A California NRA Members' Council
Turn Freedom Freeloaders into Freedom Fighters
by Jim Cammarano
Cal NRA Contributing Editor
20 October, 1999
Sir Edmund Burke once said "all that is necessary for the triumph of evil
is that good men do nothing." The government of California on a state and
local level has been able to advance their anti-freedom, anti-gun agenda
because the majority of good men, the law-abiding firearm's owners of the
state have done nothing to fight back.
As I was manning our booth at the Del Mar gun show, I looked around. The
same crew of patriots from the NRA Members' Councils of San Diego, North
and South were doing a fine job of answering questions, handing out
literature, getting people registered to vote, obtaining signatures for
petitions, and in general helping people understand that gun confiscation
has come to the state. The exact same folks had manned the booth a couple
of weeks prior to that in Anaheim. The exact same group will be going to
the Pomona show at the end of the month. They are all volunteers and pay
for their own expenses too. I can't say enough good things about these
people. If it were not for their involvement, there would be no more gun
shows or private ownership of firearms in California today. Thoreau had it
right when he said "There are nine hundred and ninety-nine patrons of
virtue to one virtuous man." Plenty of people talk a good game but when
the time comes to roll up their sleeves, they vanish into a sea of excuses.
My experience with SOME gun owners is that they really don't want to get
involved. If you ask people if they are registered to vote some say "I
don't want to get selected for jury duty." I say "Did you know they are
selecting jurors from licensed drivers now." Then they say "Yes but I
don't want to be on a list." My answer to that is you can be on either our
list (NRA) or their list. Did you pay for your firearm with a credit card?
You're on a list. Did you purchase your firearm from a federally licensed
dealer? You're on a list. So much for the list argument.
Then you get the old "I used to belong to the NRA...but in 1995 I didn't
like what they did..." Any organization more than 125 years old makes a few
mistakes along the way. Perfection does not exist. You cannot change an
organization you don't belong to. We need people like you to point out
mistakes so they can be corrected! I put them on the spot. I say "Sir, if
you renew your membership today, we will give you $10.00 off the standard
price of $35.00 per year." Then they say "how about giving me an
application and I'll take it home." I wonder how many of those forms ever
get sent in. Then I say "there is a "liberty" membership for just $10.00 a
year. You just don't get the magazine." One of my booth colleagues says
"gun owners are individualists, they don't like to join." They really have
joined a group but there are no annual dues, no monthly magazines to read,
no meetings to attend, no trip to the polling place once a year, no letters
to write, the only price they pay is a gradual, complete loss of freedom
for themselves, their family and future generations of Americans. They
have joined the "Freedom Freeloaders of America."
At the last count there are about 80 million gun owners in the U.S.. Three
million of them are NRA members. There are more than 26 freedom
freeloaders for each person willing to write out a check for $35.00 a year.
So who are these freedom freeloaders? A good number of them are
"hunters." This really hurts me to say that because I am a hunter. Many
hunters feel that they have a right to own a shotgun and rifle. They also
feel that some guns should be banned, like handguns or ugly looking rifles,
or guns with a capacity to accept more than five rounds. They believe they
are "safe" because hunting is a Second amendment right. Even Governor Red
Davis and President Clinton say things like "I believe in the right to
hunt." Hmmmm.... Well Mr. Hunter here is the truth. Your shotgun will be
eventually confiscated. It will be relabelled a "street sweeper" by the
media. In World War I they were used clear trenches of dozens of soldiers
for gods' sake. If you loaded it up with "OO" buckshot, you could
decapitate a man with one shot. Why do you need a "military" weapon? Now
let's talk about your "sniper" rifle. That 30-06 deer rifle will be dubbed
a "sniper" rifle. You can kill a man more than 300 yards away with that.
Who needs such a weapon of mass destruction? Are hunters, are willing to
sit out the war out until a federal agent comes knocking on their door?
Federal agents knocking on your door confiscating your firearm doesn't seem
to bother them. Is that a good strategy? Hunters, wake up, and smell the
coffee, you're next.
Another group known for not participating in protecting our freedom is
skeet shooters. They think all anyone needs is a shotgun with nice
engraving. If the world was filled with armies with armor made out of clay
then maybe they would be onto something. There are many instances where a
pistol or rifle is indispensable. How about that? The Second Amendment
mentions "the right to keep and bear arms..." I don't see the shotgun only
clause. Are you willing to sit it out while the "ugly" rifles are being
A few times a day, you get people at the gun show I call the "debaters."
They want to show me how much constitutional knowledge they have. They
will bend my ear saying things like the police can search your car without
probable cause because the Supreme Court said so in such and such a case.
I say "I am just a simple man, not a lawyer or judge, but I think your
fourth amendment rights are still in effect." The supreme court once held
that slavery was constitutional. Based on what? Based on nothing but a
custom. When you ask these same people what they are doing to fight illegal
searches, they grow silent. You see, they just want to talk about it.
Doing something about it requires a certain commitment they don't want to
make. Freedom Freeloaders come in a variety of flavors.
Then there is a group of Freedom Freeloaders that are in deep denial. They
say "it" will never happen here even as firearms are being confiscated.
They say that laws like sb-23 requiring registration will never be
enforced. They figure "since it will never happen here," they can just
stay on the sidelines. The fact that confiscation recently happened in
Australia doesn't appear to impress them. The Australians were disarmed
because they too said "it can't happen here." They watched in horror as it
did happen. They did too little too late to save their freedom.
Those who say, "It couldn't happen here...we would never do that ... ,"
are WRONG. It already did happen here. More than 57 years ago, on
February 19, 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order No.
9066. With a stroke of a pen, more than 125,000 Japanese-Americans -- 70%
of whom were U.S. citizens -- were forced to leave their homes and
businesses on the west coast of the U.S. and were sent to places that the
New York Times of that era called "concentration camps." The Executive
Order was affirmed by Congress in the form of a public law at end-March
1942. The Supreme Court ultimately decided that these deportations were
legal (Korematsu v. U.S., 1944).
Just last week, critics were denouncing recent congressional changes to
the Posse Comitatus Act that will allow a broader use of U.S. military
forces in a domestic law enforcement role including a new unit for
deployment in assisting civilian officers. Defense Secretary William Cohen
told participants the American people shouldn't fear the potential of
seeing U.S. military forces on the streets of U.S. cities. This last
statement alone should be enough to make anyone a former freedom
If ALL gun owners don't join the fight, we are all doomed. We must use
every means to reach out to them and to turn freedom freeloaders into
freedom fighters. There is some hope. In the last three weeks, more than
100,000 people joined the NRA. I hope to see the day when the NRA is 20
million strong. That is the day gun control will become "politically