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A Third Road:

Rebutting "Two Roads for America" by "A Texan"

By Jim March

KABA recently published a well-written editorial titled "Two Roads For America", outlining the author's proposed plan for full restoration of democracy in the US: the "Henry Bowman" solution of "shoot the SOBs".

While any honest student of current social trends can grasp the appeal of such a course, it's my personal view that it's hideously risky, and that we can (and should) get there short of mass gunfire in the streets. The current NRA leadership has taken the same position and in my view, they have at least a 60% chance of success over the course of the next two or three years. In this article, I'd like to lay out their plans as best I understand them and show why I think they can win and what we (and I) can do to better their odds.

The first key is shall-issue CCW, at least where a switch to "Vermont Carry" is politically impossible. Legal civilian carry directly links civilian arms to self defense, something that had been lost in England and Australia long before the final recent disarmament pushes. The basic idea is that if gun ownership is promoted primarily for "legitimate sporting uses" as the BATF likes to phrase it, then societal violence with guns will be seen as a negative balanced only by the positive "hobby uses" of deer hunting, organized sport shooting or whatever.

Make no mistake: if I thought people's "hobbies" were risking greater societal violence, I'd be marching right alongside Sarah Brady myself. (Guys, my father was an environmental activist in the '60s and early '70s, and a strong union support – I'm not a "born and bred right winger" of any kind.) That sort of "pragmatic view" of "ban guns for the children" is extremely common, many people really believe that, and it was the basis for the recent bans in England and Australia.

But I'm not an anti.

When I first got involved in the Calif. shall-issue CCW movement four years ago, it seemed radical even to me. But rather than theorize about how widespread carry would "obviously" cause violent chaos, I Emailed street cops in shall-issue states and asked them what sort of problems they were seeing from legally armed citizens. Y'all know what kind of answers I got. Then when the original Lott/Mustard report hit, it was just confirmation of what I already knew.

So in my head, any possible increase in mortality from "more guns in society" is far outweighed by the lives saved by self defense plus the deterrent factor in street, business and home defense.

To win, that's what we need to put into the heads of every "sport shooter" in the US. The "pure hunting" crowd needs to understand that the "self defense radicals" are the ones preventing THEM from losing their guns, not the other way around.

That's step #1…and all we need is one major state converted to shall-issue to "tip the scale" to where over 50% of the US population is "living with CCW".

The NRA In California:

That state will be California, 1/9th of the US population. The NRA's law offices in LA under Chuck Michel are compiling CCW statistics and policy information from every county. I've personally seen the first flood of results, stacked a foot deep all over a good-sized conference room table. Collectively, what's in there is just plain horrifying. By the post-election legislative session, we hope to have graphic proof of widespread corruption, racism, favoritism, bias and illegal procedures from all over the state, professionally packaged for the legislature and available online. Also available will be boilerplate lawsuit blueprints to sue the hell out of these bastards for equal protection violations and violations of law. My personal website contains early, preliminary versions of some of this stuff, discussed in more detail below.

So next year's legislative session, regardless of political party, will be faced with proof that at least 75% of all CA law enforcement agencies are acting in a deliberately wrongful fashion in CCW. And they won't be able to eliminate CCW completely because the 40,000 current permitholders represent society's economic and political elite; to disarm them in one fell swoop would be political suicide for the Dems.

Their only remaining answer will be shall-issue.

Another factor in California is the next elections. Taking back GOP control of the Assembly is crucial to prevent an all-Dem gerrymander from hell making us Massachusetts West forever. Are all the GOP Assembly incumbents and candidates pro-gun? Nope. But it doesn't matter. The GOP leadership in this state is, such as Senator Haynes. Given majority control over the Assembly, they'll get to pick membership of crucial committees that will be able to block bad bills, such as the Assembly Safety Committee. So even if a slim GOP majority is only 3/4ths pro-gun and the Dems are 95% anti adding up to a majority-anti Assembly, it doesn't matter! That push for the Assembly is getting serious amounts of attention (and cash) by the NRA.

