On behalf of the Greek Conservative Network,
Answering our questions; Larry Pratt, Executive Director Emeritus of GOA
Before we begin with the questions I want to thank you on behalf of all of us, here in the Greek Conservative Network, for this honor and the opportunity to educate the Greek public through this interview, regarding the benefits of gun ownership. It is not a small deal for a site, representing a relatively new and growing movement, to get an inside view of the gun rights issue, especially when that inside view comes from an organization that has been described by Ron Paul as “the only no-compromise gun lobby in Washington”.
Question-1 Though some of our readers may be familiar with your organization and its history please give us a brief bio of your organization. When was it founded, what are your aims and agenda, how many members do you have and finally where would you say your organization belongs in the political spectrum.
GOA was formed by a California State Senator (HL Richardson). Richardson, author of Confrontational Politics, wanted an organization to challenge gun control at its roots. The National Rifle Association had been formed by Union Army officers after our Civil War. They wanted to help the government, thus overcoming the general lack of marksmanship that prevailed among Northern recruits in that conflict.
GOA was organized in the mid-1970s to serve as an adversary to a federal government that increasingly was violating the Second Amendment which states that “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
Historically, the purpose of the amendment was not to protect hunting or competition shooting, but to equip the people to resist tyranny in government.
Question-2 While gun rights are an integral part of American culture and the 2nd Amendment makes it quite clear that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” In recent years there have been many efforts-mostly by liberal lobbies and Democrat Presidents- to enforce a ban on gun ownership. It has become evident that this agenda began being enforced starting with the ban on “assault rifles” and has slowly escalated to Hillary Clinton declaring that if she is elected as POTUS, she will bankrupt the arms manufacturing industry by issuing an executive order which will allow victims of gun violence to sue the companies that manufactured them. Why has a large part of the population embraced such notions that besides being ineffective (in relation to reducing gun violence) are in their core anti-American?
While many Americans do accept as legitimate the government’s infringement of the right to keep and bear arms, that number is steadily declining. During the recent push for gun control following the school massacre in Connecticut, not even a majority of the population now agrees that the government should conduct background checks on gun buyers.
Most Americans do not support a national gun registry, and the background check was seen as laying the groundwork for that in spite of it being forbidden by federal law. Monitoring Americans’ phone calls by the National Security Agency is also illegal, but the NSA was doing it anyway. Gun registries have been followed up by gun confiscations of semi-automatic rifles (the so-called assault weapons) in New York City and in California.
Politicians do not have a good track record for trustworthiness in America.
Question-3 Throughout the history of mankind the main difference between a free man and a slave was the ability to own property and bear arms. Cases in which the people were deprived of the right to bear arms by their government have often resulted in genocide (usually with the same government as the perpetrator). Do you believe that this anti-gun narrative, which is promoted on a global level by bodies such as the United Nations and the European Union, serves an ulterior motive?
I do a weekly radio show, The Gun Owners News Hour. The announcer brings me on by saying, “Remember, it’s not just about gun control, it’s about CONTROL.” Jews for Preservation of Firearms Ownership produced a book some years ago entitled: Lethal Laws. It chronicles the hatred focused against a target population by a government followed by gun control laws that led to genocide.
Question-4 “For a man’s house is his castle, et domus sua cuique est tutissimum refugium [and each man’s home is his safest refuge].”-Sir Edward Coke
This quote, which is the grandfather (if I may say so) of the modern day ‘Castle Doctrine’ and ‘Stand your ground’ laws which are in effect in many states throughout the US, speaks about the right of a person to defend his property( and himself of course) from an intruder. Yet when it refers to an unarmed population it’s nothing more than just words on paper. As far as I’m aware in areas where the population is armed crime rates are significantly lower than “gun free” areas. Since you are the expert on the issue, could you provide us with some further data?
The United States does not have uniform gun laws apart from those at the federal level. As a result, over the years we have been able to observe the impact of gun control as applied to various degrees among different jurisdictions. One example which is fairly typical comes from Fairfax County, Virginia where Gun Owners of America is headquartered. This large, urban county (outside of Washington) of well over one million people has a murder rate of about 1 per 100,000 per year. This is about the same (sometimes a little higher, sometimes a little lower) as that of Great Britain. One can own a machine gun, not to mention other kinds of firearms, in Fairfax County. The gun ban in England is so draconian that the British Olympic pistol team has to go to Belgium to practice. Clearly the universal availability of firearms does not make Fairfax County a deadlier place than England. As the Daily Mail reported several years ago, violent crime is worse in Britain than in the U.S. The comparison with Fairfax County, where Guns ‘R Us, is even more stark. With all the guns legally available in Fairfax County, one is much safer than in England.
