A number of gun rights supporters rallied at the Statehouse on Sunday in an effort preserve their rights and get 2nd Amendment supporters motivated to elect better representation in 2014.ALSO READ: IMAGES: New Hampshire Gun Owners Rally to Preserve Rights
Many of the speakers, buoyed by the defeat in the Legislature of a gun background check bill two weeks ago, pointed to the unrest overseas and the founding principles of the Republic as reasons to strengthen gun ownership and protection of the natural right of self-defense against both assailants and the government.
Susan Olsen, the emcee of the event, from the New Hampshire Chapter of Second Amendment Sisters, noted that the country was losing its history and had forgotten that the amendment existed because the British tried to disarm the Colonists when they tried to establish better living conditions under the crown. She said it was difficult to explain the importance of lost rights to today’s children who were used to interacting on social media sites with 140 character limits.
“We’ve taken up arms,” she said. “We’re not going to lay them down. The Bill of Rights didn’t give me the right to defend myself … God gave me that right.”
Former House Speaker William O’Brien, R-Mont Vernon, said the fight against the British was brutal at times and it was the armed farmers who killed many of the King’s troops during the war, the finest army in the world at the time. They turned the battle around, he noted. O'Brien said there would be no America if it weren’t for those who fought.
“These were armed citizens that stood up to that army,” he said. “Our Founders knew that they would have lost their lives if the Revolution had failed … they also knew that the Revolution would have failed if the armed populace … throughout the country, had not had the means of self-defense.”
Ian Underwood, an inventor and scientist who spoke against the background check bill, suggested that it might be time to stop talking about Constitutionality, because “it’s not effective and possibly counter-productive.” He said that the two constitutions – state and federal – were simple words but when quoted, often get opponents to dig in their heels and fight harder for their positions. Instead, he would like gun owners and others to think about other ways of making the point, including focusing on the issue of natural rights. Underwood asked attendees to imagine if gun ownership were not a right in the Constitution but a privilege instead. He then asked if they would change their minds because it was stated in the Constitution. Some issues, Underwood stated, were too important to let constitutionality get in the way.
“I want to be clear that I’m not making a point here about right versus wrong,” he said. “I’m making a point about persuasive power.”
Underwood added that it would be better to look at the Declaration of Independence, which asked and answered two fundamental questions – why do governments exist and where do they get their power. The Declaration defined the formation of government as a way to secure rights and derive its power by consent, from delegation, he said.
“If it’s not for the purpose of securing rights, government can’t do it,” he said. “If it requires a power that can’t be delegated, government can’t do it.”
State Rep. Laura Jones, R-Rochester, called on attendees to get politically involved because representatives had to constantly fight to preserve natural rights. She pointed to former Rep. Susan Delemus, R-Rochester, and spoke about how the two of them campaigned together and would often encounter people who should have been their supporters but had dropped out of the process because they were discouraged by politics. Delemus lost her race by 200 votes.
“If we can only motivate all of the gun owners in the state to get out and vote for pro-gun candidates, we won’t have to work so hard, and waste so much time fighting gun control legislation,” she said.
State Rep. J.R. Hoell, R-Dunbarton, and Olsen announced the formation of a new political action committee, PACing in New Hampshire, in order to fund pro-gun candidates for the Legislature. He too spoke about energizing candidates and working to get good people elected. Republican candidates that honored their oath did better in 2012 than 2010, he noted.
“The time is now guys,” he said. “At the end of the day, if we don’t start to take back our state … I’m going to pick on our state from the south … we’re going to look like Massachusetts … it’s not that hard to fix this.”
Hoell also pointed to election results and noted that the sponsor of the background check bill, state Rep. Elaine Ahearn, D-Hampton Falls, won a very close race in 2012 even though she was handily defeated in 2010, in a slightly different district. He said it wasn't a partisan issue, it was a legislator by legislator issue and suggested treating politicians who violated the rights of others like a puppy that does its business on the floor, by tapping it on the nose.
Hoell, who brought his youngest son to the rally, also said it was important to fix the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System process instead of trying to create more study committees and more lists. He said the background check bill would lead to federal officials coming into the state to scan documents in an effort to confiscate guns.
“Anybody paying attention to Ukraine?,” he asked. “Venezuela? Ireland? Weimar Republic? The list goes on.”
State Rep. Emily Sandblade, R-Manchester, said gun control activists trying to disarm women were waging “the real war on women,” to cheers from attendees. She said supporters of the background check bill stated falsely that making it harder to get firearms would lower domestic violence.
“What they did not tell us was that firearms are used more often by the victims in domestic violence situations to defend themselves than are used by the perpetrators,” she said.
Oddly enough, Sandblade added, gun control activists count self-defense shootings in domestic violence situations in their gun violence numbers.
Skip Murphy, an engineer who runs the Granite Grok political website, worried about some of the conditions citizens were facing overseas and said he was stunned by the video footage of government snipers in Kiev shooting citizens. He suggested that many of the citizens overseas were probably wishing they had a 2nd Amendment to rely on right now.
"They say it can't happen here in America," he said, "I'm sorry, that's delusional thinking ... It is up to us to teach our children and our children's children what the true meaning of freedom is and sometimes, that does require sacrifice."