War against civil rights -- in San Francisco!

The battle over San Francisco's proposed handgun ban (discussed infra) is heating up, and the Pink Pistols are taking the lead in opposing it.

The right to own guns may be even more important than the right to marry, Thomas said during the monthly shooting practice organized by the gay gun group the Pink Pistols.

"I want to be liberated as a gay man, but I'm not willing to give up the rights I have," he said. "If they can take that away from you, what more can they do?"

As the debate over the handgun ban proposal sharpens, the Pink Pistols, a national group with 38 chapters, is determinedly stepping into the fray. Organizers have posted their hearty objections to the proposed law on the group's Web site -- along with contact information for the five supervisors who voted for the ban -- and are weighing whether to join a lawsuit challenging the ordinance that the National Rifle Association is expected to file, said spokeswoman Gwen Patton.

Gay men and lesbians are at risk of becoming hate crime victims, the group's philosophy goes, and therefore community members should learn how to protect themselves -- with firearms.

"We believe that first you need to stay alive, then you need to educate," Patton said.

The Pink Pistols are likely to play a critical role in the developing San Francisco fight, said Chuck Michel, a spokesman for the California Rifle and Pistol Association and a lawyer for the National Rifle Association. "They have a great deal of legitimacy because they recognize they are at great odds of becoming victims because of their sexual preference. ... I think people will understand that they should not be deprived of their rights."

Things have come a long way since the Gay Guns float in 1982.

But some things never change, and it appears that despite its moral pose, San Francisco is highly intolerant of certain lifestyles:

"President Bush is trying to write prejudice into the Constitution, and the liberals are trying to do the same thing," Thomas said. "Our city's supervisors supporting this just freaks me out. Now I would not vote for any of them ever again. I felt like they were for our civil rights, and now I realize they aren't."

For his part, Boyer, a Democrat, has a complicated theory about how the left's stand on guns is hurting progressive politics and the fight for gay rights. Many people in the middle of the country are neutral about same-sex marriage, he said, but refuse to vote for politicians who favor gay rights if they are also against gun rights.

Representatives of the California Rifle and Pistol Association and the NRA said they have an easy alliance with the Pink Pistols.

"Sexual preference is not an issue. Neither is their race. Neither is their sex," Michel said. "They (the California Rifle and Pistol Association) are a single-issue advocacy group and as far as they're concerned, anyone who agrees with them on that issue is a friend."

In fact, around the country -- including in the Bay Area -- the Pink Pistols tend to get a better response from firearms supporters than from homosexuals, Patton said. Thomas said he rarely talks about owning a gun because of the attitudes toward guns here.

"People will freak out on you," he said.

Hoplophobic panic, no doubt!

UPDATE: Thank you, Glenn Reynolds for linking this post, and a warm welcome to InstaPundit readers -- especially all who care about civil rights in San Francisco! (Of course, I still remember when crushing of civil rights was John Ashcroft's job. . .)

MORE: All readers (especially new readers) who are interested in the issue of gay gun owners can find much more in-depth coverage at Alphecca -- by Jeff Soyer, the blogosphere's original "gay gun nut." Jeff's recent Weekly Check on the Bias offers an intriguing look inside the mental machinations of San Francisco gun grabbers.

posted by Eric on 02.03.05 at 12:51 PM


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Tracked on February 4, 2005 11:35 AM


I don't read a lot of news from San Francisco (though that's my home town), but I'm absolutely certain that the ACLU will step in to challenge this assault on a civil liberty.

Mike   ·  February 3, 2005 2:27 PM

Pink Pistols VS. San Fran City Council ... sounds like a cat fight to me. And as usual, the Lefties will come to this fight with a knife. We know what the Pink Pistols will be bringing. "This is my weapon, this is my gun ..."

mdmhvonpa   ·  February 3, 2005 3:01 PM

Mike must be being sardonic. Unfortunately, the ACLU today is rather selective about the civil liberties it will defend, and the Second Amendment is not one of them, I'm afraid. Cuts a huge hole right in the middle of the Bill of Rights. Good thing we still have the NRA and other pro-gun outfits such as the Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership. The Pink Pistols above all.