Incidentally, the murder rate in the District of Columbia (adjacent to Fairfax County) is at a long-time low of 16 per 100,000 following a federal court ruling overturning the gun ban in Washington. (The violent crime rate is a little over 4 in Fairfax County).
Stand your ground laws have been adopted in many jurisdictions. They provide legal protection for a gun owner who has no alternative but to fire his weapon because he cannot safely retreat. More blacks than whites have been acquitted of murder charges under stand your ground laws.
Question-5 In relation to the previous question, in 1877 a state Supreme Court Justice wrote; “Indeed, the tendency of the American mind seems to be very strongly against the enforcement of any rule which requires a person to flee when assailed.” This bravery and boldness in the face of danger and adversity in general is (at least in my opinion) the cornerstone of American exceptionalism and a virtue that should be preserved with the utmost care. Why do you think this virtue is currently being under a vicious attack by a variety of left wing( and unfortunately some “right” wing as well) lobbies?
Assuming the person invoking a Stand Your Ground defense did not provoke the violent altercation, it is both right and sensible that a person not be required to flee. It is an obnoxious assumption that an aggressor’s assault could require a victim to do anything. Moreover, it turns out that fleeing is often more dangerous than standing your ground. After all, a fleeing victim has his back turned and is at that moment also unable to take any other defensive action.
Question-6 Though the media always focus on cases of mentally ill people who go out on a killing spree they remain silent when concealed carriers-or legally armed individuals in general-step in and literary save the day by stopping an armed criminal or terrorist?
Donald Trump has promised to give concealed carry licenses a national effect just as drivers licenses, what is your stance on that matter?
The background check that is required for retail purchasers of firearms is an abject failure. In a recent year of record there were some 40 cases referred for prosecution – out of over 20 million transactions. Mass murderers have either killed to steal a firearm, or passed the background check because very few of them have a prior disqualifying record. The background check has given a false sense of security that the government is able to keep bad things from happening. The reality is that criminals tend to commit fewer crimes in areas where the population is known to be armed.
Researcher John Lott in his latest book, The War on Guns, provides a long list of armed citizens who were able to prevent a mass murder. These successful self-defense uses of firearms tend to be under reported. A firearms activist in Chicago was unaware of the case of an Uber driver who saw a gang banger start to fire into a group of people. He averted a mass murder by leaving his car, drawing his legally carried concealed firearm, and downing the wannabe mass murderer with shots from his own handgun.
There is widespread support in the Congress for federal legislation utilizing a provision of the Constitution that requires states to recognize the acts of other states. Such a federal law would result in a concealed carry license in one state being regarded the same as a driver’s license. Donald Trump has indicated that he would sign this legislation as President.
Question-7 Your organization strongly opposes the background system as ineffective, please provide us with some information and data about the issue. Donald Trump has stated that he supports a restriction of owning fire arms for people on the no fly list but also that he will work alongside the gun organizations he will help people who are on that list and shouldn’t be in it (a list from which what I have so far understood is very easy to get in) to get out. What is your stance on the issue?
Many politicians, including Donald Trump, have stated that the No Fly List should be the predicate for disarming an individual citizen. This position ignores the nearly total absence of due process in putting people’s names on the list. While he was alive, Sen. Kennedy had to spend weeks getting his name off the list. A California Congressman had the same problem. In America, if someone is to lose his right to keep and bear arms (or any other constitutionally protected liberty), a court of law should be involved, permitting the accused an opportunity to present his defense. The No Fly List is more suitable for the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany.
Question-8 College campuses slowly evolved from being “gun free zones” to places that ban free speech and create safe spaces to prevent students from being “triggered” by something that may hurt their precious feelings. Given the fact that the 2nd Amendment exists to protect all the rest and especially the 1st, is this what the liberals ideal America will be like?
Linking gun free zones on college campuses to the growth of speech free zones helps make the point – disregarding one part of the Bill of Rights opens the door to ignoring any and all of the rest of our protected liberties. Not only is a gun free zone inconsistent with the Constitution, it is also a place of great danger. Since 1950 gun free zones have been the location of all but three of the mass murders committed in the United States.
Question-9 Regarding terrorism and the rising number of homegrown terrorists, what do you think should a government do in order to eliminate the threat from within and at the same time protect the rights(including gun rights of course) of the people?
An armed citizenry is able to deal with terrorism much more effectively than a disarmed people. The Charlie Hebdo and Bacalan massacres in France are almost inconceivable in the U.S. – outside our gun free zones. Sadly, all of France is a gun free zone. When the people can protect themselves, there is much less pressure from politicians to resort to militarization of the police and the concomitant loss of civil liberties. Indeed, mass murderers in Europe have taken more lives on more occasions than in the U.S. The death toll of Anders Breivick’s murderous rampage in Norway is another example.
