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Sighting in on the Gun Grabbers
by Sunni Maravillosa

In a lovely sequence over the past several months, much like dominoes toppling, we have seen Rosie O’Donnell, Citibank Visa, and now Smith and Wesson take the consequences of their choices to try to restrict an individual’s right to keep and bear arms in the United States. As gratifying as that is, the forces driving those falling dominoes are even more worthy of note. While these are but small victories in the ongoing struggle to keep our rights as affirmed by the second amendment, the fact that they are positive steps is encouraging.

Rosie O’Donnell, long a spokesman for K-Mart, was fired in November, 1999, primarily because her strident gun-control carping is at odds with the company’s success as a leading national retailer of firearms (She’s also apparently something of a hypocrite, as her bodyguard has recently applied for a concealed carry permit.) According to K-Mart officials, the relationship was severed because of the negative publicity Rosie brought the company. K-Mart admits that much of it was from individuals who value and understand the importance of gun ownership by private citizens.

Four months later, in March of this year, Citibank Visa found itself receiving nasty letters, cut-up cards, and calls for a boycott of its services after it informed the Nevada Pistol Academy that its account would be closed because of Citibank’s policy of “not maintaining accounts for businesses that deal in weapons”  The company “explained” that the decision was that of a branch bank, and not the official company, yet hastily issued a statement clarifying that “small businesses engaged in the manufacture or sale of small firearms will be evaluated in the same manner as any other small business”. Citibank’s turnaround came after the academy shared copies of the letter with gun dealers it does business with. They then spread the word to gun dealers across the country via fax and e-mail, and effectively pressured the company to reverse the decision.

And just last week, Smith and Wesson announced that it’s closing two of its manufacturing plants for at least a month, in part due to “normal summer softness in the firearms market”. Mmm-hmm. That’s why I generally see a surge in the number of people at the gun range about this time of year, as they test their new weapons and sight in new rifles before the start of hunting season. S & W did acknowledge that “the reaction of some consumers to the agreement” (with the Clinton administration to put mandatory locks and other features on all their guns in exchange for being dropped from several lawsuits) also contributed to the closings. “Some consumers”, eh? How about just about everyone who values the second amendment and doesn’t want to see it further emasculated, particularly not by a company which should have the integrity to proudly support its products? I know of no one—and I know a fair share of gunnies from the various places I hang my cyber-hat—who’s buying from ‘the traitors’. Many of them have also signed on to L. Neil Smith’s campaign to change the name of a .40 caliber round from “.40 Smith and Wesson” to “.40 Liberty”, to make the point clear that they want to have absolutely nothing to do with RKBA sellouts.

While it’s much too early to begin popping the champagne to celebrate the end of the assault on RKBA, each of these decisions represents a significant step forward to stem the tide of increasing gun control. It’s generally been assumed that the gun grabbers speak for mainstream America. Even if that is accurate—something I harbor strong suspicions about, as lots of Americans have grown up and continue to grow up with an educated exposure to firearms—these wins show that to be largely irrelevant. What mainstream America may or may not want counts little with those who understand and want to preserve their right to firearms ownership, and they’ll continue to get engaged in the battle.

And that’s really the crux of the matter here. As happy as I am to see these bits of progress, we’ve still a long, long way to go with the 2nd amendment before we can claim a victory—if ever. The do-gooders will always be around, and will always want to watch out for us, poor benighted souls that we are, who can’t be trusted to live responsibly on our own. What counts is that in each of these cases, it was individual action that spurred the avalanche that ultimately toppled the high and mighty.

I don’t dismiss the value of the true pro-RKBA organizations out there. Older ones, such as Jews for the Preservation of Firearms and Gun Owners of America, have been doing good work for years. Their emphasis has been largely in the electoral political arena, however, and that’s a tough sell these days. Other, new organizations have taken up the fight on different fronts, and have done so with positive results. Keep and Bear Arms (http://www.keepandbeararms.com/) is a new, terrific informational Web site that is still getting set up, but is seeing a lot of positive activity according to executive director Angel Shamaya. And the Second Amendment Sisters, born out of the need to refute the silliness of the Million Moms March, is the creation of several women who recognized the need for action and put the organization together themselves, rather than wait for someone else to take the initiative. They’re now working on longer-term strategies and activist projects.

In a way, these new organizations underscore my point: their approaches are largely fresh and different, and attract support from individuals who may be soured on the electoral avenue of activism. They all can be traced back to the inspiration and dedication of one or a few individuals, and speak effectively to the power of the individual in bringing about change. Every victory begins with someone holding the flag aloft and shouting, “Charge!”

Don’t think you have it in you to be a leader? Not everyone needs to be; for a battle to be successful, many troops need to be massed behind that flag, carrying the energy forward to win the day. Taking part in protest actions, writing letters to gun manufacturers and other businesses regarding their RKBA policy, forwarding e-mail announcements of pro-RKBA Web sites and activities, or taking a non-shooting friend to the range for an afternoon are all important actions that are small individually, but can add up to powerful results. Each action is important. Each individual who gets involved to defend our second amendment rights is crucial to our success.


Sunni is a psychologist and longtime freedom activist, with a special interest in RKBA. More of her work is available at http://www.DoingFreedom.com and http://home.LRT.org.  We highly recommend her DoingFreedom project, and we are grateful for her passionate stance for FREEDOM.  Go, Sunni, GO!

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 QUOTES TO REMEMBER
Without freedom there will be no firearms among the people; without firearms among the people there will not long be freedom. Certainly there are examples of countries where the people remain relatively free after the people have been disarmed, but there are no examples of a totalitarian state being created or existing where the people have personal arms. — Neal Knox

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