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No issue has been as polarizing since Obamacare legislation hit the floors of Congress than the recent anti-gun legislation pushed by Senator Diane Feinstein in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook school shootings. Before many reporters could get their microphones hooked up for on-scene coverage, Feinstein decided to capitalize on the tragedy by pushing her agenda to dismantle the Second Amendment by any means possible.
But today’s guest on Off the Grid Radio is asking listeners not to be fooled or sidetracked by anything coming from the anti-gun camp, including universal background checks, which he says is the ultimate bait-and-switch ploy. Michael Hammond, legislative counsel to Gun Owners of America, says that we’re at a crossroads in the history of America, and how we respond to this recent attack on constitutional liberties may well decide the fate of the nation going forward.
Off The Grid Radio
Release Date January 31, 2013
Bill: Welcome to another episode of Off The Grid New Radio show. I’m Bill Heid and I’m out of the office and studio today—truly off the grid—and so I’ve asked my good friend Brian Brawdy to interview Mike Hammond from Gun Owners of America to get his take on the current administration’s effort to grab our guns. Here’s the interview.
Brian: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Off The Grid News—the radio version of OffTheGridNews.com. I’m Brian Brawdy sitting in today by myself because Mr. Bill Heid is on assignment but he will be back with us at the bottom of the hour. But to pick up a little bit of the breaking kind of news—everything going on on the internet today—you see it on Facebook; you see it on Drudge; you see it… Oh, you see it on Huffington Post for that matter. So it really is an honor to have Michael Hammond with us for the 30 minutes. He is the legislative counsel to Gun Owners of America. You know about them. I’m sure you’ve visited their site—GunOwners.org—a lot of cool things to talk about. Ladies and gentlemen, please say hello and Mr. Hammond, you can say hello back. How are you, sir?
Michael: Hello, Brian. Hello America.
Brian: Well, listen my friend; I’ve got to ask you a quick question because a lot of the things that we’ve been hearing about is this… They’re going to start doing some universal background checks and they want to make sure that we’re all mentally healthy but the guy spearheading this whole thing, I’m told—Vice President Biden—admitted to being in a close call in 2006 and now no one can document his close call. So my question to you is should we be doing psychological and background checks on the politicians that we put into office that will later turn around and want to subjugate you and me to the same checks they probably couldn’t pass if there was any kind of mental screening to get the job in the first place?
Michael: Well, perhaps he said Jocko. Those are the two that were really old. Remember back when Joe Biden was forced to withdraw from a presidential campaign because he gave a speech about how his father was a coal miner and worked in mines and his mother was a whatever and it turned out that he had stolen his biography almost verbatim from Neil Kinnock who was the head of the British Labor Party. He had taken his speech. He had taken his family and he had presented it as his own. Now if any Conservative had done this, if any Republican had done that, if Sarah Palin or let’s say Michele Bachmann had invented their life history… I mean their political careers would be over. They would never ever be taken seriously again in American politics and yet Joe Biden is Vice President of the United States—a pathological liar.
Brian: Well, let me ask you, is that wrong, Michael? Because I thought after the show here, I’ll just go ahead and start telling people… I’ll start borrowing your biography. I figure when we hang up here I’ll just say, “Hey, I’m legislative counsel for the Gun Owners of America.” So I’m sensing that if you’re the Vice President and you fabricate your bio, that’s a little wrong.
Michael: That’s a big… a big, big improvement so… I think they’d welcome you.
Brian: Well, thank you, my friend. I doubt that very seriously but it’s nice of you to say. Hey listen, a lot of stuff trending on Facebook now—and I’m on the Gun Owners of America website page at GunOwners.org—I see you have a Facebook giveaway. I want to get to that, Michael because I know you’re a busy guy—before you leave—but give me the top three things we want to kick around in our remaining 25 minutes.
Michael: Well, I’d like to talk about the central crossroads in the history of America that we’re at right now. One of two things is going to happen. Either Barack Obama is going to come out of this battle with the second amendment community and by that I don’t mean us guys in Washington; I don’t mean the gun lobby—I mean 100 million Americans who own guns who I think correctly perceive that Barack Obama wants to take them away from them. He says, “Oh no, I’m not into confiscation.”
