I Registered My AR-15

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 1 month ago

Bob Lonsberry:

Well, Andy, with a handful of minutes to spare, I have complied with your law.

Your hateful, unconstitutional affront to my rights.

After a year of thinking it over, of going back and forth, of deciding where duty and honor called me to be, this is where I am.

I am ashamed to say that fear was one of the factors in my decision. I am a public person, it is well known that I own an AR-15. I wrote a newspaper column about it when I bought it 20 years ago. I have talked about it on the radio, on television and in web broadcasts ever since.

Further, I’ve got a Democrat district attorney – whose election I opposed – and half the cops in town hate me. So if I don’t register today, there’s a good chance I get arrested tomorrow.

And with five kids still at home, I can’t afford to be the test case.

I’d be a felon, I’d lose my job, I’d lose my house, I’d lose my right to vote and own guns.

And you’d win.

But it wasn’t just fear.

It was also something Abraham Lincoln said once, and something I said once.

Not that you would know, care or understand, but long ago Abraham Lincoln said that obedience to law was the American religion, that it should be taught to babies on their mothers’ knees, that it was the duty of every free man.

He said that unjust and immoral laws should be fought but obeyed. He said that citizens of a Republic cannot pick and choose the laws to which they are obedient. He said they must never tolerate unjust and immoral law, but they must tear them down through constitutional and lawful means.

That’s what Lincoln said.

What I said was that I would uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic – and that I would “bear true faith and allegiance to the same.”

I swore a lifetime oath when I enlisted in the armed forces of the United States to defend the Constitution and to live it.

And part of the dilemma of your hateful Safe Act is that it is on both sides of the constitutional line. It violates the Second Amendment, but operates within the structure of legislation and judicial review. I reject it, but I do not yet want to reject the system which produced it and which has yet to nullify it.

So conscience has me here.

But conscience will let me go no further.

You may be emboldened by your victory in this matter, you may be confident of taking control of the state Senate in the fall, but you should be aware you have pushed things as far as they can be pushed.

If you back a dog into a corner, at some point it bites, and if you listen carefully across this state you can hear a growl.

There were alternatives to registering my AR-15, but none of them were acceptable to me. I could sell it, but then I wouldn’t have it. I could modify it, but then I would lose the functionality I sought when I bought the gun. I could give it to relatives out of state, but then it wouldn’t be very useful to me when I needed it in a fight.

Which is why I bought my AR-15.

It is a fighting gun. It is, in fact, an assault rifle. I bought it for its intended purpose – near- and medium-range combat.

It is not for hunting, I have guns that do that better. It is not for target shooting, again, I have guns that do that better. It is a not a hobby implement or a status symbol, it is a tool of battle.

And though it’s been a long time since the Army qualified me Expert on this weapon, I think I still get the general idea. And I still want it close at hand.

And if I have to tell you the serial number to do that, at this stage I’m willing to comply. You’ve had the serial numbers of my pistols for a quarter century – another unconstitutional intrusion – and I’ve gotten by. Until freedom truly rings in this country, and a real civil rights movement advances all freedoms, I’ll bow to your power.

But recognize that this is the end.

The fear is that registration leads to confiscation. We shouldn’t fear the consequences of that, Andy, you should. Because when you come for the guns it won’t be the Capitol in the dark of the night, it will be Lexington green in the full light of day. We won’t think of Abraham Lincoln, we’ll think of Charlton Heston.

So we’re clear, Andy, the next step is cold, dead hands.

You ought to pull your head out of your arse long enough to recognize that if you turn up the heat under the pressure cooker it’s apt to blow.

Your arrogance and ignorance have left you blind to the culture and values of the vast majority of your state. You have no idea who we are or what we believe in. All you know to do is to mock us and demean us. Across most of upstate, we don’t have a governor, we have an overseer. You don’t give a damn about us, and the feeling has turned out mutual.

Simply put, we hate you back, Andy.

Me more than most.

My family had been in upstate more than a hundred years when your folks got to Ellis Island, and we’d been downstate some 200 years before that. It doesn’t seem plausible you’re in a position to tell us what New Yorkers value, feel or believe, or to force chains on us our ancestors fought to remove.