According to the government of San Francisco, homosexuals have the right to marry but not the right to defend themselves against thugs. In certain other places, homosexuals have the right to arm themselves but no other rights. It's one of those spectrumological paradoxes again. I'd better get back to work on that. I stayed up all night last night reading about Ayn Rand.

The 2nd Amendment is the final guarantor (not a word? it should be) of all the other rights.

Harkonnendog   ·  February 3, 2005 7:25 PM

Whether it be sardonic or sarcastic, you can bet that the ACLU will remain absolutely silent on gun ownership unless the opportunity presents itself to oppose it. One of the prerequisites for ACLU membership is ignorance of 18th century American history, including the writings of founding fathers.

"The constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the people; that... it is their right and duty to be at all times armed." --Thomas Jefferson to John Cartwright, 1824.

"No freeman shall be debarred the use of arms (within his own lands or tenements)." --Thomas Jefferson: Draft Virginia Constitution (with his note added), 1776.

Both of these Jefferson quotations are banned by the ACLU--a little like nativity scenes.

Doug Book   ·  February 3, 2005 9:18 PM

I still believe that a large part of the overall legislative/representative problem is due to the 'entrenched' incumbents.

Its my position that we, as a collective group of patriots, should clear out the elected personnel and install fresh blood/perspectives on a far more regular basis.

Because that doesn't happen, most incumbents feel they can take their jobs (as careers) for granted as long as they can appease enough of a majority of their constituents.

The public memory on these issues is short. Shorter than 4 and six year cycles. Maybe even shorter than that.

Who can honestly say they remember times when our elected officials were actually part timers in that job? (Maryland is still that way for the state legislators, but many are still "repeat offenders.")

Folks, the only way you will get the attention and change the minds of our legislators is if you turn them out and remind them they are there because we (supposedly) make a choice to put them there.

D W McAndrew   ·  February 3, 2005 10:03 PM

"I don't want to dwell on constitutional analysis, because our view has never been that civil liberties are necessarily coextensive with constitutional rights. Conversely, I guess the fact that something is mentioned in the Constitution doesn't necessarily mean that it is a fundamental civil liberty."

Nadine Strossen
President of the American Civil Liberties Union
"Life, Liberty, and the ACLU"
ReasonOctober 1994

Anonymous   ·  February 3, 2005 11:01 PM

Finally, there are many organizations that endorse gun prohibition but are not primarily concerned with the gun issue. For example, Common Cause is probably best known for its efforts to reform campaign financing. However, in a 1972 statement presented to a House Judiciary Subcommittee, the organization endorsed a "total ban on the sale and manufacture of all handguns" as well as a proposal that "private ownership of handguns also be prohibited." Likewise the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the Unitarian Universalist Association, the American Civil Liberties Union, Americans for Democratic Action, the National Alliance for Safer Cities, the National Board of the Young Women's Christian Association of the U.S.A., and the International Ladies Garment Workers' Union have all at some time endorsed banning the private possession of handguns. 37

37. Gottlieb, The Gun Grabbers, 97; Joseph D. Alviani and William R. Drake, Handgun Control...Issues and Alternatives (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Conference of Mayors, 1975), 45-46. The ACLU has explicitly abandoned support for prohibition, or for any form of gun control.

Gary Kleck
"Absolutist Politics in a Moderate Package: Prohibitionist Intentions of the Gun Control Movement"
Journal on Firearms and Public Policy  Vol. 13  (Fall 2001)
PDF copy available at http://saf.org/jfpp/jfpp13.pdf  (about 1 MB)

Anonymous   ·  February 3, 2005 11:06 PM

The ACLU isn't really silent on the ACLU, although they are known for refusing to discuss it in public. If you search through their literature you'll find that they take the position that the 2nd amendment merely protects the right of states to arm their police officers and state troopers. Absurd of course, but then so is the ACLU, which is why I'm no longer a member.