Question-10 Since its election year, and soon Americans will have to vote to elect the next POTUS, which candidate you support(though it’s evident that there only one choice for anyone who cherishes and wants to protect the 2nd Amendment) and explain the reasons why.
Senator Ted Cruz, a conservative opponent to Donald Trump in the Republican primaries, ended up endorsing Trump. Cruz spoke for me and for most gun owners when he said that the consequences of a Hillary Clinton presidency would be disastrous. One does not have to like Donald Trump (I don’t) to decide to vote for him. It is enough for many Americans to realize that Hillary Clinton has never recanted her senior thesis in college which was a paean of praise for Saul Alinsky, a self-described small “c” communist.
Question-11 Here in Greece and in the EU in general we have some of the strictest gun laws in effect. Owning a gun legally is something extremely difficult and even if so using it in a case of self defense will surely land you in prison. Yet even though there are tons of papers with acts and directives etc. within the last 2 years Europe has fallen victim of multiple terrorist attacks. Strangely though, the answer seems to be more and more gun laws and restrictions. Where do you believe this policy will lead to especially since Europe has approximately almost one terrorist attack per week with more and more terrorist cells being discovered by police agencies?
Hopefully the increase in the number of terrorist attacks in Europe will build a consensus that having no defense is not a good defense. Liberals seem to believe that using force to resist an attack will only make matters worse. They refuse to acknowledge that criminals do not think the way most people do. Criminals are opportunistic. If they think they have an opportunity to commit a crime and get away with it, they will. In so doing, they are willing to kill. When British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain refused to resist Hitler, the message that murderous monster got was that there would be no stopping his aggression. The Chamberlains of history repeatedly facilitate the Hitlers of history. The choice is clear – be willing to use force to stop criminals (including tyrants), or suffer the often fatal consequences.
Instead of an epilogue; Both major political parties in Greece- the leftist Siriza party which is currently the governing party and the so called “center right” New Democracy- whole heartedly support Hillary Clinton and praise the “legacy” of the Obama administration. Some high ranking party members of New Democracy (regarding Siriza I won’t even bother) in fact have stated in social media that in Obama had succeeded in his efforts to enforce more gun control laws and restrictions it would be a great victory against the “crazy people” that constitute the gun lobby. In my opinion, when a country in which;
political correctness has become the new religion, is member of a union that loves regulating and taxing everything and is moving towards becoming one more failed socialist experiment is passionately supporting Clinton and her anti-freedom agenda Americans should be doing the best not to allow that thing to happen.
Please share your thoughts on the current situation of the Greek state as well as the EU and its 100% anti-freedom agenda and why Clinton is for them the ideal person to be the next POTUS.
The Swiss have had a saying for years: “The emblem of a free man is a rifle.” Switzerland was never invaded by Hitler. He had ordered his General Staff to prepare plans to invade Switzerland. The most optimistic scenario was that, yes, an invasion of Switzerland could succeed, but it would cost Germany half of its army to conquer that armed nation.
The threat of Hitler’s Nazi armies today has been replaced by the threat of thousands of Muslims intent on violent jihad. Just as America needs to get rid of its gun free zones, so Greece (and many other countries) should encourage widespread gun ownership among the citizenry. In the United States, the police need at least five or ten minutes to respond to a criminal (or terrorist) attack. In France it takes longer because the police first have to go and get their weapons before responding directly to a call for help.
Politicians sometimes say that it is too dangerous to have widespread gun ownership because “we can’t have everybody running around with guns.” Yet our experience in America is clear – where people have no legal obstacle to “running around with guns” our crime rates are lower than they are where restrictions are severe on gun ownership and carrying. Lives are saved when the citizenry is armed. Moreover, an armed citizenry has been an effective bulwark against tyranny as the Swiss demonstrated. Of course, in the 18th Century, an armed American citizenry protected the freedoms of the British colonists.
We have reached the cliché part in which I ask you to share a message for our readers and the Greek public in general.
If tyrants and criminals do not like an armed citizenry, why should the rest of us not want what they fear?
Once again I want to thank you this interview and wish you all the best in your fight to protect the 2nd Amendment.
On behalf of the Greek Conservative Network,
Φοιτητής Νομικής στο Πανεπιστήμιο του Staffordshire,αρθρογράφος στο περιοδικό Patria και τέλος αθλητής καθώς και κριτής Δυναμικού Τριάθλου με διακρίσεις σε εθνικό και διεθνές επίπεδο.