The NRA was roundly criticized for failing to support the recent state constitutional amendment initiative attempt. The reason was two-fold:

1) They didn't have the extra loot to spend on the Assembly races PLUS the $10mil to $20mil of advertising the initiative would need to have a chance;

2) They were pretty sure the initiative proponents didn't have it either, which would have led to a situation where the antis would bulk up to defend what they'd label a "total destruction of gun control" and we wouldn't have any counter-info going out…the end result would be a rush to the polls by antis who would also vote for Gore, and vote a straight Dem legicritter ticket.

So the NRA decided the risks were too great in an election year, and begged members to support the election push. It wasn't about the initiative being a "bad idea in general" (on the contrary, initiative author Don Kilmer has a great rep within the NRA legal circles) or the NRA being "against RKBA".

Their emphasis is on pushing the right people into office, while quietly building public support among the sport-shooting crowd and the general populace. You'll see those themes duplicated on the national level below.

The National Scene

The NRA's current "gameplan" regarding the flood of Federal gun control legislation post-Columbine is "stall". Under the current WashDC makeup of GOP house, Dem Senate and Clinton, rolling back gun control via legislation is impossible.

The key is Exile. Yes, project exile is bad long-term strategy but in the short term, it's excellent "stall tactics". By forcing the grabbers to evaluate their pathetic use of current law, cries for new control are seen as obviously stupid. It "polls well"; right now, the majority of voters are in favor of at least SOME gun control but by emphasizing the fact that there's a huge mass of gun control already in place, idiots like Gore are exposed as the self-serving aristocrats they truly are. The general voting public then learns the true extent of the gun laws on the books, pushing at least the smarter segment to say either "enough!" or "how do I join the NRA to help roll the crap back?".

OK, so the legislative front gets blocked. Fine. Where do we advance?

In court. US vs. Emerson is our best hope in generations of seeing the RKBA enshrined nationwide as an individual right. It's a strong case involving a "clear militia weapon" (the same hardware issued to US troops) so it bypasses the unresolved issue left by US vs. Miller of "is a particular gun a militia weapon?". It's in the right Fed Circuit, the 5th, and early indications are that the 5th has a strong chance at specifically determining the 2nd Amendment to be an "individual right of the people". That will be 180 degrees opposite the 9th Circuit in California where the 2A has been declared "the right of a state to form a state militia". And that conflict more or less guarantees Supreme Court review.

Such a review could happen as early as next year. By then, at least one judge will have retired, possibly two. If Emerson hits the year after that due to a delay of some sort, the next president may be able to appoint up to four new judges.

At present, best guess is that Emerson would win right now, on a 5 to 4 split. Let Gore put in as little as one new robe prior to Emerson and we're screwed forever.

Bush campaigned in Texas with shall-issue CCW as part of his platform. In office, he asked for shall-issue. He signed a pretty good bill the moment it hit his desk, then gladly signed a decent little reform package a few years later. Plus he signed a bill stopping TX local gov'ts from joining the lawsuit feeding frenzy against gunmakers.

Is he perfect? Hell no. But I don't know of a single other major presidential contender in recent years who's taken a leadership role in rolling back gun control.

I don't give a rat's behind that there's a bit of "soothing anti-gun noises for the masses" on his current website. What matters is Bush's actions. Faced with the nightmare of a Gore presidency and Hillary in either the Senate or worse, the Supreme Court eventually, our best bet is to support Bush to the hilt, maintaining close ties to him and at the very least, gain a "seat at the table" in future decisions on bills, Supreme Court nominees and other key issues.