Dean Esmay   ·  February 4, 2005 12:26 AM

Stuff like this makes me so mad I want to go out and buy a gun!

San Francisco Supervisors are the queens of the nanny state.

This is a beautiful town (SF), but it's full of self-righteous cryptocommisars.

Some days I want to stand on a corner and yell, "Leave me the hell alone!!!!"

EssEm   ·  February 4, 2005 1:07 AM

DW - San Francisco's Board of Supervisors (it's a wierd city-county hybrid, so it doesn't have a city council) does not currently suffer from entrenched incumbency; it has term limits.

aphrael   ·  February 4, 2005 11:51 AM

The ACLU's web site says:

"We believe that the constitutional right to bear arms is primarily a collective one, intended mainly to protect the right of the states to maintain militias to assure their own freedom and security against the central government."

That is, the ACLU reads the words "the right of The People to keep and bear arms" as actually MEANING "the right of the states to maintain militias".

For some reason we could only speculate about, the ACLU is invoking the unfortunately popular act of redefining one term to mean another. In this case redefining "The People" as "the states", and "keep and bear arms" as "maintain militias".

The effect of such redefinitions of words, if successful, would be analogous to Orwell's descriptions of Newspeak and its use. Imagine if "the People" becomes the same in meaning as "the States", at least in the minds of 51% of the voters on any givel bill, ALL individual rights would effectively become collective rights; They would become privileges allowed or disallowed by the states.

Why would the ACLU want THAT?? Aren't they all about "Civil Liberties?" Perhaps what they MEAN is that their organization is specifically designed to ERODE civil liberties. The name "ACLU" doesn't actually say they're trying to PRESERVE civil liberties.

If they do say somewhere that they're trying to preserve civil liberties, I have no problem whatsoever stating outright that they are LIARS!!

Liars, liars, liars, liars! And they're deceitful, too!

Laszlo   ·  February 4, 2005 1:31 PM

From a libertarian perspective, both the left and the right are, as you say, "bad", and they both have been all along.

The extreme right wants to control your life, disallowing homosexuality, drugs (including alcohol), divorce, etc.

The extreme left wants to control your life, disallowing free speech, gun ownership, private property, etc.

It has been that way all along, only the left hadn't had a chance (ie had the power) to show its controlling side until the last 30-40 years.

I do take one exception to your position on drugs - freedom depends on personal resposiblity AND on rational (or at least reasonable) citizens. For example, the 9-11 hijackers will NEVER be "held responsible" (legally) for their actions, as they are dead. Any citien could do harrendous damamghe to our society in similar ways if they are willing to die, or if they are so crazy that they can't make rational or reasonable decisions. Some drugs interfere with rational, reasonable behaviour. I don't have a good solution to this problem, mind you, I'm just pointing out that legalizing all drug use is not something that will only hurt the abusers (ask victims of alcohol-induced stupidity of all kinds, from rape to auto-accidents, if the alcohol only hurt the person who consumed it).

Hmm, maybe I should have posted this on the "gay guns" post instead...

Deoxy   ·  February 4, 2005 2:24 PM

The American Civil Liberties Union is in the business of protecting civil liberties.

Let's start with the actual text of the Second Amendment, which no one has bothered to quote in its entirety: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

The Supreme Court, in U.S. v. Miller, ruled there is no constitutional right for private citizens to possess firearms. It is they, not the ACLU, who are "redefining words." In any event, as a result, reasonable regulations on the possession of firearms are permitted.

But why doesn't the ACLU fight as vociferously against restrictions here as it does against, say, limitations on free speech or the establishment of religion (oh cherished First Amendment)?

No one--and I'm talking about no one here--denies the Second Amendment was enacted to ensure that if armed resistance against the Federal Government became necessary ("An occasional revolution..."), it would be possible. Individuals possessing firearms contributes nothing towards that end. Now, if there was an attack on a State's right to keep and maintain a "well regulated militia..."

