America’s political elites condemn gun rights for the average citizen while constantly being protected by armed guards. Are their lives more valuable than yours?
This feature appears in the November '17 issue of NRA America’s 1st Freedom, one of the official journals of the National Rifle Association.
The ruling class in America holds one set of standards for itself and a second set of standards for the common man. And the dichotomy between the way those in power view themselves and the way they view average people is never clearer than when the Second Amendment is the topic under consideration.
For example, billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s support for gun control is well known. He makes political contributions to gun control candidates and funds at least two gun control groups—Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. Yet he spends his days surrounded by armed security.
Think about it: Bloomberg pushes gun control for the common man, but lives his life behind layer upon layer of armed protection. Welcome to the hypocrisy of the ruling class.
We saw this most clearly during the 2016 presidential election. Hillary Clinton—a fixture in the ruling class—has enjoyed armed protection for decades, but she campaigned on gun control for law-abiding Americans.
On Nov. 24, 2015, Breitbart News reported:
Bill Clinton was governor of Arkansas for 12 years (1979-81 and 1983-1993). It seems fair to presume the governor and his wife enjoyed armed security and transport. And Bill Clinton’s departure from the office of governor coincided with his entrance into the White House, where he served as president from 1993 to 2001. Upon entering the White House, the armed security went to its highest levels, as the president and First Lady Mrs. Clinton were surrounded by defensive Secret Service teams, tactical response teams, and integrated law enforcement and military personnel wherever they went.
At this point, Hillary Clinton was literally living a life that was shielded from the world’s dangers by the many, many barrels of many, many guns used to maintain and project a security bubble around the first family.
And when Bill Clinton’s second term ended in January 2001, Hillary Clinton’s first term as a U.S. senator was just beginning. She served as a senator from 2001 to 2009, which means she sat behind layers of armed security and oversight in the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C., for eight years.
Clinton spent the presidential campaign pledging more and more gun control for law-abiding citizens. She even pushed for bans of entire categories of firearms—so-called “assault weapons”—and pledged to secure gun control via executive orders if Congress refused to go along with her. She went so far as to tell an audience at Keene State College that an Australian-style gun ban was “worth looking at” in the United States.
Clinton was bound and determined to make it harder for average citizens to acquire firearms for protection, even though the protection she has enjoyed for decades consists of armed men who are funded by the tax dollars of average citizens.The bottom line: Clinton was bound and determined to make it harder for average citizens to acquire firearms for protection, even though the protection she has enjoyed for decades consists of armed men who are funded by the tax dollars of average citizens.
More recently, our nation witnessed the Women’s March against gun rights and the NRA, and people noticed that the leaders of the march enjoyed armed protection. Seriously. They gathered to protest gun rights and the NRA, and while doing so, they made sure they had good guys with guns present to keep them safe.
Again, they seem to believe that there is one set of standards for the ruling class and another for the common man. And the impression this duplicity gives—even if inadvertently—is that some lives are worth protecting, while some are not.
Just put yourself in the shoes of a single mother on Chicago’s South Side. Guns are already difficult to acquire because of regulations limiting the number of gun stores, and Democrat Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s “solution” to raging violent crime is to crack down even harder on Federal Firearms License holders (FFLs). He pushes this “solution” despite the fact that more regulations on FFLs make guns even more difficult to acquire for law-abiding Chicagoans.
Of course, Emanuel has his protection. And just like Bloomberg, Clinton and the leaders of the Women’s March, the laws that Emanuel supports will not affect his level of security at all.
We must note here that the well-armed ruling class also has many ways of making it difficult for the average American to enjoy the benefits of firearms. In addition to making them hard to acquire via gun control upon gun control, the ruling class makes firearms nearly impossible for poorer Americans to legally carry for self-defense.
Consider that in Illinois—home to Emanuel’s Chicago—the cost for a concealed-carry permit is $450, once all the required training and bureaucratic requirements are satisfied. How many poor fathers can afford $500 for a gun and another $450 on top of that for the ability to carry that gun for self-defense? How many single moms can?
And it isn’t just Illinois. Writing in the Chicago Tribune, Crime Prevention Research Center’s John Lott shows that high prices for concealed-carry permit issuance are part of the larger gun control scheme in many states. In fact, in the liberal bastion of California, “fees can be as high as $385 for just two years” and “in New York City … a three-year permit costs $430.” In addition to these fees, the mandated cost of training in California “can run from $250 to more than $1,000.”
Via such fee structures, the ruling class literally makes the exercise of the Second Amendment cost-prohibitive.
Adding insult to injury, in the “states of California, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island, as well as the District of Columbia, people have to demonstrate need for a permit to a local public official.” In other words, even if a person can round up the money to buy a gun and pay the training and permit fees, he or she must still demonstrate a need to carry a gun, or the application for a concealed-carry permit will be rejected.
