Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty

Editorial by Harwood Loomis for The M1911 Pistols Organization

As a general rule, The M1911 Pistols Organization does not engage in politics. There are gun owners and 1911 owners who belong to both major political parties in the United States, probably some who belong to at least the larger of the non-major parties, and I know for a fact that there are 1911 owners and members of The M1911 Pistols Organization who don’t belong to any political party. Discussions of partisan politics all too often devolve into rancor and name calling. We don’t need that here.

Nonetheless, the year 2020 is a presidential election year in the United States, and many of the candidates in the Democratic party seem to be engaging in a contest to see which of them can be the most virulently anti-gun. (All in the name of “common sense,” of course.) Meanwhile, as I write this President Trump gave a major speech just a few days ago in which he affirmed his support of the Second Amendment.

Fine. In the national level, in the campaign for the presidency, the lines seem to be clearly drawn. However, while the scramble for the Democratic nomination has been playing out, other forces have been at work, and that is what this column is about.

Thanks at least in part to President Trump (whether to a major or minor extent I don’t know), Democratic party initiatives in the Congress to enact major new anti-gun (of course, they call it “gun control,” not “anti-gun”) laws have failed. For those who have been spending too much time in the past several years behind closed doors, out in the world two big players who are fanatically anti-gun—George Soros and Michael Bloomberg—have been reaching into their extremely deep pockets to fund anti-gun initiatives, and phony “grass roots” gun control organizations such as Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, and Everytown for Gun Safety. Gun rights activists on the pro-gun side have predicted for some time that the Bloomberg and Soros funded groups would shift their focus from trying to ram anti-gun laws through the Congress to a more incremental approach: enacting anti-gun laws in the individual states one or two at a time, until all the dominoes have fallen and there are no more “free” states left.

It’s another side to the anti-gunners’ “divide and conquer” strategy. For those who took an “It can’t happen here” attitude—it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee. For anyone who doesn’t already know about it, I strongly urge you to fire up your browser’s search engine and start researching anti-gun proposals in Virginia and Arizona.

“Virginia and Arizona? But those are pro-gun, freedom-loving states.” Well, maybe they were, but Bloomberg’s money has been spread around in both, and in both states’ legislatures there are draconian anti-gun laws being proposed. In Virginia, the package has already passed in their lower house and is now in the upper chamber for action. There’s a very good chance it will pass and, if it does, the governor has promised that he will sign it.

More recently, a new “assault weapons” ban has been proposed in Arizona. We thought the New York SAFE Act and the post-Sandy Hook anti-gun package in Connecticut were bad. The proposed bill in Arizona is worse—much worse. As a counterpoint, Connecticut tightened their definition of “assault weapon,” turning all AR-15, AK-47 and similar type rifles from legal “post ban” sporting rifles into “assault weapons” with the stroke of the governor’s pen. BUT … Connecticut grandfathered existing so-called “assault weapons” if the owners registered them with the State Police. Registration was free, and a one-time requirement. Fill out a form with the make, model, caliber, and serial number, send it to the State Police by the deadline, and a few weeks later the owner received a certificate to show that the so-called “assault weapon” is legal. That’s all there was to it.

In Arizona, the proposed law will also ban the manufacture, sale, importation and possession of so-called “assault weapons.” And there will be a grandfather/registration provision. BUT … the proposed Arizona law would require current owners to undergo a NEW background check to register their lawfully-owned firearms. There will be a registration fee. And, the registration will have to be renewed annually, WITH a new background check for each and every renewal. You want draconian? Gentle readers, THAT’s my idea of draconian.

You can read the entire text of the proposed Arizona bill here. Please take note that this bill is labeled by its sponsors as an "assault weapons" and magazines bill but, as is usually the case with anti-gun politics, the devil is in the details. The definition of "assault weapon" in this proposed bill includes a lot more than scary black AR-15s and AK-47s. It includes the following:

  • (a) Means a semiautomatic rifle that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine.
  • (b) Means a semiautomatic pistol or any semiautomatic centerfire rifle with a fixed magazine that has the capacity to accept more than ten rounds of ammunition.

That's right—any semi-automatic rifle with a detachable magazine. That means the faithful Ruger Ranch Rifle would become an "assault weapon." The ubiquitous Ruger 10/22 would become an "assault weapon." No semi-automatic pistol or rifle would be allowed to have magazines holding more than ten rounds. Not even fixed magazines. That nice little Henry H001 lever action .22 holds 15 rounds of .22LR. Guess what? Under this proposed bill, it's an "assault weapon."

Arizona's newest .22 rimfire, lever action, tubular magazine "assault weapon"

Scary, isn't it? I hope so, because we're going to be seeing such bills popping up in the legislatures of other states in the years to come, and we have to be prepared to defeat them.

I’m ranting about this because I hope to encourage each and every member of The M1911 Pistols Organization and every reader of this on-line magazine to pay attention to this trend. Bloomberg and Soros have a LOT of money, and they hate guns. They are going to continue to fund these initiatives, a few states at a time. Pro-gun and pro-Second Amendment advocates simply cannot sit back and hope that someone else will stand up for our rights. There is no standard definition of an “assault weapon.” Once they have all the AR-15s and AK-47s, they’ll expand the definition to include more guns. When they have all those, they’ll expand the definition still further, until—if we’re lucky—we might still be able to own a single-shot .22 rimfire.

Please—don’t be one of those gun owners who sits back and says, “I hunt. I don’t need an AR-15 so I’m not going to get involved.” NO! That’s what the anti-gunners want. They want to pit gun owner against gun owner. It makes their work easier. Don’t be fooled. They may not be after your cherished hunting rifle this year but, if they get the AR-15s this year, they’ll be back for your hunting rifle before you know it. So it’s important for ALL gun owners to get involved in stopping this creeping anti-gun cancer now, before it can spread and metastasize any further.

To wrap this up, I’m going to ask you all to read a blog by a law enforcement officer who posts on the Internet as “Lawdog.” He expresses what’s happening very well, and I hope you’ll take his words to heart.

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