Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Some of you may remember a previous post concerning Denver Post columnist Jim Spencer who wrote an Op/ed praising Colorado Springs decision to ban open carry in meetings. Or perhaps it's more appropriate to say he wrote a column damning a citizen for peaceably exercising his Rights.

In the August 19th 'Letters' section of The Denver Post I came across several retorts to Mr. Spencer's column. One was of particular interest. It was penned by Anthony J. Fabian, the President of the Colorado State Shooting Association. The CSSA is the Colorado affiliate of the NRA.

Let's get on to Mr. Fabian's letter...

"Which way is it, Jim?
Re: “Bearing arms exposes gap in pro-gun logic,” Aug. 19 Jim Spencer column. Before Jim Spencer gives lessons in exposing gaps in logic, he should review his own amusing contradictions in his column regarding the recent Colorado Springs open-carry controversy. Spencer first states that the open carry of firearms should be illegal because the mere presence of firearms freaks out him and others, but later in the same column he also complains that lawfully concealed firearms that he never even sees bother him, too."

A good point to make. I would have written it differently, but that's just me.

Now on to the interesting part:

"As for Don Ortega being “one of ours,” Spencer could not be more wrong. We advocates of responsible firearms ownership continuously strive to separate and distance ourselves from the kooks in our ranks, while liberal gun-haters like Spencer are proudly identified and defined by the kooks in their ranks."

"...kooks in our ranks..."? WTF??? A man exercising his Rights in a peaceful manner is to be shunned as a kook? Was Mr. Ortega not a member of the CSSA & therefore not deserving of any defense by the president of that fine organization?

Lemme tell y'all something: I can accept arguments revolving around Mr. Ortega not being particularly wise in his actions. I disagree & will do so vehemently but I can accept that some people view things this way. In fact I can accept a lot of viewpoints as being (for lack of a better word) valid.

But Mr. Fabian is exactly the kind of person that makes gun control possible. His attitude of reasonable restrictions under the guise of responsible firearms possession is merely a way to avoid growing a backbone & making a principled stand. It is this attitude that has led to the compromises that collectively have enslaved us all.

Instead of attacking the Colorado Springs city council for deciding to outlaw the exercise of a basic Right recognized by two constitutions that they are ultimately subject to, Mr. Fabian chose to attack the man who was merely exercising his Rights. It's nothing more than a continuation of a school-yard tactic: when the bully you can't stand comes to pick on your friend, instead of standing up to the bully together you decide to help the bully pick on your friend thinking it will make you safe from the attacks of the bully.

Now admittedly I am a bit biased against the CSSA. This is because they tend to mirror the positions of the NRA as any good state affiliate is prone to do. More specifically though the CSSA had a lot to do with the tabling of a good CCW bill (as far as anything requiring a permit to exercise a Right can be considered 'good') & the passage of a carry bill that is in most ways worse than it's may-issue predecessor. For more details please look here.

But this abandoning of Mr. Ortega, who is a self admitted NRA member no less reinforces my belief that the CSSA is not any more of a friend to the gun owner than the NRA. I do believe either organization wouldn't fight too hard if a law was proposed that only allowed members of the NRA & its respective state affiliates to own arms.

& one other thing (albeit unrelated to this post's initial topic) that infuriates me about the NRA & its state affiliates: in order to compete in any state championship High Power match, one has to be a member of the NRA &/or CSSA.
In fact I was rejected for membership by a very promising looking gun club a while back because I was not an NRA member.
At the membership meeting they asked if I was NRA & I said I wasn't. They then started to explain how easy it was to be a member. I interrupted them & stated that it was always easy to sell your soul. I went on to tell them that I wasn't an NRA member for lack of knowing how to join, but because I felt giving money to the NRA was only marginally better than giving money to Sarah Brady. Of course I was a bit more polite about it than it seems from my recounting, but that was the gist of it. They then started laughing & lapsed into a ten minute bitch-session about the NRA. But eventually they calmed down & told me that the NRA gives them a deal on insurance & w/o it they couldn't exist. One of the stipulations is for the club to have 100% NRA membership. There was no way around it. So I thanked them for their time & left.

So the NRA & to a slightly lesser extent the CSSA have a captive membership - you're either a member of their respective organizations or you don't get to participate in certain activities, like a state championship or being a member of a gun club. Kind of explains why they never add the 'willing' qualifier when they boast of membership, doesn't it?

Back to the rant at hand though:

Mr. Fabian will gladly turn on one of his own if it means taking less heat from the other side. Never mind if Mr. Ortega should have carried a weapon into a city council meeting: he did. That's that. Further it was not illegal. In fact it was an act protected by the state & federal constitutions respectively. Want to argue etiquette? Sure, I'll be happy to argue if it was proper or not. But you must first realize that it is none of your damned business what anyone does with their property as long as it does not directly interfere with your Rights. In other words, before I take you seriously we must either agree that Mr. Ortega's action are really none of anyone's business since he broke no law & was in fact exercising a constitutionally protected Right, or you must provide a reasonable argument as to why it's anyone else's damned business how someone exercises a constitutionally protected Right, & how that applies to Mr. Ortega.

I leave you with the Colorado Constitution's language concerning Mr. Ortega's actions. Unfortunately Mr. Fabian has presumably read it without understanding that it's more than just a catchy slogan to keep the donations rolling in & his job security intact.

Colorado Constitution
Section 13. Right to bear arms.The right of no person to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person and property, or in aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned, shall be called in question; but nothing herein contained shall be construed to justify the practice of carrying concealed weapons

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