Blasts LaPierre for Unconstitutional 'Enforcement'
by Ari Armstrong, August 23
On March 6, the National Rifle Association's
Wayne LaPierre joined hands with anti-gun lobbyists and politicians at a Denver
press conference to announce the NRA's plans to financially support
"Project Exile," a propaganda campaign backing the full enforcement of
the "gun laws on the books."
Unfortunately, LaPierre failed to distinguish
between the "laws on the books" which target violent, inherently
criminal behavior; and those "laws on the books" which persecute
peaceable gun owners through arbitrary, Unconstitutional statutes. (See Project
Finally, American gun owners have found a
champion with the courage and convictions to argue the Unconstitutional laws on
the books don't work, increase crime, and should be repealed. In May,
Libertarian Presidential Candidate Harry Browne published the article, For
Safety's Sake, Repeal All the Gun Laws.
On August 8, Browne took the opportunity to
criticize LaPierre directly. At a Little Rock, Arkansas Second Amendment rally
hosted by the Dixie Southern Shooting Association, attended by a thousand gun
owners, Browne and LaPierre sat on a panel with various Republican officials. In
reply to the first question put to the panel, Browne said (in paraphrase from
his campaign journal)
[The Second] Amendment doesn't allow for
exceptions -- or else it would have read that the right "to keep and bear
arms shall not be infringed, unless Congress chooses otherwise." And
because there are no exceptions, I disagree with my fellow panelists who say
the existing gun laws should be enforced. Those laws are unconstitutional.
Those laws are wrong -- because they put you at a disadvantage to armed
criminals, to whom the laws are no inconvenience. And saying those laws should
be enforced is a statement that the Second Amendment isn't absolute, and that
there's nothing wrong with 'reasonable' gun controls. This allows your
favorite politicians to compromise on new laws and then claim victory for
preventing something worse. I want to repeal all the existing gun laws.
Browne added that the Second Amendment is only
an additional safeguard. Beyond the Second Amendment, "the Ninth Amendment
would clearly protect an individual's right to defend himself -- because nothing
in the Constitution has taken that right away."
Browne contrasts his approach with that of the
NRA spokesperson: "LaPierre has set the tone by saying that the Clinton
administration should be enforcing the existing gun laws, rather than proposing
new ones. The other panelists pretty much accept that approach as a given."
Browne's views on government as
Constitutionally limited are radically different from those of George W. Bush,
who told the Denver Post that he favors licensing private gun sellers
at gun shows, a step even more draconian than the proposal advocated by
Republican Governor Bill Owens.
In his campaign book, The
Great Libertarian Offer, Browne outlines his proposals to return to a
government restrained by the "chains of the Constitution." Browne's
central campaign issues include repealing the income tax, selling federal lands
to pay off Social Security benefits and end the system, and repealing drug
Browne is scheduled to address the Constitution
Monday rally on October 2 on the West Steps of the State Capitol in Denver.
Browne will be joined by a diverse group of civil rights advocates and political
candidates and office holders. The event, to be held from 4:30 to 7:30 pm, is
partly a response to Janet Reno's proposed "First Monday," a day Reno
hoped would be devoted to rallying against the Second Amendment. Instead,
Constitution Monday seeks to celebrate the entire Bill of Rights.
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