FREE Youth Plan Gun Rights Campaign
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Firearm Rights Endorsed through Education
FREE Youth Civil Rights Campaign
January Educational Events Planned for youth ages 13-20!
A Letter from FREE Youth
The tragedy at Columbine High School broke all of our hearts. Many of us lost friends, family members, and acquaintances; all of us lost our sense of joy and security. Our tears pour for the innocents who lost their lives and for their families.
In the wake of such devastation we must ask what we can do to prevent such anguish in the future. Even though some will always commit crime, our precautions can minimize the damage.
Two very different paths lie before us. The first path is that of increased political control: more laws, more government monitoring of citizens, more reliance on elected officials to solve our social problems for us.
We of FREE Youth favor the second path. We advocate a return to self-governance. We call on individuals to take greater responsibility for their own actions. We call on parents to communicate better with their children and build a stronger family. We call on school officials to promote safety and civility. We call on individuals to responsibly protect their own homes and families.
We believe the path of politics is a false hope. It promises the easy way out, but it leads only to self-deception. We believe that only through individual responsibility can we truly create a better, more hopeful society.
FREE Youth is particularly concerned with the civil right of gun ownership, as many of the proposals for new reactionary laws aim at infringing this right. Not only do individuals prevent crime over a million times per year, but several of the public shootings in recent years were ended by responsible adults carrying guns. The political path, if anything, is counter-productive. It prevents honest citizens from protecting themselves, their families, and others under their care.
We hope you, the members of our Colorado communities, will join us on the path of self-governance and individual responsibility. We believe only this path can take us to the safe, honorable society we all want.
The Right of Individuals to Bear Arms in America
Arms and American Government
"Disperse you Rebels -- Damn you, throw down your arms and disperse!"
Thus cried a British officer on April 19, 1775. Stephen Halbrook writes of that day, "The Revolutionary War was sparked when militiamen exercising at Lexington refused to give up their arms."
Halbrook adds, "Like other oppressions, the British attempts to disarm the inhabitants of Boston over the period of 1768-1775 were widely reported and criticized in the newspapers of the other colonies" (A Right to Bear Arms, Greenwood Press).
"As of oligarchy so of tyranny...
This perpetual tyranny of the British occupying forces left a mark on the intellectual life of the founders of the United States, informing their writing of the Declaration of Independence and later the Bill of Rights as well as the various state constitutions.
Americans remained free of national gun-control laws for 158 years, from the signing of the Declaration in 1776 until the National Firearms Act of 1934. In the 65 years since the passage of that Act, the Federal government has passed additional gun-control laws, including the 1968 Gun-Control Act.
The U.S. Constitution Protects Right to Bear Arms
The Second Amendment reads, "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
Should other Amendments be interpreted to give only the government rights? Of course not! The First Amendment reads, "Government shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble..." Does "the people" mean only government-authorized organizations? What about "the people" mentioned in the Fourth and Ninth Amendments?
The Bill of Rights is about individual rights, not government rights.
"I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people.
The Colorado Constitution
The Colorado Constitution reads, "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."
"We must stand ever strong against those who would ignore
Obviously, the state government cannot pass any law which restricts a person from keeping a gun in the home or from carrying a gun visibly on one's person.
Some anti-gun activists say the Colorado Constitution outlaws concealed carry, but that is not the case -- it simply does not ensure the right of concealed carry in the Constitution. The state legislature already grants local sheriffs authority to issue concealed carry permits, and it could legally pass a state-wide concealed carry law.
Racist Gun-Control Laws
Various states passed limited gun-control laws prior to the 1934 Act. Following the Civil War, Southern states passed laws preventing African Americans from defending themselves against white racists such as the Ku Klux Klan. Other laws aimed at disarming immigrants.
Arms: A Modern Right
However, despite the efforts of some federal and state politicians the restrict the right of law-abiding citizens to bear arms, millions of people today continue to enjoy that right. In fact, over 30 states in the nation now allow citizens to carry concealed handguns on their persons. (In Colorado, local sheriffs can issue concealed handgun permits, but state law does not yet recognize the right of all adults to carry concealed.)
Many enjoy target shooting or hunting. Others collect rare and valuable firearms, continuing the tradition of our first president George Washington, who owned over 50 guns in his collection. Honest citizens also use guns to thwart crime over a million times per year.
"Arms discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe,
Responsible, Armed Adults Prevent Crime
Armed individuals in America prevent rape, murder, burglary, and other types of assault over a million times per year (Gary Kleck, Targeting Guns, Aldine de Gruyter).
Usually a gun is merely brandished, not fired, in order to scare off the criminal. Even more often, criminals simply don't attack those who may be armed. On balance, many more lives have been saved, and crimes prevented, by individuals using guns for self-defense against violent criminals.
Two of the shootings of recent years were stopped by armed adults at the scene. At Pearl High School in Mississippi, Principal Joel Myrick retrieved his pistol from his car to stop a deranged student who had opened fire on others.
Thanks to state laws permitting concealed carry, many are able to prevent crime outside the home. Even though crime has climbed drastically since the early 1900s, it has begun to drop somewhat in the last several years, owing partly to laws permitting concealed carry.
Between 1977 and 1992, 31 states that passed concealed-carry laws saw a reduction of murders by 8.5 percent, rapes by 5 percent, and aggravated assaults by 7 per-cent, as Professor John Lott demonstrated in his book More Guns, Less Crime (University of Chicago Press), the most comprehensive study ever conducted on gun laws.