Guess what? The little memorandum which turned up out of the considerations in Albany of New York’s gun rewrites listed confiscation as one of the major objectives of that legislation. So yeah, he wants to confiscate your guns. We will either come out of this exercise with Barack Obama saying, “I defeated the gun lobby. I broke its back. I destroyed it. I am the victor and now I can do anything I want” or alternatively we will come out of this battle with 100 million Americans having won and at that point I think Barack Obama’s aura will be off and perhaps the insidious things he wants to do to transform our country will be more difficult for him at that point.
Brian: So in other words, Michael, I’m kind of… I’m kind of getting your point that President Obama then is going to… It’s going to be good for us in the long run because what is that…? I remember when I was a little kid my father, I think, took me to see the movie “Torah, Torah, Torah!” and do you remember the final line with the Japanese commanders are talking to each other and they’re all bragging about the fact that they have bombed Pearl Harbor and the one general says, “I fear all that we’ve done has awakened a sleeping giant”? Can any of us look at what President Obama is doing and Senator Feinstein—which I would add heading up the Senate Intelligence Committee and then saying that this all about the cosmetic effects of assault rifles—how do you head up the Intelligence Committee with that dearth of intelligence?
Michael: [inaudible 0:06:06.7]
Brian: Have they awakened a sleeping giant in our country?
Michael: I hope so. I believe so. I think that ultimately if we fight and I beg your listeners to get engaged in this fight—to write their congressmen, write their senators, call them—and make it known that they are in opposition to every single word of Barack Obama’s gun confiscation agenda; not a single word because here… Here’s the game they’re playing. They’re saying, “Okay, we want to ban 50% of all semiautomatic long guns in America… or 50% of all long guns, which are semiautomatic and 80% of all hand guns in America.” That’s what the Feinstein bill would come.
And so they come to us and say, “Okay, we want to shoot you in the head but it would be okay with us if we just cut off all of your fingers. So is that okay?” And in the past—and there are certainly some leaders in Washington… Oh boy—John Boehner and Mitch McConnell—who respond to those sorts of deals by saying, “Sure. You can cut off all my fingers.” At this point if we do that we will have lost the battle of history and Barack Obama will surge ahead as a transformational president. At this point we need to take the position for substantive reasons but also for political reasons—not one word of gun control can pass—not a single word of gun control can pass.
Brian: Well now Michael, you’re… And you’re tied in. You’ve got your finger on the pulse but I’m seeing some breaking news now that they’re saying that even in the democratically controlled senate, it lacks the votes to pass—what Feinstein would put forth as… or has put forth as the gun control bill. Oddly enough government officials will be exempt so she’s a little bit smarter than the guys in New York because my great home state of New York—when they decided to enact it no one forgot to say, “Oh, except everyone but the police.” So she’s one step ahead there but what do you think? Does the Democratic senate have enough to pull it?
Michael: You said Feinstein can’t pass. Yeah, it can’t pass. It probably can’t pass. I pray that it can’t pass. But that’s the giveaway. That’s the provision they throw out and say, “Okay, we won’t do that if you go along with universal background checks,” which is completely—they say—noncontroversial. Let me tell you a little bit about universal background checks—the noncontroversial provision that they’re going to trade Feinstein off for. First of all, every American or virtually every single American who wants a gun will have to go through a background check and will have to get the go-ahead of the government—of the Obama administration—in order to get that gun.
Now recently the Obama administration, with respect to the background checks it does, hasn’t been all that compliant. The system broke down on Black Friday so when everyone in the universe wanted to purchase a gun, guess what? No one could purchase one. The system breaks down all the time and in addition the FBI, which runs the instant check system, frequently gives an individual a yellow—that is you can’t sell the gun, at least for the time being—to people who are law-abiding Americans who are entitled to purchase guns but perhaps whose name is similar to a bad guy’s. So your name is similar to a bad guy’s you may not ever be able to purchase a gun again. Now these people come in and say, “Exactly, FBI, why is my name on your list and how do I get my name off of your list?” First thing FBI says is “Okay, send in your fingerprints and all those things so we’ll know that you are who you say you are” and ultimately, at the end of this process, many of these people are told by the FBI “If you don’t like it just sue us.” And guess what they find out? They find out that getting a lawyer to sue the FBI so they can ever have a gun again may cost $30,000. So this is what they want to do to every single American—subject them to that system, which has already been significantly abused and which is already an abomination as it is.