And, to be honest, your privileged life doesn’t quite qualify you to expound on American freedoms. I don’t believe you are a veteran, and I don’t believe any blood member of your family has ever served in the U.S. military.

That doesn’t mean anything, of course, unless you happen to be a veteran, in which case it means everything.

You are a tyrant, sir, and you have lost the affection and confidence of people like me.

Which I’m sure means nothing to you.

But you whipped us down on this one. I’ve registered my AR-15. The dog is cowering.

But if you listen you can hear the growl.

And you may yet feel the fang.

I apologize for pasting the entire article, but occasionally my readers don’t go to the links I provide.  In this case you need to read his entire justification for registering his rifle, and I figure that I’ll give him more traffic than he would get at this forum anyway.  Visit his web site and comment using Facebook.

This is an odd commentary, and Bob is clearly conflicted.  He draws his line in the sand, but one gets the feeling that another line has already been crossed, and he backed away from the line.

Bob calls the law an unconstitutional intrusion, which means both that the laws are immoral and lack any compelling justification.  But listen to his reason for acquiescing.

Abraham Lincoln said that obedience to law was the American religion, that it should be taught to babies on their mothers’ knees, that it was the duty of every free man.

He said that unjust and immoral laws should be fought but obeyed. He said that citizens of a Republic cannot pick and choose the laws to which they are obedient. He said they must never tolerate unjust and immoral law, but they must tear them down through constitutional and lawful means.

This is presumably the same Abraham Lincoln who suspended writ of habeas corpus and violated other civil rights, but at any rate, Bob has at the same time called the law immoral and an unconstitutional intrusion (meaning that the law-makers had no legal right to do what they did), and also implied that the recent SAFE act of New York was moral, since Lincoln himself said that we must never tolerate immoral law and Bob is willing to tolerate the SAFE act.

If obedience to the law regardless of its moral justification is the American religion, then the war for independence never really happened.  But we know that it did, and we know that a nation which has such a public religion is doomed.  And a man who can utter such things is in similar jeopardy.

And it will be a cold day in hell before I register my AR-15.

  • Bill Daigle

    I had the same response…you are quoting Lincoln ?? The guy who turned Federal Troops against American Citizens ?? While I understand his reasoning, I think I would have just said ” ya got me, I’ll comply ” . Chances are the people the letter are addressed will never see his thoughts, nor do they care.

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  • Paul B

    I think an 80% build is in my future.

    I agree the writer is in a bind. I would not live in New York for any amount of money.

  • Victor

    “And with five kids still at home, I can’t afford to be the test case.”
    To me, that right there says it all. Bob still has something to lose.

    I figure I’ve still got about three years before my son is ready to accept from me the obligation of his care. Until then it is a balancing act between fighting the State and providing for my family. When the time comes, we can both fight the State.

  • Michael Schlechter

    I thought of this when I read him speak of not being able to afford being a test case, particularly the initial phrase:

    “If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”
    ― Samuel Adams

  • Mike

    He has acquiesced now and when they come for his AR, he will justify more reasons to comply, ie bills, old age, losing job, etc…as the saying goes, a coward dies a thousand deaths..

  • Mike

    Jefferson said it is the duty and obligation of every citizen to disobey unconstitutional laws….he should have remembered that….

  • RAN58

    It seems to me if you can’t take a stand now in the face of adversity, when blood is not required, how will you be able to take a stand later when blood is what is required?
    Just a few short years ago, I took a stand that cost me my job, I was making @$70K working at a mega church on the West Coast, they took a direction I didn’t think squared with the Bible, my supervisor told me before I made a decision that would cost me my job told me to consider my family (2 of my 4 children were still living at home), I did I told him and I was given 30 days to clear out of a job I had held for 6 years. Unable to find a job in the area, we rented out our house to keep from having it foreclosed on, and moved to a state with a lower cost of living. Been underemployed ever since. However we are starting over, and my wife and family and I don’t regret the decision I made.
    When the time comes each of us will have to decide on our own. I kind of like this quote from the movie “Open Range”. It says it all.

    Mack: Shame what this town’s come to.
    Charley Waite: You could do something about it.
    Mack: What? We’re freighters. Ralph here’s a shopkeeper.
    Charley Waite: You’re men, ain’t you?
    Mack: I didn’t raise my boys just to see ‘em killed.
    Charley Waite: Well you may not know this, but there’s things that gnaw at a man worse than dying.

