Time for Californians to Get Their Gun Rights Back
I have lived and worked in this area for many years. It's my community – my neighborhood. It's where my kids went to school, rode their bikes, and played in the park, and where I bought my first home. It's where my wife and I both graduated from college.
The attacks at the Inland Regional Center occurred about 2 miles from the hospital where my wife works and where a number of the wounded were taken.
We attend church about a mile away on the same street where the terrorists were killed, and we routinely drive past their condo as we go about our daily lives.
Like a lot of folks, I am deeply saddened and enraged at what has happened.
I am not a victim, and none of my loved ones are directly affected by this evil. But it touches everyone in this area. It has invaded all of our lives.
We're told in Scripture that our spiritual adversary is a liar and a murderer. His followers are not at all different. They seek no dialogue or accommodation. Theirs is a desire for conquest and domination. They live to murder and wage war.
War came to our parents and grandparents, and they answered the call on foreign soil. We are forever indebted to them. But this time, our enemy is on American soil – living among us.
Quietly they work alongside us, laugh with us, share meals and celebrate holidays with us. They go to work, pay their bills, mow their lawns, raise their families, and plot to murder in cold blood their neighbors, co-workers, and friends.
Savage, barbaric, cruel, and irrational, they are evil clothed in human flesh.
Such an enemy is not open to negotiation, because he seeks only victory or defeat – life or death. Either we die or they die, or both.
Don't get me wrong; I've never gone looking for a fight, and I'm not seeking one now. But last week, the fight arrived on my doorstep. And it may be arriving on your doorstep very soon. So it pays to know one's enemy.
What Shall We Do?
We can and should pray for the victims and their families.
We should pray for law enforcement and all the first responders who did their jobs with such excellence and continue to do so. They are heroes, and they do us proud. We are so incredibly thankful for them.
And we should pray for our enemies who lie in wait – those friends, neighbors, co-workers, and total strangers whose bloodlust is fueled by a malevolent, twisted religious/political ideology that seeks to enslave or entomb those who dare to dissent. Such wickedness can never be fully overcome except by the surpassing love of one's Creator.
Our prayer is a potent weapon in this war.
But, just as our brothers, fathers, and grandfathers did, war must also be fought with human tools – weapons of war.
In other words, guns.
The predictable knee-jerk cries for more gun control are just plain dumb, for the unarmed man is at the mercy of his attackers. And, as we've seen, our enemy offers no mercy – only death.
As Americans, we have a right to own and carry firearms in order to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our neighbors. Had one or two people been armed in San Bernardino, it could very well have saved lives.
I've owned firearms all my life. But I have never possessed a concealed carry permit (CCW) – mainly because it is a huge hassle.
In California, local police and sheriff's departments set the parameters for a CCW. As operators in a "may issue" state, these local officials determine whether you have a valid need (aka "good cause") to carry a weapon. Of course, it is they who get to define what is valid using vague and often politicized protocols.
In other words, the local police or sheriff decides if you can exercise your 2nd Amendment freedoms. How insane is that?
The fees associated with a CCW in California are often significant. By the time classes are taken and the permit is secured, it costs around $400, including fees for background checks, fingerprints, testing and training fees…etc. And that's not including the purchase of the weapon, which, for a decent handgun, can run $400-$600, plus up to 10% sales tax, not to mention the cost of holsters, ammunition, and ongoing training.
We're talking a bare minimum of somewhere between $800 and $1,000 just to purchase one firearm and secure a CCW.
For many, defending oneself and one's loved ones has become unaffordable. It's cheaper to take your chances. And in some areas (like Los Angeles and Riverside Counties), there is almost no reason good enough to satisfy the police and obtain a permit – unless, of course, you are a celebrity or government official.
Strangely, self-defense is often not considered "good cause." It's not in my county.
Finally, Californians must wait ten days to receive their firearm in addition to waiting for the lengthy processing of the CCW. According to gun control advocates, the ten-day waiting period guards against crimes of passion. But it only empowers the wicked (who do not obey gun laws anyway) by denying regular citizens the ability to quickly provide for their own defense.
Without a firearm, we are sitting ducks for our enemies. In this case, when freedom is delayed, freedom is denied. And freedom denied can get you and others killed.
So most of us are left to the mercy of our attackers. As happened in San Bernardino, we can only shelter in place and lock ourselves in an office, a closet, or a bathroom and cower as we text our families to say a final "I love you" or "pray for us" while our friends and co-workers' brains are being splattered on the office wall.
Excessive fees, long wait times, and "may issue" regulations do not protect the public. They are red-tape roadblocks designed to deny people the right of self-defense by making the process too difficult, too expensive, and too time-consuming. This effectively nullifies the 2nd Amendment for millions of Californians.
This is grossly immoral and unconstitutional. And it is costing people their lives.
It is time for all citizens, especially in California, to rise up and demand that our officials abide by the Constitution both in letter and in practice.
War at Home
War has come to our backyard. It is a guerrilla war, and it is unpredictable. We are all targets whether we are at work, at home, at school, at the market, or at the mall. We might be at the park or in the mountains or soaking up some rays at the beach or catching the latest big-screen release.
This war can strike us anywhere at any time.
We must be vigilant, we must be prayerful, and we must be adequately armed. It is our civic and moral duty.
Gun-free zones are target-rich environments for our enemies. We must deny them the freedom to kill us and our children and grandchildren unopposed.
No more cowering behind locked doors.
No more helpless Americans depending on the mercy of merciless killers.
For my part, I will lawfully and responsibly exercise that right as soon as practically possible. Self-defense and the defense of those whom we love and care for are human rights and our highest human duty. We must oppose evil and protect the innocent, for that is the hallmark of human decency and the moral code of heaven.
It is long past time that Americans be allowed to shoot back.
Jay Clarke is a small businessman in Southern California. He can be contacted at email@example.com.