Brian: Well, that’s a very interesting point that you raise, that given the government bureaucracy, that getting your name on a list seems a good bit easier—if you’re a law-abiding citizen—it seems a good bit easier to get your name on the list than off the list.
Michael: And let me tell you who is on that list. There are 150,000 veterans right now who are on the list and they didn’t do anything wrong. They just served their country honorably in Baghdad or perhaps Kabul, came back to this country, told the veterans administration “I’d like counseling. I had a really bad experience in Baghdad.” As soon as they ask for counseling, more often than not the veterans administration appoints a fiduciary to oversee their financial affairs, sends their name to West Virginia as someone who can never own a gun again and at that point the police show up at their homes to seize their guns. 150,000. These are veterans who are better than you and me, who have served our country honorably and who don’t deserve to have their constitutional rights taken away with no court order whatsoever. And guess what? Do you want to hear something even worse?
Michael: What’s happened to veterans could very soon happen to seniors with Alzheimer’s who are on the Medicare program, women with postpartum depression who are on the Medicaid program, kids who have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act—the IDEA program—and policemen, firemen, servicemen who have post-traumatic stress disorder. So there could soon be tens of millions of names of people who have had some problem on that list. And my question to your listeners is how noncontroversial is it that tens of millions of people who have done absolutely nothing wrong whatsoever could soon find their names on a list which would prohibit them from every owning a gun again? That’s what the universal background check is about.
Brian: And you raise a very valid point again, Michael and I would say to you it’s almost like a loss leader. You know if you go into a grocery store and they say, “Well, let’s give a gallon of milk at a discount and then that’ll get people in and everything will be groovy with that and then we can run up the prices on some of the other things.” So it’s kind of the inverse of that where you’re saying, “Oh, just let us have the universal background checks and we’ll let everything else go away.” But what you’re saying is that’s kind of a bait and switch. That’s a sleight of hand move that you’re asking our listeners not to settle for.
Michael: Yeah. They’re telling you that “We will not force upon you a ban on over 50% of firearms currently in circulation, America. And instead we will take guns away from as many as 30 or 40 million Americans who haven’t done anything wrong.” I mean that’s the difference between shooting me through the head and shooting me through the heart. There is absolutely no difference in insidiousness between what we’re supposedly being spared—that is the Feinstein amendment—and what they are telling us is noncontroversial—that is the universal background check.
Brian: Well, I love the fact that they use the word “noncontroversial” so that most people listening to the media would go, “Oh yeah, that’s right. It’s noncontroversial.” So I applaud you and the folks at Gun Owners of America, which you can find out more if you’re not already a fan and not already a member, not already hanging out with them on Facebook. You can find out more at GunOwners.org but I applaud you for saying, “Look, just because someone tells you it’s noncontroversial doesn’t mean that that’s the case.”
Michael: Particularly Barack Obama. Yeah, he’s not known for telling the truth and just because Joe Biden, who has as we pointed out before made up his entire life’s history, tells you this isn’t going to hurt doesn’t mean it’s not going to hurt. It is almost comprehensive gun control. It sets the stage for a national gun registry and national gun confiscation. If you think a national gun registry and the national gun confiscation, which inevitably follows are noncontroversial, then okay. I would concede if you believed in that premise that you would like the universal background check as well.
