Liberty For All
Protecting Our Rights
article by Dan Chason
As we celebrate our country’s 240th year of Independence this month, I think that this year should be a time of reflection and a recommitment to the core values that outdoorsmen love so much. Our country was founded on some very basic principles: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Our forefathers came here and established our God given rights, which are protected by our Constitution. Those rights have never been more in jeopardy. Over the last eight years, one of our basic rights, which is protected by the Second Amendment, has been assaulted. Hidden under the guises of protection for all, our rights to keep and bear arms is at risk. This right is even more at risk if the wrong person inhabits the White House during this next election.
What has occurred under a veiled attempt to control our rights is the arming of the IRS and other non-law enforcement agencies and the outright price gouging of shooting related items. One need only look at the last eight years and something as simple as a box of ammunition. The prices have doubled and in some cases tripled. This is nothing but an attempt to overshadow our rights to enjoy our firearms. The government and its current leadership knows that if you want an all out rebellion, strike at the Second Amendment. Instead of showing their true colors, they attack us in ways that are easier to hide. So their ploy was to not directly attack guns, but to make the components of ammunition expensive, thus driving up the price to enjoy the sport of shooting.
The same goes for the latest craziness of the “gender neutral” restrooms. Companies who adopted this policy are finding petitions against patronizing them as well as all out boycotts. When we become a people that allow ridiculous regulations to govern where our children can have privacy without the risks that this outlandish regulation brings, we are on a slippery slope. It is not a Republican or Democrat question. It is a right and wrong question.
Firearms were as much a part of the building of America as was the railroad and highway systems. The very fact that our forefathers depended on firearms to eat and to protect themselves is at the forefront of where we are today. Ask yourself one question: If a burglar had a choice of breaking into a home that was armed versus unarmed, which would he choose? Secondly, I believe the very people that are anti-gun and gun control proponents themselves are protected on a daily basis by Secret Service, security and law enforcement that are guess what? Armed.
That is such a double standard. When the day comes that only law enforcement and our military are armed, we have slipped into a whole different culture. If you look at history, the first step taken by the Nazis was to disarm the people they hated the most. I’m not saying we are slipping into a re-write of that era but I am saying this: Unless you are willing to rid our Constitution of the Second Amendment, our right to bear arms should not be challenged. No more than any other part of the Constitution should be.
Are more stringent regulations needed? I would wager that if you give the government an inch they want a mile. Regulations are not the answer. There have been far too many tragedies with firearms. School and business shootings, murders, robberies and all manner of terrible actions by a very few. However, very few of these tragedies would have been avoided by regulation. The very laws on the books right now provide ample protection if those laws were enforced. What is lacking in current law is law enforcement having access to mental health records. No law or regulation is going to stop all violence. Violent behavior can be averted through citizen action. That action can be as simple as “See it, Say it” or demanding that resources be made available to combat the ever growing threat of violence and terrorism.
Answer this question: If, for example, state universities and colleges offered free or reduced tuition for certified law enforcement officers and allowed them to carry their weapons in schools, how likely is it that someone would want to attack one of these schools, not knowing where and who the officers may be?
What if, instead of our school governing bodies arguing and worrying about everything under the sun (except school safety), they made it a point to make our schools a hard target? I have asked this question for years and I ask it again. In the years that you and your family attended school, how many fire drills have you encountered? How many children, faculty and staff have died in a school fire in the last 100 years? Answer: zero. Here is the kicker: How many active shooter/critical incident drills have you or your children participated in during your/their years in schoo? And the big question: How many children/faculty/staff have died at the hands of violent people in our schools over the last 100 years? Hundreds.
It is all about priorities. The tree huggers have cost outdoor related companies millions of dollars because of one factor – They are very vocal. The same goes for the anti-gun lobby and gun regulatory advocates. They are very vocal, very organized and sadly, very misled. The assault on the Second Amendment is one step away from assaults on ALL of our Constitution protected rights.
As Patrick Henry famously said, “Give me liberty, or give me death.” Those words echo this year as there has never been a better or a more important time to express your views in the voting booth. If you make a selection based on anything other than a candidate who protects the rights under our Constitution, you are sending the message that it is okay to attack the fiber of what started this country.
That message affects not only our daily lives, but our recreational times outdoors. Regulations will increase on refuges, seasons will be affected and shortened and you will find yourself looking back at “the good old days” that will be forever gone. I, for one, will speak loudly and as fervently just as did my forefathers who built the greatest country on earth. I will exercise my right to vote with zeal and encourage my friends and family to remember the importance of this critical time. As for the Second Amendment, I will close with a very famous and true statement. “They can have my guns when they pry my cold, dead fingers from around them.”