene, each of them out­fit­ted with cam­ou­flage gear and bran­dish­ing assault rifles. But the prob­lem here is one of false identification.

At the height of the ten­sion in Char­lottesville, the gov­er­nor announced a State of Emer­gency and mem­bers of the National Guard were deployed. As such, there is no rea­son to believe that those who were armed at the protest weren’t actu­ally mem­bers of the National Guard or a pri­vate secu­rity firm.

In fact, state police have even renounced the governor’s claims, insist­ing that they searched for stashed weapons and came up short. “No weapons were located.”

Despite this, the Inter­net blew up with rumors that a gun-​toting mili­tia had silenced free speech when, on the con­trary, those in atten­dance were more than capa­ble of speak­ing their minds. And they did. Quite loudly and violently.

Nev­er­the­less, the pub­lic out­cry over the event trig­gered a domino effect and, in no time at all, the ACLU (Amer­i­can Civil Lib­er­ties Union) was defer­ring to the Left, announc­ing that they would no longer “defend hate groups seek­ing to march with firearms.”

In other words, they are threat­en­ing to strip Amer­i­cans of their First Amend­ment right to march if we exer­cise our Sec­ond Amend­ment free­doms. It’s a dan­ger­ous prece­dent that they are set­ting in the name of pla­cat­ing the gun-​hating PC police.

What the ACLU’s deci­sion tells us is that even those legal watch­dogs who we trust to defend our civil lib­er­ties are, in the end, out to save face rather than pro­tect our inalien­able right to civil dis­obe­di­ence or orga­nized demonstration.

Their announce­ment is also an arbi­trary one since there are already numer­ous legal restric­tions that limit the places and sit­u­a­tions in which bear­ing arms is accept­able. This is true in mul­ti­ple juris­dic­tions. Any respon­si­ble gun owner is already fully aware of the con­se­quences he or she faces if they vio­late extant firearms laws.

The ACLU’s procla­ma­tion is one that runs counter to those laws, one that says they refuse to rep­re­sent orga­ni­za­tions that are com­pli­ant with those laws. In the case of Char­lottesville, the gun laws are less restric­tive than in other states. Any per­son 21 years of age or older can apply for a five-​year con­cealed carry per­mit.

Granted, the ACLU is a pri­vate orga­ni­za­tion and they have every right to select the clients they rep­re­sent at their own dis­cre­tion, but their deci­sion in the wake of Char­lottesville is one that per­pet­u­ates the cur­rent rash of myopic, par­ti­san argu­ments divid­ing our great nation.

Peo­ple want to point fin­gers at the alt-​right, they want to point fin­gers at the “snowflakes,” they want to shame every­one other than them­selves. But what many peo­ple are fail­ing to notice is the real dan­ger at play here.

The Repub­lic of the United States and its free speech has sus­tained itself through awful, unspeak­able attacks, many of them far more cat­a­strophic than even the dis­gust­ing dis­play in Char­lottesville. And through it all, we’ve been able to give voice to all opin­ions, main­tain­ing unity despite our differences.

All of that is com­pro­mised when retreat and sur­ren­der become the sta­tus quo. What the ACLU has done is take a step in that egre­gious direc­tion, a step toward com­pro­mis­ing the core val­ues and lib­er­ties of all for the sake of appeas­ing the few.

It’s almost laugh­able that the alt-​right or the Democ­rats would get behind such a move since los­ing our First and Sec­ond Amend­ment rights would rob us of the priv­i­lege of call­ing Amer­ica a so-​called “democ­racy.” After all, with­out a voice, you have no say and with­out a say, you are no longer liv­ing in a free country.

Loud-​mouthed polit­i­cal wingnuts, whether ultra-​liberal or ultra-​conservative, will never be a threat to the fab­ric of our con­sti­tu­tion. On the other hand, a cul­ture that places more value on sup­pres­sion and cen­sor­ship than con­struc­tive debate will. Once we begin under­min­ing our free­doms, we for­feit what it means to be an American.

As Pres­i­dent Trump said after the Char­lottesville inci­dent, the vio­lence that was wrought could be blamed on “both sides.” And whether you agree with him or not, one thing that we can take away from that is that vio­lence can come at us from any direc­tion, regard­less of our polit­i­cal leanings.

Thus, it is imper­a­tive that every Amer­i­can retain their right to own and carry a gun. Law-​abiding cit­i­zens, even those exer­cis­ing their free­dom to sit in and protest, should be able to pro­tect them­selves against the berserk­ers from both sides of the aisle.

Sam Bocetta is a retired defense con­trac­tor for the U.S. Navy, spe­cial­iz­ing in elec­tronic war­fare and advanced com­puter sys­tems. He now teaches at Algo­nquin Com­mu­nity Col­lege in Ottawa, Canada as a part time engi­neer­ing pro­fes­sor and is the ASEAN affairs cor­re­spon­dent for Gun​News​Daily​.com

After White Nationalists and their counterparts caused violence to erupt in Charlottesville, Virginia back in August, Americans witnessed a very odd occurrence. Suddenly, Virginia bureaucrats sought to impinge on our constitutional right to bear arms.

