In the United States, they came first for the Uzis, but I didn’t speak up because I didn’t own an Uzi. Then they came for the AK-47s, and I didn’t speak up because I didn’t own an AK-47. Then they came for all the semiautomatic weapons, and I didn’t speak up because I didn’t own a semiautomatic weapon. Then they came for the handguns, but I didn’t speak up because I owned a shotgun. Then they came for my gun, and by that time no one was left to speak up.

This week President Clinton issued an executive order — a questionably constitutional power to begin with — to undermine a fundamental and inalienable right of the American people.

In banning the importation of a class of semiautomatic rifles, Clinton was, as always, masterful in clouding the issue. “Our administration has concluded that the import of assault weapons that use large-capacity military magazines should be banned,” he said. “As everyone knows, you don’t need an Uzi to go deer hunting. You don’t need an AK-47 to go skeet shooting. These are military weapons of war. They were never meant for a day in the country, and they are certainly not meant for a night on the streets.”

The Founding Fathers didn’t write the Second Amendment to protect deer hunters or skeet shooters. That’s what President Clinton’s latest constitutional travesty suggests.

Once again, it is imperative to understand the terminology being employed by Clinton and his dupes in the establishment press: There is no such thing as an “assault weapon.” The guns included in this ban, and previous misguided legislation passed by federal and state governments, are not automatics. They are not machine-guns. They fire one round at a time, like hundreds of other rifles that people use to hunt deer, shoot skeet or simply to protect themselves and their families from those who would take their lives, their liberty or their property.

I have challenged by colleagues in the press — time and time again — to define the term “assault weapon.” They can’t do it. There is no definition. They are firearms defined not by what they do, but by how they look — scary. Nevertheless, the press continues this subterfuge. It is disinformation and propaganda that is leading to the erosion of our inherent rights as Americans and our ability to preserve those rights.

Deer hunting was not on the minds of the framers of our Constitution. They understood that without arms the people would be no match for the kind of tyrannical government we have in Washington, D.C., today.

So often, the gun grabbers portray themselves as crime fighters. Nothing could be further from the truth. Even in a representative republic, when civil order breaks down, as it inevitably does, law-abiding citizens are not safe without adequate firepower. The image of Korean store owners perched on top of their businesses during the L.A. riots is indelible proof of that simple fact.

The crime argument is bogus. As a masquerade for this despotic action, Clinton cited the massacre in a Jonesboro, Arkansas, schoolyard. Yet, the weapons of choice by those kids were not Uzis or AK-47s. They were ordinary deer rifles — the kind Clinton defends, at least, for now.

Clinton’s executive order once again frames a debate that has been raging for 20 years in this country — do Americans really have a right to bear arms?

Clinton and his backers suggest they do, if their intent is to hunt deer or shoot skeet. Nonsense. A generation ago, even the most liberal politicians in America understood the purpose of the Second Amendment and defended it vigorously.

The late Hubert H. Humphrey, a man who defined liberal Democratic politics in the mid-1960s had this to say on the subject: “Certainly one of the chief guarantees of freedom under any government, no matter how popular and respected, is the right of the citizens to keep and bear arms. This is not to say that firearms should not be carefully used and that definite safety rules of precaution should not be taught and enforced. But the right of the citizens to bear arms is just one guarantee against a tyranny which now appears remote in America, but which historically has proved to be always possible.”

Clinton, the master politician, would never reveal his ultimate goal — disarming the civilian populace. He knows that’s a political fight he couldn’t win today. He’ll fight this war incrementally — banning a few guns here and there, softening up the people on the idea that the government has a legitimate right to ban guns.

Humphrey was right. So were the Founding Fathers. Tyranny is always possible. In fact, without a vigilant, armed civilian populace, it is inevitable. At this very moment in history when many Americans are beginning to question whether we are on the verge of a new form of government tyranny here in the United States, there’s a new push to disarm the people. Ironic, isn’t it? Scary, too.

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