At about 10:05 pm today, I appeared on 9 News to discuss a legal challenge in which I'm involved against the gun show (background check) initiative. I had recorded the interview earlier in the day. Apparently, my peaceable, lawful action is too much for some supporters of the S.A.F.E. initiative to bear. The anti-gun lobby group Sane Alternatives to the Firearms Epidemic, the name of which likens gun ownership to a disease, is the sponsor of the initiative which seeks to expand background registrations to private sales at gun shows.
At about 10:07 pm today, I received an anonymous, threatening phone call. When I answered the phone, a male voice said, "Hey Nazi back off," then hung up.
The invective is particularly offensive since I'm a civil libertarian opposed to fascism in all its forms. The term "Nazi" is short for "National Socialism," the German form of fascist socialism led by Adolf Hitler in mid-century. The Nazis were racists as well as fascists and murdered millions of innocent Jews and other persons. Recently, I published an article by Bob Glass about the horrors of the Nazi holocaust which stole the lives of Glass' family members. Leon Uris records many of the Nazi atrocities in his novel Mila 18, in which a brave group of Jews take up arms in a desperate fight against the Nazis. (My first name is taken from another of Uris' novels.)
The invective is ironic since the gun show initiative itself could be considered a fascist proposal. The Austrian economists define fascism as type of socialism in which the state controls nominally private property. The gun show initiative seeks to put private property -- in this case firearms -- under the direct control of state and federal authorities. Thus, it is a step toward fascism, and that is precisely why I oppose it.
Because of incomplete and inaccurate records, background registration checks usually deny lawful citizens their rights to purchase a firearm for self-defense. This violates the civil rights of property ownership, self-defense, and due process.
So what did I say that resulted in a gun opponent threatening me? Adam Schrager of 9 News did his usual excellent job of putting together a fair, well-researched piece. In addition to selecting opposing comments by a S.A.F.E. lawyer, he and the 9 News team used three of my quotes on air:
The anti-gun lobby S.A.F.E. claims they collected 108,000 signatures. But it's easy to collect a lot of signatures if you do it illegally.
We're going to use every means at our disposal to protect individual rights. [The context of this comment was partially lost in the cut; the line was a response to the question of why we're pursuing legal action as well as public education to fight the background registration check initiative.]
If the Supreme Court follows Colorado law then we have a good chance of succeeding on this level.
Directly after those lines aired, my phone rang. Unfortunately, that's not the first time I've been threatened by an opponent of gun ownership. (Of course I assume the S.A.F.E. leadership condemns such threats. We can't know if the anonymous caller is a member of the group or simply supports its initiative.) On May 3, one S.A.F.E. member told me, "I ought to bash you over the head."
Recently in Fort Collins, a woman who opposes the right of self-defense struck a member of the Tyranny Response Team with a clip board. At a rally in Boulder earlier this year, Robert Howell, vice president of the anti-gun Boulder Bell Campaign, attacked Shariar Ghalam, bloodying his nose. (Ghalam was carrying a concealed handgun but never drew it, not believing his life was in danger.) This summer, supporters of the anti-gun Million Mom March stole supplies from the Second Amendment Sisters and vandalized SAS property. For people supposedly advocating safety, some gun opponents display a surprising level of violent tendencies.
But "back off" is exactly what I won't be doing. Instead, I will redouble my efforts to defend the civil liberties of every individual, including the minority of gun owners. (Fortunately, I am kept safer by gun ownership in my neighborhood, which deters assaults.)
Freedom is not a loophole. The S.A.F.E. background registration check initiative would empower criminals and violate the civil rights of law-abiding citizens. I will help fight it until it no longer threatens our safety and our liberties.