What you seek is no civil liberty protected by the Bill of Rights.

Quod erat demonstatum.

Chris   ·  February 4, 2005 3:50 PM

The prefatory text half of the sentence, that which refers to the need for a militia, does not modify or qualify the subject, that is "the right of the People". The prefatory portion also does not place any limits on who is affected by the restriction upon infringement; It is a blanket protection, both from Federal and from State infringement upon this basic human right.

EAch individual has the basic, inherent right, as a living being, and even a duty as a member of a society which enjoys the self determination, to defend their own lives, the lives of their family, their way of life, the security of their locality, state, and nation. ALL of these were included in the spirit of the prefatory "well regulated militia" and "security of a free state" phrases.

The ACLU, in all their fear and concern about governmental infringemnt of civil liberties, has latched onto a ruling by a bunch of dead justices who GOT IT WRONG. The result of which is the continual violation of civil liberties on a massive scale for nearly a century, and the ACLU *LOVES* it.

They are liars! They LOVE that the USSC screwed over all US citizens in 1939. And they LOVE that they remain in high regard for some of the other thigns they do, while flagrantly waging war on individuals' rights to defend their own lives.

In summary, you're saying that because the federal government, in this case the USSC, says both federal and state laws CAN control ("ban") arms, it is therefore granted, even though there is explicit wording contradicting that decision in the document(s) that define our country?

There is something wrong with your brain.

Quantum Electrodynamics

Laszlo   ·  February 4, 2005 5:29 PM

Yes. I must have hit my head.

But, look, let's talk about style and not substance. Did you read 1984? Leaving aside the Second Amendment momentarily, is there any other organization that has done as much to keep America's citizens free of governmental oppression? Wiretaps? Searches & Seizures? Warrantless searches?

I realize, of course, that you were making an analogy. But, I also realize some analogies are apt and others are not. Accusing the ACLU of employing newspeak does damage to literary tradition and common sense.

Don't do that.

Chris   ·  February 4, 2005 9:27 PM

Rights presuppose the right to defend one's rights, and therefore the right to possess the means to defend one's rights. Also: Rights belong to individual men and women, not to governments.

(yes, I have)

I ACCUSE them of taking part in a centuries-long attempt to disarm the non-elite general populace. I OBSERVE them lying.

I was not making an analogy. I was pointing out the ACLU's real-life continued participation, in an attempt to confuse people about a specific article of language, in such a way as to completely reverse its meaning. Here we have an example of the judiciary of 1939 changing the definition of the words "the People" to mean "the States", effectively eradicating Constitutional references to individuals. Legislatively "People" becomes an unword, the collective (specifically members of the state and federal government) is given permissino to help itself to any control of arms it whishes, and nature rolls the dice to see whether OUR government can, for all of eternity to come, be trusted to completely and benevolently protect the governed.

Yeah, yeah, wiretaps, searches and seizures... The ACLU is trusted because of those [many] good things (for which I gladly give them credit). However, they then abuse that trust, taking a very simple and straightforward english sentence, meant to very clearly ensure protection of a basic human right, turning it into something totally else - permission to disarm the populace in favor of the elite "police" and "military" - the very opposite of its original intention.

In practice, in effect, the ACLU is lying and is drawing on other liars to bolster their position, in order to achieve civil disarmament at the hands of the government.

I don't claim to know WHY they are doing it. Like I said, it seems schizophrenic to me to fight to protect peoples' right to privacy and property from government violation, but then argue boldy against peoples' right to defend their very lives, giving the reason that the federal government 'says so'. Their behavior doesn't make any sense, and yet there it is.

Laszlo   ·  February 4, 2005 11:52 PM

I say let people have their guns. How many purse-snatchers would there be if they thought everybody on the street had a gun.

Alexa   ·  February 5, 2005 12:25 AM


Indeed. And how many rapists?

The ACLU is completely contradictoty. At least we have the Institute for Justice more consistently on the side of individual rights.

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