After years of gun control advocates insisting they didn’t want to take away anyone’s guns, the March for Our Lives and a string of opinion columns headlined by former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens are making it clear that the movement is aimed at repealing the Second Amendment, and the head of one leading gun rights group welcomes the honesty.
“Obviously the mask is coming off. There is a radical agenda that we are fighting against. The anti-gun left wants to confiscate guns from law-abiding Americans, but they’re not going to succeed,” said Gun Owners of America Executive Director Erich Pratt.
None of this comes as a surprise to Pratt. He says opponents of the Second Amendment have been wanting this for a long time, even pointing to a “60 Minutes” interview with Sen. Dianne Feinstein from decades ago.
“If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an outright ban, picking up every one of them, Mr. and Mrs. America turn them all in, I would have done it,” Pratt recounted Feinstein as saying.
He notes Gov. Andrew Cuomo openly talked about gun confiscation in the wake of the 2012 Sandy Hook elementary massacre.
Pratt went to the March For Our Lives on March 24. He says the overarching goal of the protesters was clear.
“It was all about, ‘Yes, we want to ban guns,’ or if they wanted to give us the privilege of keeping our guns, they would want to have the government go door-to-door and put trackers on the guns. This is the type of thing we’re actually seeing in the movement,” said Pratt.
In his op-ed for the New York Times, Stevens asserted that the Second Amendment does not grant the right to keep and bear arms unless it is in the context of a militia. Pratt begs to differ.
“That view lost at the Supreme Court,” he said, referring to a 2008 decision that affirmed an individual’s right to keep and bear arms. The decision was 5-4. Stevens wrote the dissent.
In addition to vigorously disagreeing with the effort to repeal the Second Amendment, Pratt says the logic of the protesters makes no sense.
“It’s almost like they don’t see the contradiction. They want to take away our guns so therefore they want the Trump administration to have all the guns? Wait, I thought they feared the Trump administration. It simply doesn’t make sense,” said Pratt.
Stevens also claims a rich legal history of the courts severely restricting gun rights and he quotes former Chief Justice Warren Burger as saying the National Rifle Association committed “one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word fraud, on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime,” by claiming the right to keep and bear arms could not be tampered with.
While Pratt admits the courts did clamp down on gun rights over the years, the Second Amendment was vital in the wake of the Civil War and during the tensions of the civil rights movement.
He says one of the purposes of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment was to make it possible for blacks in the South to be able to purchase weapons when southern states refused to allow it.
In the 1950s and 60s, when police in the South were looking the other way while the KKK targeted black neighborhoods, black citizens restored order by patrolling their neighborhoods with guns.
“This idea that we can now trust the government, that we only needed (the amendment) in the 1700’s or 1800’s but we don’t need it today, that’s just simply crazy,” said Pratt.
Pratt does not believe the Second Amendment is going anywhere anytime soon, given 70 percent support for the right to keep and bear arms and the major difficulty of amending the Constitution. He says the greater threat is the step by step erosion of gun rights that gun control proponents keep pushing.
For gun rights to survive long term, Pratt says parents need to educate their kids before the world gets to them.
“Use your sphere of influence. If you’re a parent, I would ask you this. Are you training your kids in your values and beliefs. Sadly, too often the kids from conservative households have been lost to the current culture,” said Pratt.