Regarding the NRA:

Their recent actions can be viewed as sneaky, typical of their emphasis on "back room politics" and the like. That's not a condemnation, I mean that as high praise – given who they're up against (ClintaDiFiChuckyBoxeGore) crafty is a GOOD and necessary trait. The NRA isn't an "Internet-era organization" and they're sometimes not as good at "mass public appeals to the net.activists" as some of the smaller orgs – in a perfect world, close ties between the NRA's "slick beltway moves " and the net-people's skill in "mass coordinated efforts and info distribution" would allow a strong "double whammy". It's not happening because at every turn, elements of the "net crowd" rips into the NRA over every perceived policy difference…it's literally causing "institutional paranoia" regarding the Internet on the NRA's part, who in turn keep their dealings close to the vest. To be fair, with all the criticism of the NRA going on, it's pretty clear the NRA isn't effectively getting their message out to potential allies and that's not good either. Communication has broken down.

We'd all be a lot better off if this "rift" didn't exist, and it won't start to get fixed until each side realizes the other isn't an "HCI 5th column". Having personal contacts in both camps, I can tell y'all (NRA, JPFO, KABA, GOA, whatever) flat out that you ARE all allies.

My Next Lawsuit Over California CCW:

Let me conclude with a short blurb on where my case is at, in California. I'm about to sue my Sheriff and city again. I've got far better evidence and case law research this year, it's going to Fed court and at the very least, I'll force detailed court scrutiny of a really nasty set of policies. I'll have a lawyer and at least a half-dozen co-plaintiffs. I can't go into full detail here but I have reason to believe serious punitive damages are possible. You can see my best evidence of "elitism in action" in the "Contra Costa Cronies Roster", and for case law see also on my site:

* Salute vs. Pitchess, a 1976 Calif. binding high court ruling setting a standard of "individual investigation and determination into every CCW applicant's case" that the top cops absolutely hate and almost never follow;

* Guillory vs. Gates, a published 1983 Federal 9th Circuit case establishing a strong equal protection principle in Calif. CCW issuance. Among other neat details, allows someone suing for equal protection to make comparisons between their treatment and that of the successful applicants; myself and most of my co-plaintiffs have better "good causes for issuance" than can be found in the "Cronies Roster" file;

* CBS vs. Block, a 1986 Calif. Supreme Court decision affirming Guillory's equal protection principle.

I also have a formal legal opinion striking down the "town exclusion by a Sheriff" stupidity present in my county and many others (check the "formal legal opinion" link) and some demographics data showing that my Sheriff's policies add up to deliberate racism by excluding high-minority-population towns from any possibility of CCW issuance (Contra Costa demographics appendix of "CCW In California: A Disaster Analyzed").

I need to come up with $5,000 in "up front" money for a lawyer. All other fees will be out of the other side's pockets but my lawyer is a good, honest solo practitioner (specializing in police misconduct cases) and can't front the expenses needed for discovery and the like. I'm NOT asking for individual donations at this point – I'm writing up a grant proposal for the NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund but it'll take up to two months or so to process. If a smaller org wants to "sponsor" my lawsuit so we can get it started faster, we'll have a better shot at initial results in time to influence a shall-issue push in next spring's legislative session. The NRA is big, it's like a truck that doesn't turn easily but once it gets rolling, get out of the way :-). Individual donors: if I run some sort of "pledge drive" it'll take long enough that I might as well have waited for the NRA, plus Bob Stewart needs your help more than I do. If any established org wants to sponsor a really killer lawsuit, I'll give y'all the same detailed grant proposal with details not available online that the NRA is getting.

But regardless: I'll file 500 lawsuits if I have to, pro-per on a shoestring (like last time) to fight this BS with every possible gasp of energy I've got, rather than do nothing and watch an inevitable armed conflict develop. That was the attitude John Ross was REALLY trying to foster when he wrote the novel "Unintended Consequences" in which the protagonist Henry Bowman shot a barracks-full of Fed agents.

Methinks "A Texan" missed Mr. Ross's intent.

Thank you for at least reading this far, there's a lot more on my site:

Jim March –
Richmond, Contra Costa County, California.
Equal Rights for CCW Home Page: