Special Forces Association Takes On Giffords' New Gun-Control Group

posted on July 4, 2016
MILpictures by Tom Weber

We recently reported why former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, started another gun-control group, this one called “The Veterans Coalition for Common Sense.”

Well, the Special Forces Association, a group founded at Fort Bragg, N.C., in 1964 and whose membership is restricted to Green Berets and personnel who have contributed significantly to the support of Special Forces, Montagnards, widows of Green Berets and honorary members, decided it needed to speak up.

The organization, at its annual convention in Jacksonville, Fla., drew up a “membership resolution” to say it supports the “Constitution and all of its amendments, realizing that only the existence of the Second Amendment guarantees the freedom of the American people and that the Bill of Rights was written to delineate and restrict the power of government and not to restrict the powers and rights of the people or states.”

This statement by the men and women who fight for America adds critical balance to a discussion in which some former high-ranking military officials have joined Giffords' new gun-control group by agreeing to be included on its “Advisory Committee.”

This is just the beginning of why the Special Forces Association felt compelled to speak out.Retired General Stanley McChrystal is one of the people who joined Giffords' Advisory Committee. McChrystal, in fact, said on MSNBC: “I spent a career carrying typically either an M16 or an M4 Carbine. An M4 Carbine fires a .223 caliber round, which is 5.56 mm at about 3,000 feet per second. When it hits a human body, the effects are devastating. It’s designed for that. That’s what our soldiers ought to carry. I personally don’t think there’s any need for that kind of weaponry on the streets and particularly around the schools in America.”

In truth, the .223 Remington has long been used for hunting and sport shooting. It is actually a much lighter cartridge than most of those used by big-game hunters. McChrystal surely understands the needs of the U.S. military, but it is clear he needs to get out in America more. Is he even aware that the AR-15 was made available by Colt to American citizens in the same year (1963) that the military adopted the full-auto version (the M16)? Or that rifles are used in less than 3 percent of homicides annually in the U.S.?

The anti-gun narrative that the AR-15 shoots a particularly deadly cartridge and bullet combination is also nonsense. From its inception, many resisted and still criticize the .223 for being a comparably light “varmint” round.

This is just the beginning of why the Special Forces Association felt compelled to speak out. Jack Tobin, president of the Special Forces Association, summed up his thoughts.

“While recent tragedies have caused casualties, it seems that for some, it is easier to blame an inanimate object rather that the underlying attitudes that have provoked the tragedy in the first place,” Tobin said in a statement. “In the most recent event, the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, some segments of the political class have chosen to blame the murder of 49 people on an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, rather than on the Radical Islamic Jihadist who pulled the trigger.”

The Special Forces Association membership resolution also stated: “We have all taken an Oath to defend the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic, and we realize that we have never been, nor will ever be, released from that Oath. The Special Forces Association also believes that the government, and especially the agencies of the Department of Homeland Security, re-prioritize their concerns and actions to Radical Islamic Jihadists and those that support their efforts, rather than focus on veterans, and law-abiding Americans.”

The organization’s belief in private gun ownership, including owning semi-automatic rifles, isn’t rare in the military community. While doing research for my book “The Future of the Gun,” I interviewed Special Forces soldiers and found out that civilian gun ownership helps prepare citizen soldiers. Greg Stube, a former Special Forces sergeant who fought in Afghanistan, put it best when he told me, “In my experience, a lot of training time in the Special Forces is used to teach those who don’t have gun experience. To put it plainly: The Special Forces are in the business of creating country boys.” 

Stube said, “I’ve toured the Smith & Wesson plant in Springfield, Mass. I saw firearms headed for law enforcement and for the civilian market coming off the same lines. This is how America has always worked. It’s how it should and must work. I saw again and again in training and on the battlefield that soldiers who grew up hunting and shooting recreationally are better soldiers. As I said, the Special Forces is in the business of creating country boys. If our free citizens are barred from using firearms similar to those used by the military then we won’t be as prepared as a nation.

Stube continued: “Also, my experience in war taught me that law-abiding people shouldn’t be put in a position where they’re potentially less armed than those who might prey on them. I saw horrific things that the Taliban did to unarmed civilians in Afghanistan, things I don’t want my son ever to see.”“America’s firearms culture helps the military and law enforcement.” — Steve Adelmann, retired Special Forces operator

Steve Adelmann, a retired SOF Operator and owner of Citizen Arms, agrees.

“America’s firearms culture helps the military and law enforcement,” Adelmann said. “When I trained new snipers for my team I always found the best shooters had been raised with a gun in-hand. In fact, drill sergeants and other instructors spend much of their limited range time trying to get young men and women with little or no gun experience up to par with troops who grew up hunting or target shooting. In particular, people who come from urban areas use a disproportionate amount of training time just learning to sight in their rifles and hit targets at close range.

“I’ve also seen a difference in the abilities of other armed forces,” Adelmann continued. “I’ve trained with and fought alongside allied soldiers from many nations. Soldiers from firearms-friendly places like Israel and Scandinavian countries acquit themselves very well with a wide variety of arms. Conversely, soldiers from nations with severe gun restrictions like England and Australia are far less familiar with firearms and generally don’t have the same comfort levels as Americans. They’re very good with the weapons they are issued, but the battlefield requires enough flexibility to adapt quickly to a wide variety of firearm types.”

Adelmann now builds custom AR-15s for private citizens. He asks all his customers what they intend to do with their modern sporting rifle.

“Ninety percent of them list hunting and home defense as their first two reasons for ownership. ARs are supremely accurate hunting rifles and utilitarian home-defense firearms,” he says. “If they’re banned we’ll lose an effective tool for the citizen, while military and law enforcement entities will suffer down the road. Also, many advances in firearm technology come from the civilian market, especially competition shooting. If manufacturers can no longer sell ARs to citizens, much of that innovation will grind to a halt.”

Thankfully, many of those who fight and have fought for our freedom understand what that freedom is about.


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