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Why Fear an Armed Public?

by Larken Rose

September 22, 2003 -- Some inside the United States government view me as an enemy of the state. Why? Because I speak my mind and I tell the truth, even when the government doesn’t like the truth. In my free report entitled “Taxable Income” (available at and in my video, “Theft By Deception (Deciphering the Federal Income Tax)” (available at, I use the law itself to show how the income tax has been grossly misrepresented to the American public, and misapplied by the IRS. In short, according to the law itself, only those engaged in certain kinds of international trade receive income subject to the income tax. The rest of us don’t owe a dime, despite what “conventional wisdom” says. That is what the law itself has shown for over 80 years.

But this article is not about tax law. 

"The reason tyrants are afraid of armed citizens is because tyrants do things which sometimes make people want to shoot them."

On May 6, 2003, in an effort to terrorize me into shutting up (under the guise of a “search warrant”), the IRS staged an armed invasion of my home, stole most of my computers (which I have since gotten back), and all of my financial records. They also stole a couple hundred copies (every copy they could find) of my “Theft By Deception” video. They obviously wanted to keep it from the public, even though they know that the video is perfectly legal, and even though the Supreme Court specifically says that what they did is a violation of the First Amendment. (Incidentally, their attempt at censorship via terrorism failed, as I was restocked the next day, and there are now about 15,000 copies of the video in circulation.)

But this article is not about the First Amendment. 

I was never arrested or charged with anything, but for eight hours on May 6th, 2003, I chose to sit on my living room couch while IRS agents rummaged through my stuff, stealing a bunch of it. (I figured I should at least try to keep an eye on them.) In talking to various agents during that time, a topic kept coming up that had nothing to do with tax law or what the “search” was supposed to be about. The topic? Firearms. 

Other than a brief shoving match at my front door, while I was demanding to see the warrant, I didn’t resist the raid. I could have come to the door armed, but I didn’t (though I know people who think I should have). Once inside, the federal cockroaches scattered throughout the house. They immediately started asking if I owned guns, and where they were. This was so they could “secure” the area, they said. By then I, my wife, and my six-year-old daughter were on the couch upstairs, surrounded by armed federal agents, so I’m not sure what risk they thought was posed to them by rifles locked in a safe in the basement, or the .38 special locked in the safe in the bedroom closet. Nonetheless, they made it clear that if I didn’t give them the key, they would open the safes by force. 

Over the following eight hours, several things happened that gave me a rare glimpse into how federal agents view the world. For example (as I later learned from witnesses outside my home), all of my firearms were taken outside and put into the trunk of one of the IRS vehicles. Then another agent (who wasn’t there before) arrived, inspected the firearms carefully, measured the barrels of some of them, and then left. Again, the firearms had nothing to do with the search. They were clearly fishing for anything to “get me” on (in direct violation of the Fourth Amendment). I’m sure they were disappointed to find that all my firearms were “legal” (even in their eyes), and so they had to put them all back when they were done jack-booting around my home. 

Several agents couldn’t help bringing up firearms in the discussion. At first I told them that there was a .380 semi-auto (my carry gun) up on the high shelf in my bedroom closet, which is where it usually was. (I’ve since upgraded to a Glock 26.) I then recalled that I had gone out late the night before, and that I had left it in the glove compartment locked in my car. (And I told them that, so they could stop worrying about it.) At one point during the day one agent, who was the least mentally stable of the bunch, kept harping on the fact that I had taken a firearm with me to go to the 7-11 at 2:00 a.m., describing me as “paranoid” for doing so. The agent also made some flippant comment to the local cop who was there to observe the raid, implying that by carrying a firearm, I was saying I didn’t trust the local cop to do his job.

"By that bizarre logic, I guess the fact that I have a fire extinguisher means that I don’t trust firemen."

By that bizarre logic, I guess the fact that I have a fire extinguisher means that I don’t trust firemen. To imply that wanting to be able to protect myself means I think the cops are incompetent is idiotic, and while I don’t recall the local cop’s exact response, he seemed to agree. (Neither of us would be very happy if the cops had to be my armed escort every time I went to the 7-11, which is the only way the cops could possibly protect me as well as I can protect myself.) This was, after all, a police officer working in Pennsylvania, where there are hundreds of thousands of private gun owners, and where the state constitution says that the right of the individual to keep and bear arms “shall not be questioned.” (The IRS agent sure appeared to be “questioning” it.) The local cop obviously was not at all worried about me being armed. I have no criminal record, and I even have a Pennsylvania carry permit (though I think having a “permit” to exercise an “indefeasible” right is sort of odd). I later learned that the gun-fearing IRS agent was probably flown in from California, which might explain things a bit.

