I was talking to a friend the other day about the sponsorships he has as an extreme athlete who is at the very top of his chosen sport. One that he mentioned was a manufacturer of “scary-looking” rifles, and another makes firearm accessories. I was shocked, but a few moments later I realized that my shock should be troubling.
Why should it be surprising to me or anyone else that the only items specifically protected in the U.S. Constitution (along with the constitutions of more than three dozen states) that can be touched and owned are being advertised on an athlete’s jersey? It is a fact that other than “arms,” there is no specific, tangible property mentioned in the U.S. Bill of Rights. It seems as if these would be the very first items you would think should be widely advertised.
And they probably would be, if not for all of the hoplophobes out there who were either born with, or later contracted, their irrational fear of firearms. That these people seem to congregate in the worlds of mass media, education and local government is most of the problem. They have been engaged in a widespread censorship and suppression campaign for decades, and my initial shock when talking to my friend shows that it has been successful to some extent, at least on its face.Some networks have decided to allow the advertising of guns, but only those that have “legitimate” uses in hunting.
The big cable providers and networks like Comcast, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox and others all prohibit firearm-related advertising. Countless print publications do the same. Gun magazines in airport shopping areas, if present at all, are often located on the top, blacked-out shelf alongside Larry Flynt’s stuff. Classified ad sections related to guns that had been a main attraction in newspapers across the country began to be pulled one after the other. Even the Ultimate Fighting Championships MMA events went from being friendly to advertising for the constitutionally protected items to prohibiting it altogether.
Some networks have decided to allow the advertising of guns, but only those that have “legitimate” uses in hunting. It’s as if firearms used for other purposes, including self-defense, are somehow inappropriate to expose to the American public. One has to really wonder how the meek were ever allowed to rule some of the world, but it has happened, to the detriment of the whole.
In academia, professors retaliate against students who write or speak about the greatness of our firearms freedoms. Gun safety classes and shooting leagues that were once prevalent in schools, even in places like New York City, have been eliminated. Evidently ignorance is preferable to knowledge, at least with regard to the items that won America its freedom from tyranny. Honest and energetic discussion of the Second Amendment in the classroom today is as unlikely as that related to the dropping of the bombs on Imperial Japan.
City councils and county boards across the country stop the promotion of firearms-related goods in and on government property, such as buses and buildings. They use their zoning powers to prohibit gun stores from locating anywhere but in the seedy, out-of-the-way places where the strip clubs are allowed to exist. This is what the Louisville City Council was doing for years in Kentucky until NRA-ILA stepped in and worked to pass a state law that required local jurisdictions to allow firearms-related businesses to locate anywhere any other retail-style business is allowed to be. It was a win for the good guys, but zoning censorship and discrimination is still widespread in many urban jurisdictions throughout the country.
If government officials aren’t applying the pressure, the hoplophobes like those in Arlington, Va., get busy. Earlier this year, a Marine Corps veteran planned to open a gun store in a strip mall. The local population—the one that voted 70 percent for Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election—petitioned and protested against the location until they broke even the hardened Marine. He surrendered, and there will not be a new gun store in the densely populated, anti-freedom bastion of Arlington.
What these selective deniers and censorship proponents, who are modeled after their brothers and sisters in places like Iran and North Korea, need to understand is that they are failing miserably in their efforts to deny information to the public. Like in those totalitarian regimes, if the people want it badly enough, they will get it. The robust information spring that cannot be plugged is the Internet. It has proven to be a gun-banner’s worst nightmare.
The newest guns, ammo and accessories that would have been advertised on ABC, the city bus stop or the shorts of an MMA fighter are instead featured in the pages and videos of NRA’s digital properties and countless other online resources. There are big YouTube personalities like my good friend Colion Noir who show that guns can be dreamed about and eventually bought with hard-earned dollars simply because they are cool. He and others also illustrate the fact that all guns in good hands are great, including those that have nothing to do with hunting.The Internet has its costs—everything that facilitates freedom does—but they are outweighed by the boundless benefits.
If college freshmen and others want to express their appreciation of their firearms freedoms through the keyboard or on a video screen without fear of retaliation through grading, they can easily do so even if it has to be done under a pseudonym or with a disguised face. The enormous class of intimidators in academia hate it. These hypocrites like free speech—as long as they agree with the substance of it.
Students and others who would have once received their firearms safety and proficiency training through local schools can now go online to NRA’s Education and Training Division and receive world-class instruction. They can now become safe and skilled in the comfort of their own homes!
For gun owners who no longer use a particular firearm or who need to sell a rifle in order to get the money to buy the arriving baby’s car seat, there are a number of websites that provide the services that used to be offered in the classified pages of the local newspapers. Antis tried to make the disposition of firearms more difficult by assaulting newspaper owners, but their efforts were a wash because of the online innovators.
Prospective gun owners are able to use those same websites to shop for virtually any firearm that has ever been manufactured. It’s like having the largest gun store in the world right there in your living room. The antis lose every time the “buy” button is clicked and a firearm is sent to a local gun dealer for final acquisition.
When sharing and social websites like YouTube and Facebook finally decide to shut down all of the gun talk and stylish shooting videos that make guns and shooting look as great as they really are, other platforms like WildWorld.com will be there to serve. The government can’t get involved on the side of the bad guys because there’s still a relatively robust First Amendment, at least until Obama issues an executive order saying it’s no longer relevant in those cases when he doesn’t want it to be. After all, he says he’s not a king, but he sure has acted like one—and he has a phone and a pen.
The Internet has its costs—everything that facilitates freedom does—but they are outweighed by the boundless benefits. One of these big benefits is that those who advocate ignorance over education, censorship over speech, and the heavy hand of government over free commerce will lose every time. They can enjoy their momentary moral victories from time to time, but the beautiful thing about American freedom is that it always seems to find a way to prevail in the end.