First, Va governor Terry McAuliffe very publicly and very falsely alleged that “eighty percent of the people here had semiautomatic weapons,” and even went so far as to say that the white supremacists in attendance “had better equipment than our state police.”

As if all of that wasn’t exaggeration enough, Governor McAuliffe claimed that these supremacists had weapons “stashed around the city.”

Not only was his allegation of citywide conspiracy the stuff of comic books but his entire speech missed the mark completely in terms of bedrock reality. As a matter of cold, hard fact, the white supremacists in the Charlottesville incident utilized nearly every form of weapon imaginable…save for guns.

As anyone who’s followed the news can tell you, the chief offender at the Unite the Right rally implemented a motor vehicle as his assault weapon. One witness at the rally was Hunter Wallace, a Right wing blogger at Occidental Dissent who reported being attacked with “mace, pepper spray, bricks, sticks and foul liquids.” But nowhere does he mention firearms.

Much of the anti-gun rhetoric surrounding the incident has to do with a paramilitary group that was photographed at the scene, each of them outfitted with camouflage gear and brandishing assault rifles. But the problem here is one of false identification.

At the height of the tension in Charlottesville, the governor announced a State of Emergency and members of the National Guard were deployed. As such, there is no reason to believe that those who were armed at the protest weren’t actually members of the National Guard or a private security firm.

In fact, state police have even renounced the governor’s claims, insisting that they searched for stashed weapons and came up short. “No weapons were located.”

Despite this, the Internet blew up with rumors that a gun-toting militia had silenced free speech when, on the contrary, those in attendance were more than capable of speaking their minds. And they did. Quite loudly and violently.

Nevertheless, the public outcry over the event triggered a domino effect and, in no time at all, the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) was deferring to the Left, announcing that they would no longer “defend hate groups seeking to march with firearms.”

In other words, they are threatening to strip Americans of their First Amendment right to march if we exercise our Second Amendment freedoms. It’s a dangerous precedent that they are setting in the name of placating the gun-hating PC police.

What the ACLU’s decision tells us is that even those legal watchdogs who we trust to defend our civil liberties are, in the end, out to save face rather than protect our inalienable right to civil disobedience or organized demonstration.

Their announcement is also an arbitrary one since there are already numerous legal restrictions that limit the places and situations in which bearing arms is acceptable. This is true in multiple jurisdictions. Any responsible gun owner is already fully aware of the consequences he or she faces if they violate extant firearms laws.

The ACLU’s proclamation is one that runs counter to those laws, one that says they refuse to represent organizations that are compliant with those laws. In the case of Charlottesville, the gun laws are less restrictive than in other states. Any person 21 years of age or older can apply for a five-year concealed carry permit.

Granted, the ACLU is a private organization and they have every right to select the clients they represent at their own discretion, but their decision in the wake of Charlottesville is one that perpetuates the current rash of myopic, partisan arguments dividing our great nation.

People want to point fingers at the alt-right, they want to point fingers at the “snowflakes,” they want to shame everyone other than themselves. But what many people are failing to notice is the real danger at play here.

The Republic of the United States and its free speech has sustained itself through awful, unspeakable attacks, many of them far more catastrophic than even the disgusting display in Charlottesville. And through it all, we’ve been able to give voice to all opinions, maintaining unity despite our differences.

All of that is compromised when retreat and surrender become the status quo. What the ACLU has done is take a step in that egregious direction, a step toward compromising the core values and liberties of all for the sake of appeasing the few.

It’s almost laughable that the alt-right or the Democrats would get behind such a move since losing our First and Second Amendment rights would rob us of the privilege of calling America a so-called “democracy.” After all, without a voice, you have no say and without a say, you are no longer living in a free country.

Loud-mouthed political wingnuts, whether ultra-liberal or ultra-conservative, will never be a threat to the fabric of our constitution. On the other hand, a culture that places more value on suppression and censorship than constructive debate will. Once we begin undermining our freedoms, we forfeit what it means to be an American.

As President Trump said after the Charlottesville incident, the violence that was wrought could be blamed on “both sides.” And whether you agree with him or not, one thing that we can take away from that is that violence can come at us from any direction, regardless of our political leanings.

Thus, it is imperative that every American retain their right to own and carry a gun. Law-abiding citizens, even those exercising their freedom to sit in and protest, should be able to protect themselves against the berserkers from both sides of the aisle.

Sam Bocetta is a retired defense contractor for the U.S. Navy, specializing in electronic warfare and advanced computer systems. He now teaches at Algonquin Community College in Ottawa, Canada as a part time engineering professor and is the ASEAN affairs correspondent for GunNewsDaily.com