  • Pat Hines

    Compliance is capitulation to tyranny. He should accept his chains and sell his firearms to someone who will use them appropriately.

  • dan

    you like I swoar an oath to the Constitution….did you NOT read the Bill of Rights…2A….by registering your gun ..did you NOT break your oath to the 2A….just asking….Semper Fi

  • Ray

    I affirmed my oath back in 1952, and it is still in force.. I will never ever surrender my means of self-defense to any government thug, well maybe one round at a time…My line in the sand is my property line..

    Cold War Gunner

  • Carl Stevenson

    Yup … Lincoln was a tyrant who violated the Constitution and whose loyalty wasn’t to the founding documents, but to an all powerful federal government.
    This needs to be pointed out every time the tyrant’ swords are cited as justification for subservience to the rule of the Feds.

  • Carl Stevenson

    What will you son face if you allow this tyranny to progress for three more years?
    We don’t do our children any favors by allowing the police state to grow.

  • Carl Stevenson


  • Osmium

    “During World War I, in February 1915,
    local officials in each Armenian district were ordered to surrender
    quotas of firearms. When officials surrendered the required number, they
    were executed for conspiracy against the government. When officials
    could not surrender enough weapons from their community, the officials
    were executed for stockpiling weapons.”


    Either way, it ends the same. Better to dictate the terms of the
    engagement and deny the enemy any knowledge of what you can bring to
    bear against them.

  • NoThanks

    So you bought your AR-15 for short and medium range combat huh? Well, I don’t think so.
    You’ve been weighed and measured bud and failed the test.
    By your own admission, you are a coward that fears the government. We would be better off if you just handed your weapon to someone who has a spine. Pathetic.

  • WickedGames

    The writer has become part of the herd… The cattle…. The sheep.

    Another bystander we will need to get out of our way.

    The boot was pressed down and he fell to his knees. Pressure makes diamonds of some and dust out of others.

  • john c.

    What a pansy. Can you imagine if ‘ol George Washington had this guy’s level (or lack of) resolve. Could you imagine him saying “Gee, if I become general to this cause, I will lose Mt. Vernon, lose my farms, be a social outcast; I will probably live as a pauper the rest of my days, if I don’t get hanged…..guess I won’t do it.”

  • Rick

    Man you are cooked, by your own hand. I get the fear thing…3am no knock raids are a diffucult thing to be calm about, especially when you have a family. I get that…I have the same worry. Family is paramount and as the head of the house, I have to think about what my choses do to the family.
    However, this following Linclon’s advice…..different matter. So first, you follow the directives of a (presidential) domestic terrorist who unleashed unconditional war on one half of the “united states”. Between 650000 and 1 million people would think that was a bad basis. Besides, by that logic, King George would have been right and we had no right to follow our revolution; after all Georgie was the legal king and was well within the mandates of the laws of merry ole’ england. And finally, when the local state or fed popo says “time is up, we got a new regulation and so now you have to turn them all in” and Judge BOB, the well paid (for) judge agrees…..what is you logic then. After all, its a law and the judge agrees, so even though it is more North Korean than Jeffersonian in nature, your only option is to join the other sheep for shearing…..smooth move ace. Its is bad enough to be hoisted on someone else’s petard, but to cook your own goose is really dumb.

  • Liberta Columbia

    Lincoln was a Godless homosexual. Of course he would say that obedience to the law is the American religion. Obedience to God was the American religion in Lincoln’s time. God did say to be obedient to the law, but he didn’t say to worship the government.
    Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. – Romans 13:1-2
    That doesn’t mean that the government is good or righteous. The people will get the government they deserve. Sometimes God gives the people an evil ruler because they have sins to pay for. America rejected God about 60 years ago, and now it is about time for us to pay for our wickedness. These will certainly be difficult times for upright, God-fearing Americans because many immoral laws are being passed. Gun-control, government surveillance, unisex bathrooms and locker rooms in public schools, Obamacare forces us all to pay for abortions… Soon they will outlaw all forms of independent-living – no more vitamins and minerals, no more backyard gardens…
    What is a normal person to do?
    Surely oppression maketh a wise man mad. Ecclesiastes 7:7
    These things make me want to take up arms and start a revolution, but what if Daniel did that to Babylon and Nebuchadnezzar?
    Americans need to get on their knees and repent before God. A revolution is not going to calm His wrath. Voting is not going to fix our problems. Unfortunately we are probably more corrupt and depraved than the Israelites were before they were carried off to bondage. A grand spiritual revival and revolution is the only thing that will help us.

