The Need For Effective Civil Disobedience
Virginia/United States – -(AmmoLand.com)-When advocacy fails, Second Amendment supporters are then faced with the hard choice: Do they comply with laws that are clearly unconstitutional, or do they disobey them? Civil disobedience is a grave step to take: Those choosing that path are risking a criminal record by defying unjust laws – and make no mistake about it, laws like semi-auto bans are unjust on both the constitutional level, as well as based on the facts.
The proposed gun ban in Virginia is one of the most egregiously unjust bans we have seen. It clearly warrants civil disobedience.
It should be kept in mind that civil disobedience is a tool, and like all tools, it must be used properly to be effective. In essence, it is telling the government that it stands at grave risk of completely losing the consent of the governed. Such a loss of consent in the 1763-1776 timeframe led to the Revolutionary War.
Done properly, civil disobedience can turn a country’s attitude around on an issue. See the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s. That worked because it made people question the actions of the government – and it should be a model for Second Amendment supporters. When people saw the unjust laws being enforced, they were shocked and horrified at what was done in their name, and that generated support for the efforts of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
That said, civil disobedience can also be easily screwed up, and poorly-thought-out or executed civil disobedience can set a cause back for decades. There are many ways to screw it up – especially on Second Amendment issues. Yeah, shouting, “Molon Labe” and “From my cold, dead, hands” can be viscerally satisfying… but it also will lead a soccer mom freaked out about her kids’ school being shot up to support the type of harsh crackdown that could send things spinning out of control.
One thing that is going right when it comes for laying the groundwork for civil disobedience on Second Amendment issues is the establishment of “Second Amendment sanctuary” jurisdictions. Their sample ordinance is a good starting point for the discussion by laying out the legal argument against gun bans in particular.
But also, getting these ordinances passed at the county level can do three things: First, by putting local governments on the record against, it will put the state and federal governments on notice – especially if the county governments send copies of the ordnance to lawmakers. More than a few local officials think about higher office – and a lawmaker receiving a sanctuary resolution will want to keep that in mind, especially since local officials will have some campaign infrastructure already set up.
Second, such ordinances will also create manpower problems for the enforcement of anti-Second Amendment legislation. Take Virginia, for example. The Virginia State Police has 2,118 sworn personnel. They have to cover 95 counties and 38 independent cities. Now if they cannot count on local law enforcement to help enforce a gun ban, actually taking guns becomes harder without the local knowledge.
Also, it complicates a call-up of the National Guard. That officer Ralph Northam may count on to lead a platoon of infantry or military police to augment the state police for confiscation may well be the author of a sanctuary ordinance. He could not only declare that we wouldn’t follow an illegal order, he’d explain to his men why it is illegal.
Third, and most importantly, they not only draw a red line as to where the consent of the governed would end, and why it would end, they also provide a path to resolve the situation without resorting to more drastic measures. All they have to do is repeal the unjust laws. That said, the alternative is for the consent of the governed to be withdrawn. In 1776, that led to the Revolutionary War. In 1861, it led to the Civil War. No rational or sane person wants to see a third such instance in this country’s history.
The one thing missing from these ordinances is the fact that they do not explicitly point out that Ralph Northam, Andrew Cuomo, and Michael Bloomberg (just to name a few people) are seeking to punish millions of people for crimes and acts of madness that they did not commit. Americans feel a sense of revulsion at the thought of people being wrongly punished. If anti-Second Amendment extremists like Bloomberg and Northam can successfully be painted as people who do that, civil disobedience will have a much better chance of succeeding.
Make no mistake, civil disobedience is a grave step to take.
It is one step short of completely revoking the consent of the governed – with the dire consequences of such a revocation. Should this step become necessary, Second Amendment supporters have the obligation to work as hard as they can to effect change through peaceful measures.
About Harold Hutchison
Writer Harold Hutchison has more than a dozen years of experience covering military affairs, international events, U.S. politics and Second Amendment issues. Harold was consulting senior editor at Soldier of Fortune magazine and is the author of the novel Strike Group Reagan. He has also written for the Daily Caller, National Review, Patriot Post, Strategypage.com, and other national websites.