September 14, 2004
A-hunting we will goBy Douglas Hanson
The small band of terrorists thought that things were going their way. They had even succeeded in convincing a portion of middle class citizens that they were fighting for a just representation in their country's political process. This was a significant gain for their cause, because the city had millions of people, and even a small percentage of the mainstream of society who supported the organization gave a certain legitimacy to their actions. Also, an increasingly nuanced and sophisticated press provided a public relations platform whereby the terms 'militia' and 'revolutionaries' were used in reference to what was, in reality, nothing more than a band of savage criminals.
The group's methods were fairly standard for terrorist organizations. They had already executed the head of a local school system, kidnapped important people in the community, and, when finances dried up from their rich benefactors, a visit to the local bank for an unauthorized withdrawal was usually more than enough to refill their coffers. They moved amongst the populace, acquiring both semi— and fully—automatic rifles and manufacturing rudimentary explosive devices. They also had a system of safe houses that they believed were beyond the scrutiny of the local security forces.
But this was about to change.
The police had analyzed intelligence and had received tips from local citizens to finally determine the location of the band's current safe house; and on a calm spring day, deployed a specially trained police unit along with over 200 regular 'line' police officers. Their assessment was literally dead on. The police demand for the group's surrender was answered with a hail of semi— and full—auto rifle fire. The huge firefight lasted well over an hour. The police fired more than 5,000 rounds, while the terrorists fired over 3,500 rounds and threw several of the improvised explosive devices (IED) at the security forces. The battle finally ended when the safe house burned to the ground taking all of the terrorists with it.
Given the intensity of the gun battle, it was amazing that no members of the security force were killed, and just as miraculous, no innocent bystanders in the neighborhood lost heir lives. This was because this fight did not involve Iraqi security forces battling a highly trained terrorist cell led by Abu Musab al—Zarqawi, rather, it was the May 1974 shoot—out and siege between six members of the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) and the LAPD and SWAT in south—central
One reason that the [two hundred] police prevailed with no loss of innocent life is that the
Against the backdrop of homeland security concerns since 9—11, and the siege and the resulting carnage at the school in Beslan,
Further, Kerry tried to reassure the faithful that he had no intention of fiddling with the 2d Amendment, and that,
...as a hunter and outdoorsman he would never try to change the Second Amendment to the Constitution giving Americans the right to bear arms.
So there you have it. In a post 9—11 world with rampant illegal immigration, and civilian facilities around the world coming under frequent terrorist attack, John Kerry wants to make the
From a national policy standpoint, the American left has been at this gun control effort for decades, even when war was looming in the 30s and 40s. The question is, have the American people viewed personal firearm possession an important part of the security equation after 9—11 as compared to say, post—Pearl Harbor? Studies 2 have indicated that the answer is yes, and for a rather interesting reason.
It is very difficult to obtain an estimate of the number of firearms present in the
Congress passed the Federal Firearms Act in 1938 that required manufactures, dealers, and importers to obtain a license and to keep a record of their transactions. It also prohibited felons from receiving gun shipments and curbed movement of stolen arms or those with altered serial numbers 3. Many felt the law did not go far enough, especially when compared to
However, estimating the number of firearms and the pattern of possession before and after 9—11 is another matter. Given the ongoing and intense debate on gun control, and the actions of citizens after 911, a clearer picture emerged. According to the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action, the number of privately owned firearms in the
After the terrorist attacks of 9—11, the pattern changed dramatically across the nation. For example, in the state of
So what is the difference between the post—Pearl Harbor time period, when there was apparently a business—as—usual approach when it came to firearms, and the aftermath of 9—11, where the firearms industry had a huge spike in business? The answer is simply this: the number of men and women in uniform.
In September of 1940, after the Selective Training and Service Act was enacted, the Army reached its intended strength of 1.5 million midway through 1941; a full six months prior to
In contrast, the post—9—11 mobilization of selected reserve component units amounted to a mere 81,926 as of the end of April 2002. And, while initially visible in airports and at key facilities, their presence was hardly overwhelming compared to the numbers of soldiers in late 1941 and early 1942. Since the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom, many more Reserve and National Guard units have been mobilized, but these troops are for overseas duty to support the Global War on Terror, including operations in
However, this turns the whole concept of National Guard and local militia on its head. Without the Guard present, we have to rely on local police units, whose proficiency is suspect, especially if they have to go up against a well—trained al—Qaeda cell. What are US citizens to do? Klinger and Grossman recommend two possible methods to establish a
The Israeli model would not likely get out of the starting gate in the
Much has been written on the Swiss model, since the tradition of an armed society was the result of the horrendous massacre of Swiss Confederates on the
President Bush and the Pentagon have wisely decided to go on the offense in the War on Terror, but border defenses are almost nil. Over the last 25 years, our National Guard has been configured around combat formations designed to deploy overseas in order to be a vital part of the active forces fulfilling their combat role. Therefore, we must face up to the fact that the only deterrence in our communities is the 65 million US citizens who have decided to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights.
The establishment of a formal militia is a discussion for another time, but this much is self—evident: the constant nibbling away at gun rights by the left will not hurt the terrorists one iota, but the banning of the type of firearms that are the most capable of stopping them will only breed more attacks of the type witnessed in Beslan. Keep in mind that
For years John Kerry and the left have wanted an outright ban of the very instruments that are most suitable to help protect our towns from intruders. Now we are told, don't worry, you can still go hunting. In a strange way, perhaps Kerry is right about this being about hunting. If Kerry and the left's plan for gun control succeeds, it will turn our citizens into the hunted, much as we witnessed in LA in 1974 and Beslan just a few weeks ago. My bet is that the American people would much prefer to be the hunter.
1. Klinger, David A., Dave Grossman (2002). Who should deal with foreign terrorists on
2. Hanson, Douglas G., (2002). Explanations for firearm possession levels after major attacks on the
3. DeConde, Alexander (2001). Gun Violence In
4. Commerce In Firearms In The
5. Halbrook, Stephen P. (1998). An Armed Society. In The American Guardian, (January 1998)
Douglas Hanson is our military affairs correspondent