  • pjb1

    Eh, I don’t think it’s such a big deal. Anyone who ever paid taxes that he thought weren’t justified, has backed away from a line in the sand. Everybody submits – up to a point.

    “He has acquiesced now and when they come for his AR, he will justify more reasons to comply…”

    This is mere assertion. You don’t know him.

    The point is not whether he filled in some paperwork; it’s what he will do if someone comes to confiscate his gun. That’s when we will find out whether he is a man or not.

    Keep in mind we have all essentially registered our guns – it’s called NICS (and no, they didn’t delete the record – only a fool would think that). It’s true that the feds don’t know where every gun is, but they don’t have to. They just have to know where every gun nut is (or almost every one), and they do know that. Again, just like with Bob, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is whether we are up to killing those who attempt to confiscate guns; whether we will go to war when the thugs bring the war to us.

  • pjb1

    By the way, I am not saying it is a bad idea to resist or to refrain from complying with petty dictates like the “SAFE” act. I think it is well worth doing that. Resist as much as you can reasonably manage. Stop obeying every law if you are up to it. I just don’t think we need to keelhaul guys like Bob for going along.

  • pjb1

    Most people don’t have a heck of a lot of control whether tyranny increases or not.

    Revolutions come when it is time for them to come. The time is now ripe for another one. Now we will have a say in it.

  • bloodyspartan

    Use the Writer as a bullet shield.

  • bloodyspartan

    Burn in Hell you lying fraudulent SOB..
    you folks using your Kids as an excuse are the worst. My Kids got mine the Hell with your Kids and those still to come.

    Quislings Like you are the first to sacrifice present children for a future for all under slavery.

    You conveniently Quote Lincoln but forget the others who spoke of Treason and Destroying The Govt that creates Bad Law and Tyranny.

    You Ignore the Declaration of Independence which gives us the Duty and Right to do all of this for all time.
    Spare me your Hypocrisy, Hypocrisy is the greatest SIN, You can justify anything with Hypocrisy.

    Burn Coward Burn and I hope your Family Exiles you for Cowardice

  • doobie

    Believe me,unless you been taking extraordinary precautions to mask your identity on the internet for the past 5+ years you can bet your paycheck that the government has a value next to your name for your perceived risk to them.

    This append just increased my score measurably and your simple viewing also gave your score a tweak. We’re all in the system and just pray that you’re not in the first wave of confiscations when they come.

  • Nam Marine

    You are a Moron !

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  • K R

    This is sad for every rifle registered it just hurts firearms owners. Resist and disobey!! Sic Semper tyranus! Audaces Fortuna Juvat!

  • Smarter_than_you

    You can’t justify your actions. You can’t threaten…”just you wait….you push me again and you’ll see” You’ve given up. You shouldn’t even have written this article. It was a waste of time. You did it to make you feel better and it didn’t work.

  • Borchardt

    He even call it an “assault rifle”. I wonder if the dips hit made up the whole story.

  • Sheri

    New Yorkers need to vote with their feet. Move out and leave the liberals to an empty state with no tax to collect. I know it would be difficult, but with organized planning, it could happen. How many companies would be willing to move taking the jobs and employees with them? How many are unemployed and need a change of scenery anyway?

  • ebola131

    Lincoln instigated the deaths of 600,000+ Americans…..because he disagreed with their politics.
    Obama and the Marxist cabal won’t hesitate to “don’t let a crisis go to waste”.
    If you want to get control of the “out of control”; wack a random bureaucrat on a daily basis.
    Billy Clinton found that to be most effective.
    Once they become aware of the risk of being part of the problem, they tend to disappear quickly and the system goes into cardiac arrest.

You are currently reading "I Registered My AR-15", entry #12156 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) AR-15s,Guns and was published April 15th, 2014 by Herschel Smith.

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