Brian: Yeah. No, I get you. And I think what they’ll do in the media is try to kind of just slide that in, Michael. As I said, that’s why I applaud the effort that you’re doing to make sure that people know that it’s a little more controversial than everyone is going to tell us, a little bit of that “Look over here with my left hand and don’t pay attention to what my right hand is doing.” I know we promised we’d only hold you for the half hour so we’ve got five minutes left. Michael, comment on this for me. I’m always fascinated Mayor Bloomberg, for that matter Mayor Emmanuel, for that matter President Obama—I find it fascinating that the people that are calling for gun control more times than not are surrounded by full time bodyguards that are armed to the teeth. Do you find it a little disingenuous for people that say, “Oh, we… Let’s just let the police do their jobs. We need stricter gun control”—they’re the ones surrounded 24/7 by people armed with every type of assault weapon imaginable?
Michael: Yeah, it’s pretty funny. I mean my brother lives in a low income area in Kansas City and he woke up in the middle of the night, drug dealer’s standing over his bed, pulled a gun, held him with the gun until the police arrived. No one got hurt but as a result my brother is alive rather than dead. Certainly intriguing that people that spend a large amount of our money to buy guns to protect themselves nevertheless are willing to sacrifice people like my brother to their political calculations.
And make no mistake about it; no one thinks that any of these gun proposals would have done anything about Newtown. Adam Lanza stole his guns. A universal background check wouldn’t have stopped him whatsoever. The calculation here is that Joe Biden and the Obama administration believe that the second amendment community is the strongest remaining pillar of their political opposition. If they use this tragedy, if they exploit it in order to destroy their opposition, they feel that they will be able to go ahead for the foreseeable future with their radical agenda without opposition.
Brian: Okay, so then Michael, let me ask you this. In our closing minutes, what can our listeners do? I am assuming that you’re going to want them to come to your website, which is GunOwners.org. Let me hit your Facebook page up here real quick because I’m already on there with you. I’ll hit Gun Owners. So what I think I’d like you to do is comment—because you know we’re talking about what individuals can do—comment about the breaking news of late where the outdoors show—the largest East Coast outdoors show—at last count I saw 170-some odd vendors pull out because of their position. So there is something us little guys can do.
Michael: Yeah, the show to explain it basically said, “We’re not going to allow semi autos and semi auto magazines to be displayed” and so at that point everyone said, “If you’re going to become politically correct, if you’re going to give in to Barack Obama, then we don’t see any use of going to your gun show” and for the people in the Obama administration who said, “We’re going to co-opt Wal-Mart because they sell a lot of guns”—Wal-Mart should think long and hard about this that lo and behold this gun show shut down because they capitulated to this demand for political correctness.
Brian: So there is something that us little folks can do and collectively that we can do. What else would you suggest, Michael that we should pay attention to? I mean and people listening to you are obviously going to want to take action. What should they do?
Michael: Concerning a universal background check, share it with everyone you know. Share it with your friends, your relatives, your mother, your father, your dog, your cat—share it with everyone you know and then contact your senators and your congressmen and say, “I’m opposed to national gun registration and I am opposed to national gun confiscation” and frankly, no one is fooled into thinking that that’s not where the universal background check is leading.
Brian: Very cool. And then also I want to mention one more time GunOwners.org. Michael, I suspect that you guys… You do a great job of putting some videos up, some news stories; there is a legislative action center that you have on there so people can keep tuning into GunOwners.org to get the latest information without the spin that so many of us are worried about in other forms of media. So is that a good way to go?
Michael: Thank you so much, Brian.
Brian: All right. Ladies and gentlemen, we have been talking to Mr. Michael Hammond, the legislative counsel for Gun Owners of America at GunOwners.org. Look, wherever you fall in the debate you owe it to yourself to make sure that you’re armed with the best information, that you’re armed with the truth. Outside of all the debate what does it mean to you to shoulder the responsibility to protect yourself, to protect your family? Right? That’s all we’re talking about. So a special thanks to Mr. Michael Hammond from Gun Owners of America. You can check him out at GunOwners.org. Ladies and gentlemen, we’re going to take a quick commercial break. When we come back Mr. Bill Heid—back from off assignment.
Bill: Thanks for listening today. We sure hope you enjoyed it. As we close the show I want to leave you once again with Thomas Jefferson’s perspective on the gun debate. “No free man shall ever be debarred from the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is as a last resort to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” Not much there about shooting skeet at Camp David. I’m Bill Heid.