This column by ACRU Policy Board Member Ken Blackwell was published March 11, 2015 at The Washington Times.
This past week, we witnessed a devious Obama administration scheme to infringe on our right to bear arms — and a swift and mighty pushback.
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had proposed a ban on M855 ammunition, often called green tips. Republican Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia told Fox News that the green tip is the second most commonly used round in America’s favorite sporting rifle, the AR-15, which is owned by 5 million Americans.
After a withering barrage of emails, letters and calls from National Rifle Association members and other like-minded Americans, the bureau backed off. On Tuesday, the plan was shelved — for now.
The green tip is capable of penetrating body armor worn by police. Since 1968, armor-piercing rounds have been banned for handguns, which are the weapon of choice for most criminals. The green tip is nearly always used in sporting rifles, however, so it’s always been exempt from the bullet ban. Still, a few recently designed handguns are capable of firing the round. Does this pose a serious threat to police?
Not according to Brent Ball, a 17-year veteran police officer in Springfield, Missouri. Officer Ball told the Springfield News-Leader, “Criminals aren’t going to go out and buy a $1,000 AR pistol.” He added, “As a police officer I’m not worried about AR pistols because you can see them. It’s the small gun in a guy’s hand you can’t see that kills you.”
According to a letter sent by the House Judiciary Committee to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, “Millions upon millions of M855 rounds have been sold and used in the U.S., yet ATF has not even alleged — much less offered evidence — that even one such round has ever been fired from a handgun at a police officer.”
Protecting the police is a pretext. The green tip ban is really a backhanded ploy to take an affordable bullet, optimal for target shooting and hunting, out of the hands of millions of American citizens. It seems the Obama administration decided that if you can’t ban the guns, you can achieve the same result by banning the bullets.
We were not about to let President Obama turn our rifles into clubs. As a National Rifle Association board member, I am proud that so many answered the call to resist this outrageous proposal.
Eternal vigilance is not only the price of liberty; it can also be the price of dignity and life. Now I need to take off my NRA hat and put on my American Civil Rights Union hat. This week, the ACRU has published a paper called “The Truth about Gun Control, Racism and Genocide.”
Gun control was used for centuries in the Americas to deny slaves the ability to mount armed insurrections. Even free blacks were denied guns, for fear that they would give weapons to slaves. During the Jim Crow era, gun control laws were used throughout the South to deny blacks the dignity of equal citizenship, and keep black populations under the thumbs of white supremacists. One of the principal missions of the Ku Klux Klan was to confiscate firearms from blacks.
The paper also reveals that each of the six greatest genocides of the 20th century, in which a million or more people were murdered, was preceded by gun control laws. In Cambodia, the Soviet Union and China (twice), gun control laws disarmed the entire population. In Nazi Germany and Ottoman Turkey, gun control laws specifically targeted the people that the government intended to exterminate: Jews and Armenian Christians. These totalitarian governments knew that a disarmed population is helpless to resist a dictator.
Disarmed people are also helpless to resist armed thieves and thugs, especially when the government has broken down and chaos reigns, as we’ve observed recently in the United States. According to gun law expert John Lott, New Orleans resident John Carolan was sheltering many relatives after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 when three men wielding a machete demanded his generator. Mr. Carolan frightened them away with a gun. What would have happened to Mr. Carolan without his firearm?
Ask another New Orleans resident. John Guidos was using a shotgun and pistol to protect his business before police confiscated his weapons. In a misguided effort to stop the post-Katrina crime wave, city police confiscated thousands of guns, even from law-abiding citizens like Mr. Guidos. After his guns were taken away, looters sacked Mr. Guidos’ business.
The Second Amendment protects more than the right to go hunting and target shooting. It protects our right to defend ourselves and our neighbors. As our Founding Fathers understood, firearms are the only realistic way to defend against armed criminals and criminal governments.
That’s why we stopped Mr. Obama’s proposed bullet ban, and will remain vigilant for the next assault on our right to bear arms.