On May 3, 1995, President George H.W. Bush resigned his membership in the NRA. A copy of that letter is at the end of this article. There was not one report of a backlash against that president for standing up to the bullies of the NRA. Not so these days, with a different president, who has called for common sense gun laws in the wake of the tragedy at Newtown Connecticut.
Emboldened by the recent filibuster in the Senate and fueled by the hatred of President Obama and an unreasoning fear of the government, libertarian radio host Adam Kokesh has called for an open-carry march on Washington to take place on July 4. On the Facebook page he has set up to recruit participants, Kokesh writes:
This is an act of civil disobedience, not a permitted event. We will march with rifles loaded & slung across our backs to put the government on notice that we will not be intimidated & cower in submission to tyranny. We are marching to mark the high water mark of government & to turn the tide. This will be a non-violent event, unless the government chooses to make it violent. Should we meet physical resistance, we will peacefully turn back, having shown that free people are not welcome in Washington, & returning with the resolve that the politicians, bureaucrats, & enforcers of the federal government will not be welcome in the land of the free.
There’s a remote chance that there will be violence as there has been from government before, and I think it should be clear that if anyone involved in this event is approached respectfully by agents of the state, they will submit to arrest without resisting. We are truly saying in the SUBTLEST way possible that we would rather die on our feet than live on our knees.
Subtlety doesn’t seem to be the order of the day when you are carrying loaded weapons in a city where that is expressly forbidden by law. Despite his insistence that the march will be peaceful, it is evident that Mr. Kokesh is hoping for violence, hoping to fulfill some adolescent fantasy that may be the result of watching the movie Red Dawn one too many times and substituting Washington officials and law enforcement for the invading Russians (or in the case of the remake, the North Koreans).
Kokesh has called for the abolishment of the government and recently tweeted
When the government comes to take your guns, you can shoot government agents, or submit to slavery.
The government he hates so much has done nothing to curtail his freedom, otherwise, he would not be able to continue to spread his lies and veiled threats of violence over the airwaves and over the Internet. He is a small man with a small mind, looking to make a name for himself. He doesn’t care that every day in this country over 80 people die at the end of a gun. He doesn’t care about the 6 and 7 year old children who were brutally murdered in their classrooms just before Christmas.
Nobody is talking about taking away anyone’s guns. All any sane person wants are laws that preclude criminals, terrorists and the mentally ill from obtaining weapons. The sane people among us, and they are a majority, think that limiting the number of rounds in a magazine is a way to prevent tragedies like Sandy Hook and Tucson. The sane people among us don’t think that having assault weapons is a necessary component of home defense.
I will say this. There is at least one person who should have his guns taken away and that person is Adam Kokesh. By advocating the overthrow of the government and the killing of federal agents, his actions constitute treason, nothing more and nothing less.
Here is the letter written to the then president of the NRA by President George H.W. Bush.
Dear Mr. Washington,
I was outraged when, even in the wake of the Oklahoma City tragedy, Mr. Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of N.R.A., defended his attack on federal agents as “jack-booted thugs.” To attack Secret Service agents or A.T.F. people or any government law enforcement people as “wearing Nazi bucket helmets and black storm trooper uniforms” wanting to “attack law abiding citizens” is a vicious slander on good people.
Al Whicher, who served on my [ United States Secret Service ] detail when I was Vice President and President, was killed in Oklahoma City. He was no Nazi. He was a kind man, a loving parent, a man dedicated to serving his country — and serve it well he did.
In 1993, I attended the wake for A.T.F. agent Steve Willis, another dedicated officer who did his duty. I can assure you that this honorable man, killed by weird cultists, was no Nazi.
John Magaw, who used to head the U.S.S.S. and now heads A.T.F., is one of the most principled, decent men I have ever known. He would be the last to condone the kind of illegal behavior your ugly letter charges. The same is true for the F.B.I.’s able Director Louis Freeh. I appointed Mr. Freeh to the Federal Bench. His integrity and honor are beyond question.
Both John Magaw and Judge Freeh were in office when I was President. They both now serve in the current administration. They both have badges. Neither of them would ever give the government’s “go ahead to harass, intimidate, even murder law abiding citizens.” (Your words)
I am a gun owner and an avid hunter. Over the years I have agreed with most of N.R.A.’s objectives, particularly your educational and training efforts, and your fundamental stance in favor of owning guns.
However, your broadside against Federal agents deeply offends my own sense of decency and honor; and it offends my concept of service to country. It indirectly slanders a wide array of government law enforcement officials, who are out there, day and night, laying their lives on the line for all of us.
You have not repudiated Mr. LaPierre’s unwarranted attack. Therefore, I resign as a Life Member of N.R.A., said resignation to be effective upon your receipt of this letter. Please remove my name from your membership list. Sincerely, [ signed ] George Bush