Lott also found that in those states that enacted liberal concealed carry laws, the number of mass public shootings dropped dramatically.
Youth and Guns
Dr. Alan Lizotte from the State University of New York at Albany has found that youth who are trained in the use of guns are less likely to use guns to commit violent acts throughout life. This makes sense, because learning to shoot a firearm accurately requires dedication and patience.
Thousands of young people in Colorado learn to handle guns safely and effectively with their parents or through shooting clubs.
Those youth who train with firearms will be better able to protect their families from crime once they grow older.
"A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises,
In addition, youth who train with firearms provide an important link in the nation's security, because if, God forbid, our nation is ever attacked again, our defense will depend in part on young men and women who trained to use firearms in their youth.
Today's free youth look forward to carrying on the traditions of the 18th Century Bill of Rights into the 21st Century.
"False is the idea of utility... that would take fire from men because it burns, and water because one may drown in it... The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Can it be supposed that those who have the courage to violate the most sacred laws of humanity... will respect the less important and arbitrary ones, which can be violated with ease and impunity, and which, if strictly obeyed, would put an end to personal liberty ... and subject innocent persons to all the vexations that the guilty alone ought to suffer? Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man." - Cesare Beccaria, father of modern criminology
Anti-Gun Activists Promote Emotionalism, Half-Truths
Myth: "Owning a Firearm is Dangerous"
Fact: Accidental gun deaths have been falling steadily since the early 1900s.
Fact: According to the National Safety Council's Accident Facts, in 1997 accidents with guns accounted for only 1.6% of all accidental deaths.
Fact: Contrary to deceptive statistics issued by the anti-gun lobby, those who arm themselves are less likely to fall victim to crime. The guns of law-abiding citizens are much more likely to be used in defense against a criminal than against the owner.
Myth: "13 Children Are Shot Each Day"
Fact: This statistic is flagrantly misleading. It includes adults up to 20 years old. It includes minors and young adults who are killed while committing a crime. It also includes young gang members for whom violence is a way of life.
Myth: "Gun-Controls Have Reduced Crime in America and Elsewhere"
Fact: Gun-control hasn't reduced crime in America. In fact, some gun-control laws have actually increased rapes and assaults by making it more difficult for women and others to buy a gun for self-defense (Lott).
Fact: In 1996, the Australian govern-ment confiscated the peoples' firearms. Within 12 months of disarming Australian citizens, homicides were up 3.2%, assaults were up 8.6%, armed-robberies were up 44%, unarmed robberies were up 21%, unlawful entries are were 3.9%, and motor vehicle thefts were up 6.1%.
Fact: Gun-control laws in other countries have not reduced crime in those countries. Other countries that require every citizen to own guns have low crime rates (Tedd Robert Gurr, ed., Violence in America, Don Kates, "Firearms and Violence," Sage).
Myth: "Mandatory Gun Locks are Safe"
Fact: A gun is useful for self-defense against rapists and burglars only when the honest citizen is able to access the gun quickly. Mandatory gun locks will make guns largely useless against crime.
Myth:"Adults 18-21 Should Be Disarmed"
Fact: Laws which prohibit lawful adults from purchasing guns for self-defense will only make these citizens easy prey for rapists and burglars. If 18 year olds can drive tanks for the Army, they should be able to purchase guns for self-defense.
"I'm very concerned that laws like mandatory gun locks will make it impossible for my mother to protect herself and me against rapists and burglars. I also think it's ridiculous that some want to prevent me from buying a gun for self-defense once I turn 18. If I'm living on my own then, I'll be much safer if I can exercise my right of self-defense."
Myth: "Restricting Gun Shows Will Prevent Crime"
Fact: Anti-gun propaganda to the contrary, Department of Justice statistics show that gun shows account for only 2% of the guns used in crimes (David Kopel, "Gun Shows Under Attack," The American Guar-dian). The majority of guns used in crime are acquired by theft or the black market.
Myth:"Gun Registration Prevents Crime"
Fact: Career criminals will not register their guns. One-time criminals are not going to be stopped just because their guns are registered. The government should not register guns any more than it should register the First Amendment right to free speech.
Fact: Already in the U.S. in places like California, New York, and Washington, D.C. and in other nations such as England and Australia, registration of guns has led to the confiscation of guns. The explicit goal of the anti-gun lobby is to eventually ban guns in America. Registration is just one step toward that goal.
More Guns, Less Crime, John Lott, University of Chicago Press 1998.
The Samurai, the Montie, and the Cowboy: Should America Adopt the Gun Controls of Other Democracies? David Kopel, Prometheus 1992.
That Every Man be Armed, Stephen Halbrook 1994.
The Independence Institute at www.i2i.org.
The Colorado Freedom Report at www.freecolorado.com.
Colorado Gun Rights Groups
Colorado State Shooting Association, http://cssa.org (720) 283 - 1376.
Firearms Coalition, (303) 794 - 7261.
Pro-Second Amendment Committee, (970) 464 - 5177.
Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, www.rmgo.org, (303) 432-3006.
Adults: CSSA, http://cssa.org/clubs or (720) 283 - 1376. Pro-Second, (970) 464 - 5177 (Western Slope).
Youth: 4-H, (303) 637 - 8100. The Boy Scouts, contact local groups. Colorado Youth Hunter Education Challenge, (719) 589 - 2167.