At one point another agent asked me why I would have the kinds of firearms I have, including an AR-15 and an M-17-S (Bushmaster’s bull-pup version of an AR-15), both “military style” rifles. I didn’t feel the need to explain it to him, though I did point out that I could have come to the front door heavily armed and blown his damn head off, but I chose not to, so I didn’t really feel the need to put up with his accusatory questioning. He then changed the subject, after saying that it was good that I chose to come to the door unarmed and let them in. Good for whom, I wonder?

At some point the same agent asked me if my guns were “registered.” I wasn’t sure what he meant, so I answered that they were all purchased legally. He asked again if they were “registered.” When I told him that we don’t register guns in Pennsylvania, he arrogantly mocked my claim. His arrogance faded, however, after the local cop confirmed that we don’t register firearms here. (That convinced me that this agent was another import from the left coast.)

But the agents conveyed more to me than what their words literally said. They were quite visibly disturbed at the idea of a mere peasant like me being armed. Why? I have never threatened them (or anyone else) with violence. I walked away from my firearms to get to the door to let them in. So what was the problem? The answer is quite simple: they were doing things that they thought were likely to result in someone shooting them. The local cop wasn’t scared of my firearms. (He even asked where I got my nifty little combination safe for my handguns.) He wasn’t the one whose idea it was to pull a Gestapo stunt on me. He wasn’t doing anything which might make him fear my guns.

The feds were raiding my home, not because I’m some violent criminal or terrorist, but because they don’t like me speaking my mind. Yet they were worried while doing their little terrorist stunt. If your job makes you fear gunfire from people who are not violent criminals, and if you routinely do things that you think might make the “common man” want to blow your damn head off, maybe what you’re doing isn’t good. (Personally, I avoid doing things that might make the average Joe want to kill me.) The reason tyrants are afraid of armed citizens is because tyrants do things which sometimes make people want to shoot them. (Duh.)

"To tell the truth, it was downright sickening watching some of the agents trying to convince themselves that they are the good guys."

Just about everyone I know knows I have firearms, but they aren’t scared of me. My firearms don’t shoot by themselves, and people who know me know that it would take a lot to make me actually decide to shoot someone (even an armed invasion of my home didn’t do it). But the IRS agents fear the common man being armed, because what they do causes the common man to hate their guts. I have a solution: don’t do things that might make the general public want you dead. (Radical, huh?) Then you don’t need to worry about who is armed, or what kinds of guns they own. Whether they could kill you won’t matter, because they will have no reason to want to kill you.

To tell the truth, it was downright sickening watching some of the agents trying to convince themselves that they are the good guys. They also tried to convince some of the spectators outside that I’m the evil one (for speaking my mind), and they are the good ones (for invading my home). It didn’t work. The feds were visibly worried by a few people—people whose appearance is about as non-threatening as you can get—quietly observing from across the street. And when I finally came out, and received a round of applause, I don’t think it made the agents feel any better.

Every government command, law, or regulation, however polite and reasonable it may sound, is backed by a threat of force. When such threats are justified (e.g. “if you go on a murderous rampage, we’ll have to kill you”) the general public doesn’t mind. When such threats are not justified, and are likely to enrage the general public (e.g. “stop speaking your mind or we’ll invade your house”), that is the perfect definition of tyranny. Of course tyrants are going to be afraid of armed “peasants,” because they are able to resist oppression. And that’s why there is a Second Amendment.

To subscribe to Mr. Rose’s free e-mail updates regarding the income tax issue, send an e-mail to


Printer Version

The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to permit the conquered Eastern peoples to have arms. History teaches that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by doing so. Indeed I would go so far as to say that the underdog is a sine qua non for the overthrow of any sovereignty. So let's not have any native militia or police. German troops alone will bear the sole responsibility for the maintenance of law and order. — Adolf Hitler, April 11, 1942. (Source: "Hitler's Table-Talk at the Fuehrer's Headquarters 1941-1942", Dr. Henry Picker, ed. (Athenaeum Verlag, Bonn, 1951).)

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