Lott’s piece explains how such a permitting system not only deprives the poor of the ability to exercise Second Amendment-protected rights, but deprives minorities of the ability as well:
Los Angeles County illustrates how this discretion results in only a select few wealthy and powerful individuals getting permits. If Los Angeles County authorized permits at the same rate as the rest of the country, it would have around 600,000 permit holders. Instead, only 226 permits have been issued within a population of about 7.9 million adults, and many of them have gone to politically connected individuals, including judges. Indeed, former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca earned a reputation for awarding permits to people who gave him campaign donations or generous gifts.
While women make up 36 percent of permit holders nationally, they only got 7 percent of the permits in Los Angeles County. Although almost half the county’s population is Hispanic, only 6.5 percent of permits were given to Hispanics. Few were given to blacks.
Never forget, these rules and regulations do not prevent the ruling class from enjoying the benefits of guns for even a second. And they don’t stop them from spending millions in taxpayer dollars to protect their own lives via good guys with guns.
Never forget, these rules and regulations do not prevent the ruling class from enjoying the benefits of guns for even a second.Consider California’s Democrat Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a staunch proponent of gun control and one of the most vocal voices supporting a 2016 ban on so-called “high-capacity” magazines for law-abiding citizens. He pushed a requirement that law-abiding citizens undergo background checks to buy ammunition, yet all the while he was traveling the state and moving through society while surrounded by armed guards.
The arrogance of the ruling class could not be clearer.
Remember the Nov. 13, 2015, firearm-based terror attack on the Paris concert venue? It proved to be one of many firearm-based attacks where well-armed terrorists slaughtered unarmed, defenseless citizens at will. A total of 130 innocents were killed on that November night, yet Newsom responded by saying it could only have been worse if the citizens had been armed for self-defense.
During the Nov. 20, 2015, airing of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” Newsom countered then President-elect Donald Trump’s suggestion that an armed citizenry could have turned the tables on the attackers in Paris. Newsom said, “I just simply, this sort of mythology, the guy with the gun that’s going to come save the day, I mean, so right out of the movies, sort of this gun-slinging fantasy. The reality is, it’s most likely to create more harm, more damage, more lost lives in those circumstances.”
And here is the clincher: The same Newsom who continues to fight against an armed citizenry despite evidence that unarmed citizens are sitting ducks—who pushes bans and curtailments on the Second Amendment-protected rights of average Californians—is the same Newsom who spends millions in taxpayer dollars on armed security.
Newsom was mayor of San Francisco from 2004-2011. During that time, NBC Bay Area reported:
How much does it cost to protect the mayor of a major metropolitan city? In Los Angeles, about $450,000 a year. In Houston, about $339,000 a year. In San Francisco, anywhere between $1 and $72 million.
[On July 7, 2009] SF Appeal revealed … the budget for Newsom’s personal police bodyguards comes out of the San Francisco Police Department’s Investigations Detail, which boasts a $72.9 million budget.
It appears Newsom is a classic case of “guns for me, but not for thee.” And it gets worse. As Breitbart News reported:
Newsom was elected to the position of lieutenant governor in 2010, and assumed that office in 2011. And the very next year, in July 2012, the Los Angeles Times reported that the cost for providing security for Lt. Governor Newsom was up nearly $30,000 above what it had been for his predecessor.
According to the Times:
The state spent $93,379 through May in the just-completed fiscal year on CHP protection for Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who took office at the start of 2011. The amount is up from the $65,954 spent in the previous fiscal year, the first half protecting Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, and the second half protecting Newsom.
Again, this is the same guy who responded to the gunning down of 130 unarmed innocent people by saying he does not get into the “mythology” about “the guy with the gun that’s going to come save the day.” Yet he is constantly surrounded by guys with guns whose central job is to save him!
This is the ruling class—an upper echelon of society where rules for the common man do not apply.
You see it in the Hamptons, which recently hired a 15-person-strong counterterrorism force to protect the attendees of concerts, family fairs and fundraising events. Bloomberg.com reports, “Less weaponry was flashed at Hillary Clinton’s Hamptons fundraisers last year than has been seen at various galas around Southampton this summer.”
How many other cities or towns with 55,000 residents have a counterterrorism force that guards their fairs, concerts and fundraisers? Not very many, I’ll bet. But the Hamptons will not be without its defenders and will not be at a loss for people who step in and say the wealthy need the extra security because they are higher-profile targets. And of course, that’s just another way of saying the ruling class is special—that the ruling class has needs the common man does not understand.
Yet in the end, a life is a life. And the life of the man who changes the oil in the ruling class’ Ferraris is just as valuable—intrinsically speaking—as the life of the man who drives the Ferrari every day.
There ought not be two different standards when it comes to the right to keep and bear arms. Rather, there simply ought to be freedom.
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter @awrHawkins, or reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.