David Codrea passes along a statement from LWRC International where they have told us that they will move their company out of Maryland if the proposed unconstitutional gun ban passes. I appreciate their patriotism, and I have already weighed in informing Beretta that they must move as well if they wish to survive as a company.
But there’s some fascinating movement in the proposed weapons ban in Maryland. I must quote at length.
When hunters argued that Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s proposed assault-weapons ban would ruin their sport, state lawmakers were not moved. When devotees of the National Rifle Association cried that it would trample on their constitutional rights, lawmakers did not blink.
But then there were the soldiers, who showed up in Annapolis by the dozens this year and quietly became one of the most influential critics of O’Malley’s gun-control plan. Veterans streaming back from Iraq and Afghanistan have argued that freedoms they fought for overseas would be violated at home.
Some also came with a different, more complicated message that has resonated with lawmakers, who are now considering significantly weakening the proposal by O’Malley, a Democrat, by exempting several military-style weapons.
The very guns the veterans used in war — the ones they sang about in boot camp, slept with, cared for, cleaned, prayed with, the guns that led them down dark alleys and through firefights — have now become something altogether different. They are instruments of catharsis more than violence, a postwar release, therapy through the crosshairs.
Since he has returned from Afghanistan, A.J. Wynne, 24, who was a corporal in the Marines, has spent countless hours shooting in the farmland north of Frederick, Md. On a recent Sunday, he picked up his semiautomatic rifle, put down his demons and let muscle memory take over.
Breathe. Focus. Squeeze.
The weapon erupted into a violent cacophony — 30 shots in 11 seconds — and sent the crows in the treesbolting skyward.
The smile made his beard rise. He reloaded.
Wynne knows there are those who would argue that he is perhaps the last person who should be given unfettered access to high-powered, semiautomatic rifles that are designed to emulate the weapons he was trained to use in battle.
For months after coming home, Wynne would lunge to the ground at the sound of a weapon firing or a car backfiring. At night, he would awaken to find himself wrestling an invisible enemy, flailing and slamming the nightstand and leaving his girlfriend, Tara, cowering at the end of the bed.
The nightmares have subsided, but guns have become an ever bigger part of his life. He sells them, trains people how to shoot them, collects them, and has positioned them around his home so they are never more than a few steps away.
As the House of Delegates debates O’Malley’s bill, the veterans’ argument appears to be having an effect. After passing the Senate, the legislation is bogged down in an influential House committee, where lawmakers say they are concerned about the effect of the assault-weapons ban. Members of both parties say they are considering rolling back provisions of O’Malley’s ban, potentially leaving legal for purchase many semiautomatic rifles modeled after military ones.
State Del. Kathleen Dumais, a Montgomery County Democrat and vice chair of the House Judiciary Committee, said veterans and competitive sportsmen were central factors in her thinking that a total ban may be inappropriate.
“We have problems with soldiers returning from combat and taking their own lives. That’s a big deal, and we need to talk about that overall in this country,” added state Del. Michael McDermott, an Eastern Shore Republican and former member of the U.S. Army Reserve. “But banning these weapons? For some guys, that’s actually therapy …
While he understands that many like to shoot for recreation or even relaxation, Democratic Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, a colonel in the Army Reserve, said that doesn’t mean you need to have a weapon designed for war.
[ ... ]
“I came home and bought an M4 and $1,000 worth of suits at Joseph Banks” to look for a new job, said Obest.
“I want to be able to be an asset to my community if I am needed. If there is a disaster, and the road is blocked and I can’t get to the armory, I want to be able to tell my mayor that, ‘I’ve got this. I’m here. I can help keep order.’ “
First, as for Brown, no one cares what he thinks.
Second, let’s deal with the lawmakers. I am generally opposed to treatment of veterans which differs from treatment of the balance of U.S. citizens. The idiot Feinstein wants to ban combat veterans from having firearms. As I said, she is an idiot and so her ideas are idiotic. On the other hand, I am uninterested in the cathartic affect of firearms for veterans if civilians cannot have them.
So naturally, I see the actions of lawmakers who insist of being Fascists, but who back down because they might be seen as opposing the voice of veterans as cowardly. But then again, saying that politicians are cowardly is redundant in most cases.
Veterans mostly just want you to see them as normal people, and for you to fulfill your contractual obligations to them (involving the GI bill, etc.). I know because my son is a Marine Corps veteran … a veteran of a combat tour in Fallujah in 2007, MOS 0311. So I’ve put in my time standing at the doorway to my home at 0200 hours looking out into the driveway and wondering if a Marine Corps officer and a Chaplain were going to show up any minute.
Third, speaking of Marines and veterans and guns and what you do stateside, you have made a serious blunder, Mr. Obest, and it is this blunder where I want to spend the rest of our time together.
You’ve made it easy on yourself. Listen to me, boy. Take it from someone who is more than twice your age. God has placed a thousand unexpected things in my path over my lifetime. You cannot prepare for the unexpected, but what you can do is train your body, mind and soul. The mind and soul are the most important.
You need to have a set of incorrigible beliefs – a worldview – a set of irreducible axioms – upon which to base your life. This way, when you face the unexpected you will have some moral moorings upon which to lean.
It’s too easy to imagine that a natural disaster occurs and you are called upon to “keep order,” whatever that means. Frankly, you’re better off just ensuring that your family and loved ones are cared for and protected.
It’s much more likely that you will be called upon in darker circumstances, and it is these conditions you must consider. I have asked my own son what he would do if ordered to bear arms against American citizens, and the answer is not only no, but “No, and I will prevent others from doing so. Not a single one of my old unit would do such a thing.”
So you see, I’m not impressed with the felt need to shoot, although I certainly have that and like to do that. I would be much more impressed if you would simply cite the constitution and demand rights for not only yourself, but your fellow citizens in the broader context of the intention of the second amendment.
So Obest, listen to me, son. Heed my counsel (Leviticus 19:32). Life’s vicissitudes are hard and complicated, and you haven’t seen anywhere near the worst of it, regardless of what you saw in Egypt.
You need to ask yourself some very hard questions regarding world view, morality, and basic commitment to liberty. Suppose that you are called upon to “keep order” while the statists confiscate weapons, or confiscate wealth, or confiscate children? Will you fire upon American citizens if ordered to? I know my son’s answer. How about yours?
UPDATE: Thanks to Mike and David for the attention.